What It Was Like To Attend Dîner en Blanc Vancouver

Culture
diner en blanc

This year marked the 30th anniversary of Le Dîner en Blanc and it’s 7th year in action in Vancouver B.C. The secret soiree emanates elegance, exclusivity, and mystery. This begs the question, what’s it like to attend?

If you’re curious about the extravagant affair, from receiving the invitation, to being notified about the secret location, and setting up your dining space, here’s what you need to know. 

The Invite

First come the Save the Dates. These are loaded with information about the event, past events, and how to sponsor a friend so they can attend alongside you. Though the Save the Dates hint at what the secret location looks like, the location itself is never revealed. 

Then come the invitations. They contain steps about how to register for the event, costs, what to bring, and of course everything you need to know about how to get your hands on delicious food and wine. Guests can make and bring their own food or pre-purchase a packaged catered dinner from Dîner en Blanc’s 2018 culinary partner, Hawksworth Catering. Meanwhile, all alcohol must be put on reserve via Dîner en Blanc’s e-store. 

All in all, both the Save the Dates and the Invitations, though lengthy, are must reads.

The Rules

Yes, it’s true. Diner en Blanc encourages guests to follow a few key rules. Not only does this maintain the uniqueness of the event but stays true to its tradition.

A few of these rules include mandatory participation. This means attending whether it’s pouring rain out or whether the city is in the midst of a heat wave.

Another, is that all guests must wear elegant and stylish clothing. Though originality is definitely encouraged, guests are expected to maintain their poise when it comes to fashion and behaviour.

And of course, the most unique part about the event is that everything has to be white. From clothing to tables to dinnerware. 

As a first time guest, I must admit, I was intrigued and quite honestly nervous about following these rules. I knew I had to find the perfect all-white outfit for the evening, from hair accessories, to my dress, and shoes! However, once I found myself at the event everything came together so nicely.

Photo: @mariahmillie

The white chairs, white tables, white outfits popped against the lush green scenery at this year’s location.

The Location

Photo: 604 Now

For curious guests, the secret location is revealed about an hour before the event begins. Once the location is made public, guests make their way down to the venue with their gracious table leaders.

The march down to the location creates a fantastic sea of white and unites individuals dispersing from various meeting spots across Vancouver onto one common ground. This year, the extravaganza was set in one of Vancouver’s most beautiful gardens – VanDusen.

Photo: 604 Now

The table set up portion of the night is not as extravagant as the dinner itself but once complete, everything truly comes together.

The Event

At approximately 6:45pm, dinner commences. Guests take their seats and wave their white napkins in the air. This signals the beginning of all dinner festivities.

Diner en Blanc in the sweetest location. #vandusengardens #dinerenblanc

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Perfect night ✨

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While eating and for the remainder of the event, live music plays from Vancouver’s very own Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and interpretive dancers perform all night.

However, there’s plenty more to do than just eat. Guests are able to walk around and snap pictures. While the garden itself is extremely scenic, this year’s event organizers added to the beauty by setting up a flower wall and miniature eiffel tower for the best Instagram shots.

Dîner en Blanc #debvan2018 #dinerenblanc

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Halfway through the evening, speeches were made by Dîner en Blanc’s co-organizers, Tyson Villeneuve and Jordan Kallman of The Social Concierge. Both made announcements, commemorate the event, and thank guests for attending.

Once the sun sets, sparklers are passed around to the thousands of attendees. The venue transforms from a sea of white to a sea of light.

Afterwards, guests move around their tables freely, mingle with others, and hit the dance floor.

Finally, the night closes. Guests pack up and leave the site as quickly and as mysteriously as they arrived, tables and all. Everyone makes their way back home looking back on this night to remember.

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