Dîner en Blanc is Back and Bigger Than Ever: Here’s What You Need to Know

Photograph by Lauren Joseph.

Last August, 2,500 white-clad diners met on the Carnegie Library lawn for a Parisian-inspired pop-up dinner. This year, at the third annual Dîner en Blanc in DC, organizers are expecting 3,500 guests to show. The event is planned for August 27, and according to tradition, the location of the festivities will remain a mystery until guests are led to the secret destination by Dîner en Blanc volunteers.

If you’re interested in attending the dinner, here’s a few things you need to know.

1. If You Didn’t Attend Last Year, You’ll Have to Wait on Tickets.

Tickets for the posh event, which are $37 each plus an $8 membership fee, will role out in phases. Phase 1 tickets, which will go on sale July 28, are reserved for Dîner en Blanc “members,” or those who have attended the DC dinner in past years. Phase 2 tickets, which will be made available to invitees of Dîner en Blanc members, will go on sale August 4. Phase 3 tickets, which are open to the public, go on sale August 11. Reservations can be made on the Dîner en Blanc website.

2. You Can’t Bring Alcohol.

Though a pop-up dinner without booze is really just a picnic, due to DC’s alcohol regulations, diners are required to purchase their alcohol through Dîner en Blanc rather than bring their own. Dîner en Blanc’s e-store will sell Apothic Wine and Champagne, though you can forget about sipping beer and hard liquor over dinner—both are prohibited.

3. But You Do Have to Bring Everything Else.

A square folding table, two white chairs, a white tablecloth, white plates, flatware, stemware, and, of course, dinner is all on you to provide. The fact that you’re paying for a ticket plus providing your own furniture and food means the costs can really add up.  If you so desire, you can purchase a catered picnic basket when you buy tickets, and then pick up your meal once arriving on location the night of the event.

4. You Can’t Just Wear White. 

The instructions regarding the dress code require diners show up in costumes that are not only white, but “elegant.” If last year’s stylish guests are any example, it’s clear that wearing a white t-shirt and jeans won’t suffice.

5. You’re on Clean-Up Duty.

There’s no dish crew that’ll come through to wash up after you, and everything you bring to the event, you’re responsible to remove.

6. You Can’t Come Alone. 

According to the Dîner en Blanc rules, registration is for two tickets, with the intention that you and your dinner date will sit across from one another at your square table. On the plus side, this means you’ll definitely have someone to help you lug all your ivory stuff across town.

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.