It all started with a Facebook ad. Yes, the algorithm got it right. I was interested, bought it, and damn it, I liked it.
Ok, let me back up and start at the beginning.
I read about these super secret, pop-up all white dinner that happens all over the world called Le Diner en Blanc. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous, with a capital GORG. And if it involves a costume (and wine) in public spaces, I’m all in. You can check them out online, I’m not joking about their photo-op worthiness.
So when it came across my FB feed that I could join this public performance art…um, yes, please and thank you! I looked at our calendar and found that we had a free Saturday afternoon when Diner en Blanc was coming for Fort Lauderdale, and I just told my husband, “Hey, we’re going to go to an all white dinner party, but I don’t know where it is going to be, we are just going to get on a bus full of strangers dressed in white and go…somewhere…But, trust me, this will be cool” — and Bless His Heart, he believed me.
And thankfully, it was super cool.
After we scored the tickets, we secured our white outfits. The information you get with all the instructions and what to – and what NOT to wear, what to – and what NOT to bring, is really, REALLY overwhelming. Not going to lie, it is a bit stressful. Especially with the whole I don’t know where we are going thing.
So, we spent the last month preparing our white outfits, and white table settings. Yes, you need to bring your own table settings and linens. This is a pop-up picnic after all. You can choose to purchase dinner, or bring your own. And you had to pre-order your wine. After Googling the crap out of the best way have a successful first Diner en Blanc, we chose to bring dinner, rent our tables and chairs (we still had to set them up), and purchase some booze. Overall. I think it was the way to go.
Our secret location was the top of a parking garage on Fort Lauderdale Beach. And before you get your white panties in a bunch and go all “parking garage??!@?!?!?” — parking garages are the new hip spaces here. And the new ones are obviously built with events in mind. There were plenty of amenities, and the views were spectacular. We could see both the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway with its mega yachts from the top deck. I was totally cool with the location.
Once we got up to where all of our tables were going to be setup, we got to work. Yes, we had to set up the table ourselves. Since we rented our tables, we were seated at an 8 foot table with other couples. All of the tables were set in long lines to look like one long table. Then everyone adds their own flair. We kept it simple, but some of the settings were spectacular.
There were lots of ceremonial things to do. There was the Napkin Wave that officially started the dinner. There was an accordion player performing live French Bistro music. There was a live painting session happening while we watched. Some flashy Violinist came to play during dinner as well.
Then there were sparklers, which made super photo-ops. The sparklers were ENORMOUS and burned for a long time, but also got a little scary in our super windy location, and actually burned a hole in Dave’s shoe.
After the sparkers, the party really started. There was a lot of dancing and just being out and talking to folks. Everyone at the event was so friendly – which we have to admit is rare these days. Our table leader had attended 31 dinners and flew in from Atlanta just to volunteer for the event. Pretty much everyone we met had attended more than one event, and we met people that came from all over the US.
The event was scheduled to end at 9:30, and it did. The DJ stopped, everyone packed up and filed out back to the busses to go back to our respective meeting locations. There was a bit of hurry-up-and-wait aspect to the start and end of the night, but we just took it in stride as part of the whole experience.
I knew that this event was a success when Dave mentioned what he is going to do different next time. Next time?? Yes. Absolutely. Or in keeping with the French inspired theme….oui.
There’s no real way to describe the evening, so I threw together some more photos and videos that you can check out below. In short, if you have a chance to go to a Diner en Blanc, pack all your white stuff, your sense of adventure, and a little bit of patience. But totally do it.