City Paper is not for tourists.
Do you like following lots of rules and wearing clothes that are susceptible to stains? Well then, get ready for the Aug. 27 return of Dîner en Blanc, a flash mob dinner party where everyone is required to wear all-white. Or to be more specific, participants must “dress elegantly” with no ivory, off-white, or beige. “Originality is always encouraged, as long as it stays stylish and tasteful,” according to one of the many strict guidelines.
The pop-up phenomenon started in Paris and now hosts events in cities across the globe. The exact outdoor location of Dîner en Blanc is announced minutes before the event, and then hundreds of white-clad picnickers, tables and chairs in tow, converge for dinner and dancing. When it’s over, everyone disperses without leaving a trace behind. In the two years since it launched in D.C., the event has been held at Yards Park and in front of the Carnegie Library in Mount Vernon Square.
Participation costs $37 plus an $8 “membership” fee. That amount doesn’t include any food—or even that table and chair. Guests have to buy (or rent) and haul everything themselves. Last year, we asked participants how much they spent on Dîner en Blanc and some admitted to dropping as much as $700 on linens, glassware, outfits, and more. Forget about picking up plastic cups; only “proper stemware” is allowed. Plus, everything must be white. Don’t you dare bring a black chair!
Last year, the waitlist for the dinner was 13,000 people long, a publicist for the event claimed. Registration goes first to previous participants (“members”), then to people who are referred by members. If you want to try your luck at the wait list this year, you can do so here. Around 3,500 people are expected to attend this year.
If you do get in, don’t you dare back out. According to another one of the rules, “once registration is confirmed, each guests’ participation becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions.”
Just make sure that if it rains, your umbrella is white.