Bringing attention to the glamour, mystery of Diner en Blanc Richmond for its 2nd year
OK. Let me just start and get the embarrassing part out of the way: There’s an amazing (at least amazing-looking) event in Richmond that’s getting ready to happen for the second year in a row, and I’ve never written about it.
It’s Diner en Blanc Richmond, the local version of a dining event that started 30 years ago in Paris. In fact, this year’s Paris event took place June 4, and an estimated 30,000 people converged on the Les Invalides monument for a “Dinner in White” event that was so impressive that international media covered the thing.
So why didn’t I tell you about it last year when it came to Richmond for the first time ever? WHY?
Well, it’s largely because I didn’t understand it — and I still don’t entirely understand it because of this: Attendees of Diner en Blanc bring everything. I mean every single thing. You bring your own food, your own plates, your own silverware, your own glasses, your own tablecloth, your own napkins, your own beverages, your own table décor, and your own garbage bag, with which you must remove any and all of your own personal debris at the end of the evening.
People, you bring your own table and chairs. Literally. And you pay for the privilege of doing it.
Oh, and of course, everything must be white — the attire, the linens, the chairs, the plates. Everything, en Blanc.
This is how it’s done in Paris — and this is how it’s done all over the world. Last year, over 110,000 people in 28 countries participated in Diner en Blanc events, according to The Associated Press — and just over 1,000 of those attendees were right here in Richmond when the event took place in August at the Science Museum of Virginia.
And now this year’s date has been set — it’s Saturday, July 7 — and as is the custom with Diner en Blanc events all over the globe — the location is kept secret until the last moment.
“We are excited to once again create a one-of-a-kind experience that brings together food, friends and the beauty of Richmond in a way our city has never seen,” Enjoli Moon, cohost of Le Diner en Blanc-Richmond, wrote in a statement. “For the second annual Le Diner en Blanc, we have once again searched the city high and low to find a venue that will ‘wow’ and render this night magical as we welcome guests from Richmond and along the East Coast.”
Moon is putting on this year’s event along with her cohosts from last year, Christine Wansleben and Ayana Obika.
I did not attend last year’s event, but I followed along on social media and watched as a sold-out crowd experienced an incredibly glamorous-looking dinner party complete with dancers, live music and sparklers. I was jealous, OK. And I felt very stupid for never having written about it.
Ticket prices for this year’s event haven’t been announced, but last year’s price was $44 per person, and tickets must be purchased in pairs. A price has not been announced for the 2018 event, either, but registration will open in three phases: Phase 1 (opened June 6) for those who attended last year; Phase 2 for anyone referred by Phase I attendees (opens June 13); and Phase 3 for those on the waiting list (June 20). You can sign up at: richmond.dinerenblanc.com/ register.
Roughly 1,200 attendees will be allowed this year.
“This annual secret affair promises to be another unforgettable evening of elegance, beauty and magic, as it takes over another public space whose location is only revealed minutes prior to the commencement of the event,” according to a news release.
New this year is the option of preordering a catered picnic basket. Also, due to this year’s venue (which hasn’t been disclosed), attendees cannot bring their own alcohol. It must be preordered on the registration site, and the options are wine and champagne only.
The first Diner en Blanc Richmond was held in August at the Science Museum of Virginia.