Paris Meets Chicago: Dîner en Blanc

diner en blanc chicago 2017

For years I have heard about Dîner en Blanc and I wanted to participate but I always was out of town or already had a conflict on the date. This year I was very excited to be in town and that my friend Kat (she claims a temporary moment of weakness) agreed to join me. There is a lot of preparation behind the actual event which takes weeks of planning. The day we signed up for tickets we were already scrambling for table set up ideas and where we were going to get food. 

diner en blanc chicago 2017

If you are headed to Dîner en Blanc here are a few things you will need: 

A Table 28″ – 32″ we ended up getting one that was 34″ large which worked. A group of girls didn’t bring a table and we ended up sharing with them. We could fit two people on each side of the table.

White Napkins – You will wave your napkin at 7pm to signal the beginning of the dinner. 

A White Table Cloth

2 White Folding Chairs. If you do a different color you will need chair covers. 

A Luggage Cart to carry all of your supplies. We walked instead of taking public transportation due to the location so this was very helpful. 

It will get dark quickly after starting so lights or candles are essential for your table. 

A Picnic Basket is a great option that will hold all of your plates, glasses, and silverware. 

You will need to clean up after yourself so bring trash bags.

diner en blanc chicago 2017

Arrival and Set Up

We walked to our destination but every year is different. The rest of the groups took trolly cars in from their meeting stations which looked like a lot of fun. We all carried our own tables and chairs to the destination which was a mystery until we arrived. Our table leader showed us our table section and we all set up in a line next to each other. The tables had to be touching. This happened very quickly. A table cloth was added then flowers, candles, and food. It is a mad dash to get ready before the meal begins at 7pm. 


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Food and Drink

The liquor has to be bought on site due to regulations but was fairly reasonable with pricing. It was anywhere from $15 – $30 for a bottle 

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We ended up buying the food from the company that catered the event to make it easier on us. Kat is a vegetarian so we ordered the veggie option. It was for two people but ended up looking like it was only for one person. We immediately laughed and thought about ordering Uber eats.


There were a lot of people that went all out in the food category. I think we had food envy for sure. 

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diner en blanc chicago

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At least we know for next time! People took it very seriously and had several courses. The meal starts at 7pm and ended with sparklers at 9pm. There was a DJ and a Dance Floor too. 

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diner en blanc chicago

As you can see by the end of the night we were wearing jackets and scarves. It was pretty cold by the water. Pack something warm next year just in case. 

diner en blanc chicago

The history behind Dîner en Blanc and how it has grown over the years. 

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  1. Oh my gosh! I went to my first Diner En Blanc this year too, in New Orleans. Loved it! We’re already planning next years menu lol!!

    • Where was it in New Orleans? Was it a good turn out? We have to work on our menu for next year so we aren’t left hungry!