Preparing for Diner en Blanc

Toronto's Diner en Blanc is one week TODAY and I am so so SO excited!

This will be my third year attending the event, which I look forward to more and more each year. 5 of my friends will be attending with me for an incredible night out, and it's fun to see how my original "lottery" invitation has spread into something we love doing together every summer.

But, for all the fun of the event, Diner en Blanc isn't without its effort. There are a lot of rules about what you are allowed to bring, what you have to bring, what you have to wear and what you need to leave at home. 

As a third year veteran I wan't to give you my thoughts on how to make the most of your Diner en Blanc experience so you have the best night possible!

What to bring? What they tell you on the list, but also:

  • A dolly
  • 2 small white plates (instead of full dinner size)
  • Mason jar glasses
  • If possible: raised serving trays
  • White plastic table cloths from the dollar store (bring a few!)
  • Tide to go
  • Clean white dish cloth
The dolly is integral to getting stuff around. Bringing all of this stuff with you to and from the event is HEAVY, you cannot carry it all so don't try. I've also seen people bring a white suitcase (or a black suitcase wrapped in white fabric) which will do the trick in a pinch. But please, something with wheels.

The event insists on real tableware, and while I would argue that this is more of a hazard then you need, get a little artsy and grab some dollar store glasses or mason jars to drink out of. This way you only need to carry them to the event and can throw them out (mostly) guilt free at the end of the night. However if you can bring your own (and they aren't expensive and very breakable) please do.

Similarly, bring a small white dessert plate rather than a full sized plate. Diner en Blanc is a 3 course meal that tends toward hand held, pre made, smaller plated foods. The recommended table size can be quite small and if you put a full place setting down you won't have any room to show off the food you've brought! My recommendation is to have a single white serving tray in the middle to put all your food on, and then smaller plates to eat off of.  

If you can avoid cutlery all together, do so! Also a raised serving tray that sits above your plate (like a cake tray) can make the whole process much easier

My best tip though are the white plastic table cloths. These will come in useful in so many ways! They're sturdy and can be used to tie things to your dolly. They can cover your non-white items should you catch any grief. They can be used to wrap up food or dirty plates before bringing them back home. Finally if it starts to rain, you better believe they make a great poncho!

Tide to go and a clean white cloth... well if you're only wearing white accidents do happen. Also remember to be smart: drink clear beverages.

What NOT to bring:
  • Large plates - just reiterating this
  • Messy foods - accident waiting to happen
  • Heeled shoes - these events almost always take place on a lawn, and since you don't know how far you'll be travelling, flats tend to be the better option
  • Any clothes that aren't white - you're missing the point and MIGHT not be allowed in the venue!
  • A large camera - you're lugging so much around, better to use your fancy phone or point-and-shoot for a night like this.

Other Recommendations:

While my above do's and don'ts should help you with your planning, I do have a few more recommendations that will make your time at Diner en Blanc so much more fun!

  • If you're attending with a group, share the load. Don't have one person bring food and another bring all the heavy plates, try to think about evening out the weight more than the meal (which will come together I promise!)
  • Plan a tapas/charcuterie style meal - Even though the meal is technically 3 courses, other than signalling the start of dinner there isn't really any follow up on when you're allowed to eat your apps, main and dessert. I'd recommend rolling together the first two into a charcuterie board with some heavier finger food options that require less organization and prep time. Cheese, bread, olives, fresh rolls, shrimp, anything that you can pick up from a shared tray! 
  • Travel in numbers - Diner en Blanc is an invite only event, so your first year you may not know anyone other than the guest you invited directly. After a few years this will likely not be the case and it becomes easier to plan, BUT you have options! When you sign up you're associated to a group, so don't be afraid to connect with people before the event to see if anyone is interested in sharing meal duties. This event is meant to be social so get out there and meet people!
  • Don't be afraid to dress up! - Wear a fascinator or a top hat. Rock white fishnets and a tutu, or throw on a white wig. Paint your nails white, use white eye liner, and rock all of your most fabulous white accessories. Diner en Blanc is as much about the fashion as the food so don't be afraid to go all out!

I hope you have the most amazing time at your upcoming Diner en Blanc event!!! See you there!

PS: If you liked this post, check out these posts!