Photography courtesy of Eric Vitale Photography

Do you need a romantic dinner getaway but only have one evening? Get ready, because “Le Dîner en Blanc” is coming back to NYC. The French-inspired pop-up picnic presents unforgettable dinners in mystery locations. Guests dress up and gather for live music and dancing at an outdoor venue revealed at the very last minute. All you need–besides yourselves, your picnic basket, and your silverware–is an invitation. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Le Dîner en Blanc, despite its massive scope, is equally exclusive and elusive. If you’re just hearing about it now, you don’t have much time to act if you want to experience the picnic of a lifetime.

Hundreds of guests gather at one of Le Dîner en Blanc NYC's pop-up locations in 2017.
Hundreds of guests gather at one of Le Dîner en Blanc NYC’s pop-up locations in 2017.

Le Dîner en Blanc was founded in 1988 by François Pasquier. What started as a word-of-mouth tradition amongst friends has risen to global proportions–this year’s event aims to feed more than 130,000 people across 80 cities in 30 countries. New York City’s event alone will have 5,500 guests. Dîner en Blanc International was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. It didn’t hit the US until 2011, when the first Dîner en Blanc opened in NYC.

Registration is always for two, and goes out in three phases: the first phase is for attendees of the previous year, the second is new members referred by phase one members, and the third is for people who signed up on a waiting list. Phase One has already begun, so find your closest Phase One member before it’s too late. Hit up your closest celebrity friend, or that woman at work who always talks about the coolest parties. If all else fails, hop on that wait list ASAP.

Let’s say you find your Phase One friend, or you get picked off of the waitlist. Congratulations! You and your plus one are on your way to a night out or romantic dinner. Now you need the outfit. The dress code calls for all-white clothes and elegance, but leaves the rest to the imagination. Creativity is encouraged. A white three-piece suit and top hat? Queen Victoria’s wedding gown set in an all-white punk aesthetic? Let your imagination soar, as long as it stays elegant and tasteful. Just make sure it’s something you can walk in.

NYC attendees pose in white dresses at La Dîner en Blanc.
NYC attendees pose in their Dîner en Blanc outfits.

Next comes supplies. You’ll need a folding table, two white chairs, and a white tablecloth. You’ll need a picnic basket filled with fine food, proper stemware, and white dinnerware. Catered picnic basket options will be available to those who reserve them upon registration, but many guests prepare their own individualized gourmet meals. Don’t forget a garbage bag (also white).

A picture of a finely set table with a cake, candles, and food on white plates.
Le Dîner en Blanc guests set up their own romantic dinner settings.

So there you have it. Your chance to take part in a worldwide, top-secret picnic with you, a person of your choice, and 130,000 of your closest friends from around the world. Move quickly though, that waitlist had 64,000 people on it last year.