What is Diner en Blanc? Come Take a Peek at Philadelphia’s 2016 DEB 5th Anniversary


For the past few years, every August my Facebook feed has filled with pictures from the elegant and beautiful Diner en Blanc events in Philadelphia.  I have found myself intrigued with each picture, delving into each article and finding myself filled with wonder and curiosity.  Wildly popular with waiting lists into the thousands, I found myself slowly adding this insanely popular event to my bucket list.  And when I received an invite this past month to attend, my husband and I scrambled about with excitement to put together white outfits in anticipation of the surprise pop up adventure I’ve been dreaming of.

Although I was as excited about attending as a kid in the candy store, talking to my friends about my adventure was quite interesting to say the least.  Many did not understand the concept.  Some never heard of the event. The more I brought it up, the more questions I got. Yet despite all that I had already learned about the event, I really had no idea how to answer all of their questions.  “It is an experience”, I reminded myself as I counted the days. But the questions continued, “What is Diner en Blanc?” I was eager to come back with a story!

DEB paris

Dinner en Blanc is a worldwide event that originated in Paris, France.  In 1988, a fellow named François Pasquier had the idea of inviting friends to a park to have dinner.  He requested that they wear white in order to find one another.  The dinner was a huge success and it became a tradition to host the same year after year, inviting more friends to join them as the years went by. The goal of the event was to enjoy the beautiful surroundings while noshing on elegant food surrounded by great company. Slowly the phenomenon spread to various countries, eventually expanding wordwide over six contenients. This year, Philadelphia celebrated it’s 5th Anniversary hosting the event. I’d say Mr. Pasquier’s idea was quite a success!

Anyone who knows me knows I am all about experiences.  I love meeting new people, exploring new places and attending diverse events.  This enthusiasm is what makes my world go round and my local area happens to be one of my biggest passions.  When an event rich in history becomes a local tradition, you can be pretty certain you can count me in.  My invite to Diner en Blanc had me at hello.

On the afternoon leading up to this year’s event, I found myself anxiously checking my phone for a message.  Dinner en Blanc is a “surprise” pop up event, you see. You are not aware of holding location until the day of the event. The final location is not made known until you arrive!  If you are a planner like me, this part of the event may be a bit hard to wrap your head around. But to be perfectly fair, it is also one of the most exciting aspects of the evening. Where will it be held?  How will it all unfold? Ahhh the suspense!

DEB walking

My husband and I received word of our meeting location late afternoon and made arrangements to arrive at that location about 15 minutes before the event.  From that location, we quickly began seeing crowds of white lining the city streets and joined the flow as we began our walk to the final location.  The flowing sea of white had people on the streets abuzz with questions. “Why is everyone dressed in white?” “Where is everyone going?”  “What is this all about?”


As we made our way up the Parkway, the realization set in that the event was to be held in front of the Art Museum and immediately the excitement exploded. Cheers and giggles could be heard from the crowds as it all began to unfold before our eyes.


Guided by table leaders, groups began to arrive and one by one guests set up their tables in perfect unison. There was a sense of elegance as if they had rehearsed the set up over and over again.  I found it mezmerizing to watch the sea of white unfold.  With approximately 5000 guests in attendance, the already perfect setting quickly turned into a live masterpiece on the Parkway.


Tables ranged from basic to extravagant – some with lights and centerpieces, others filled with gourmet foods and sweets.  Wine and champagne bottles were a flow and table by table the traditional waving of the napkins in the air signaled the beginning of dinner. There were smiles and laughter and a lighthearted feeling that you wish you could bottle up.


It was elegant and romantic yet casual and fun.  And whether nibbling on the delicacies on their tables or taking selfies with the beautiful backdrop of Philadelphia behind them, a proposal on bended knee or a group of girlfriends capturing their girls night out on video, everyone seemed to be enjoying their moment, and I felt lucky to be a part of it all.


After dinner as the lights began to dim, the scenery continued to evolve.  Downtown buildings lit up the skyline as tiny white lights twinkled from the tables below. Each table began to light sparklers which danced about against the darkening sky.  With the wonder of a child, guests waved and circled them until they dimmed.  For a few seonds the entire Parkway was ablaze and I had the privilege of viewing it from the top of the Art Museum steps. What a beautiful sight to behold!


Music transitioned from dinner music to a fun, funky vibe and soon the crowds were up and dancing and enjoying the spirit and freedom of the evening. The dancing intermingled with entertainers, a drum line and other surrises continued the remainder of the evening.

DEB leaving

And when the night began winding to an end, even among the start of drizzling rain, the crowd slowly began to pack up their belongings, ending the night with smiles and hugs, laughter and chatter about the lovely night they had enjoyed.  Into their bags they would also pack memories of a wonderful experience that they will forever remember.  A memory of dancing on the Parkway with friends beneath the stars with the backdrop of the Philadelphia Art Museum and the beautiful Philadelphia skyline. No cars or traffic to be seen or heard, no tourists or pedestrians abound – just the company of friends and strangers alike – all out with the same goal – to enjoy each other’s company in this awesome city we call home, surrounded by food, entertainment and class. I have absolutely no idea how the organizers do what they do to pull off such a flawless event, but big congratulations to them for making this event come alive for all of us.

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“This is Diner en Blanc,” I sighed as I made my way back home, “Wow! What a magical evening”.

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Diner en Blanc is held once a year at a surprise pop up location in Philadelphia.  The event is by invitation only.  Invitations occur in phases beginning in the spring each year. Those who have not received an invite but would like to attend can join the waiting list by following Diner en Blanc Philadelphia’s website for details.  Details on the website include ticket costs, catering options and details as to where you can purchase necessities for the event.  You can read more about all of the other Diner en Blanc events and locations HERE.

Dislosure: My husband and I attended 2016 Diner En Blanc Philadelphia as media guests. All opinions are my own.


  1. Wow, what an amazing sight to see everyone dressed in white. I am so glad that you had an amazing time, and it is something I will keep in mind for next year.
    Jennifer recently posted…Weight Watchers Healthy Snacks Make The Perfect TreatMy Profile

  2. This is way too stressful for the planner in me, but looks like a good time.
    LaNeshe recently posted…Bento Box Back to School LunchesMy Profile

  3. What a gorgeous event! It looks amazing and looks like it would be a lot of fun.
    Dawn Nieves recently posted…Give Your Morning Routine an #EssentialUpgradeMy Profile

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