After a four-year hiatus, Dîner en Blanc will make its return to Dallas this fall with a new set of organizers—and a waitlist of more than 24,000 people.
The event is a one-night exclusive dinner that will be held Sept. 16 at a secret location. Diners will dress in all white (not cream, not off-white), bring their own tables and chairs, and enjoy a fancy picnic in a location they learn the day of.
Dîner en Blanc started in 1988 in Paris, where a bunch of people gathered in the Parc de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne for dinner. The organizer, François Pasquier, asked everyone to dress in white so they could find each other. It’s since become an international event that’s spread to more than 85 cities. The Paris event can have upwards of 10,000 attendees.
Dallas’ first Dîner en Blanc was in 2015 when about 1,600 people dined under the Continental Avenue Pedestrian Bridge. In 2016, dinner was held in front of Dallas City Hall and the Dallas Arboretum in 2017.
The following year marked a disastrous one for the event. Thousands of guests dined at the Reunion Arena Park in downtown Dallas, where they faced cold weather and wet grass after waiting hours for charter busses to take them to the location. White clothes and mud are not a great look when you’re wearing head-to-toe white. The event was somewhat redeemed in 2019 at Southfork Ranch—though it was outside Dallas city limits.
With a new set of co-hosts, Dîner en Blanc Dallas is ready to make a comeback. After moving to Dallas from Houston in 2021, Cindy Pride reached out to the Dîner en Blanc international team last year to put together Dallas’ event for 2022. When they asked her to host, she requested that she co-host with her friend, Charita Scott, who she met at the 2019 Dîner en Blanc in Houston.
Pride blames the gap in Dallas’ dinners on the pandemic and the international team’s search for the right group of organizers. After the last two Dîner en Blancs, the comeback needs to meet several expectations, Pride says.
“The hope that Charita and I have is that each and every one of our guests will have an exceptional customer experience,” she says.
Scott vetted more than 250 volunteers to ensure that they were “a great fit” and meshed with the rest of the team. This year’s vendors include Naborly Provisions Catering, DJ Robert “Rob. G the General” Gamble, Stephen Reid of Stevie D Photography, and FiveStone Creative Event Production.
Pride said she wants to turn Dîner en Blanc Dallas into a destination event. Thousands fly in for dinners held in New York City and Paris, and she’s hoping to raise Dallas’ status to match that caliber.
The exclusivity of the event is the appeal. Getting that coveted invite is also a process: a three-phase waitlist will open about four to six weeks from the event date, Pride says. Phase one will open to members and friends, phase two to sponsored guests, and phase three will open to the waiting list—which Pride says consists of more than 24,000 people and counting.
“Everybody is trying to get in,” she says.
Costs for the event include a $14 membership fee and a ticket starting at $47, with prices varying based on parking and transportation. There are also a lot of rules: Attendees must wear white, bring a table of specific dimensions, two white chairs (you have to come with a guest), a white picnic basket, a white tablecloth, white cloth napkins, silverware, glassware, plates, and a trash bag. Bring your own dinner or choose to pick it up through the event’s caterers at the event for an additional cost. It’s not BYOB, though. You can purchase a bottle of wine or Champagne through Dîner en Blanc.
The signature kickoff to the event is when guests wave their napkins in the air to signal that the tables are set and they’re ready to eat. After dinner, there’s dancing and entertainment. Pride says there’s a Champagne garden in the works, whatever that might look like. Guests clean up their own space after everything is over.
Pride says she and Scott are hoping to make this year worthwhile. In past events, she’s been able to foster relationships through the organization, and that’s what she wants Dîner en Blanc guests to experience, too.
Dîner en Blanc will be held Sept. 16 at an undisclosed location. Learn more here.