Canberra will host a 4th edition of Le Dîner en Blanc on Saturday 9th February. The annual chic picnic will gather at a secret location with approximately 1,500 people for an unforgettable evening unlike anything else offered in the Capital.

A concept that started in Paris 1988, on the simple premises to wear white in the park so all guests of the outdoor picnic could be recognised, has snowballed into a jaw dropping spectacle of crisp, chic fashion and has made its way to Canberra for the 4th time.

“The city’s architecture is so wonderful, there is a fantastic food scene and Canberrans actively support cultural activities with great enthusiasm,” says Dîner en Blanc host, Rachel Bessis.

The nomad event chases summer and is now impressively held in six continents ensuring key cities are awash with white for one Instagramable day. Traditionally Dîner en Blanc is held on a backdrop of green lawns, sipping champers among pearly white table cloths and fancy ware. Ladies, besides your big day this is undoubtedly the most exciting time to wear a white frock.

“There is a unifying sense of conviviality through white fashion. Everyone looks great in white and it really pops in photos,” she says.

The location of the illusive, pop-up event is kept secret for as long as possible. The reveal occurs on the way to the venue, after attendees gather at a meeting place first.

The 2018 event will be hard to top, held at one of the most iconic spots in the Capital, The National Arboretum. Already we are hearing whispers about where the 2019 Dîner en Blanc will reveal itself – though no one will know until the day of, we can be sure it will follow in suit of a beautiful setting.

“Each venue is special in different ways, there are so many beautiful sites in Canberra,” Rachel says. “You’ll have to wait and see what we have in store for the next few years.”

While you can’t prepare where your Uber shall drop you off for the evening, you can prep your outfit. It may seem a little intimidating at first –with the potential of drink spillage, and lipstick smudges – but actually a head-to-toe white look can be quite pleasant to wear. Think classic white shirts, sheer blouses, loose-fitting dresses wide-legged trousers and linen shorts, all bright enough to make your summer tans stand out. Even if I don’t make it onto the prestige guest list, I’ll be sitting on my deck in an off-the-shoulder Magnolia top uploading snaps with the tag #LeDînerenBlanc because there will be a serious case of FOMO circulating Canberra for those not attending.

“Always think chic and original. Your imagination is the limit really. There are countless sources of white fashion inspiration online and on our website.”

Bystanders will witness an evening filled with visually breathtaking moments including the waving of white cloth napkins to mark the beginning of the dinner, and the lighting of 1,500 sparklers to start the party.

Rachel explains homage is always paid to the event’s Parisian heritage.

“The Parisian origins of the event are definitely reflected in the food and wine selections as well as in the music we play on the night. We love paying homage to the culture and its “C’est la vie” or “Je ne sais quoi” lifestyle. But while this is a Francophile event, there are always local elements to the way we curate it.”

This sort of magic doesn’t happen by chance, there are some serious codes of conduct you must abide by to be a guest at the most boujee event on the Canberra calendar.

To maintain the uniqueness of Le Dîner en Blanc as well as staying true to tradition, guests must observe certain requirements and respect the core values of the event:

  • Once confirmed, each guest’s attendance becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions. This is a rain or shine event.
    Dress code: chic and white only. Originality is encouraged as long as it is stylish and tasteful.
  • Table setting: all white!
  • To ensure that the location secret is kept undisclosed until last minute, guests meet at assigned departure locations and are escorted by a Dîner en Blanc volunteer.
  • In order to leave the event location as clean as when they arrived, guests are required to leave with all their belongings.

Guests must bring a table, two white chairs, white tablecloth and white cloth napkins, polycarbonate stemware, stainless steel cutlery and white crockery, an ice bucket, a lighter, a garbage bag and, of course, table decorations

Like a thief in the night the coveted picnic commences at 6:00pm and finishes at 10:45pm without a trace left behind. So how do you get a start for the party of the season?

“Knowing someone in the organisation always helps, as there are a number of Group and Table Leader volunteers that can invite their friends directly. Also, if you have friends that are members (last year attendees), they can sponsor you to attend. Finally, everyone can register on the waiting list. Invitations to people registered on the waiting list are sent regularly from now until end of January 2019.”

The waiting list is now open, sign up now  to be part of this unique night celebrating Canberra! We have made it a little easier for you by skipping the queue. Here is what to do:

Email [email protected] and tell us who you would bring along to Diner en Blanc and why?