Dîner en Blanc is back in D.C. this Saturday and there's plenty to look forward to. Still, the event can be overwhelming so we asked three local Dîner en Blanc experts about what to expect and what they love most about this legendary party.
Bryer Davis works on The Hill by day, but she's also one of the three co-hosts of Dîner en Blanc. Bryer was instrumental in bringing Dîner en Blanc to D.C. five years ago, but she's been attending the event around the world for 12 years.
Her advice for newcomers: "Pack your patience. There's always an element of organized chaos - there are 4,900 people who also don't know where they're going" she explained. Bryer also reminded people it's okay to not be seated by friends. "Keep an open mind, you can make amazing new friends by just sitting next to them and eating together that’s an amazing thing." Plus, you can always meet your friends on the dance floor!
What keeps her coming back: "(Dîner en Blanc) is that it's an out-of-the-norm thing. As an organizer, you're always supposed to learn from the year before, but here it's a different location, a different group and a different leadership team - you're reinventing the wheel."
Bryer's best memory: Shutting down Pennsylvania Avenue for the 2017 Dîner en Blanc.
Dave Burton owns The Capital Candy Jar and he's been attending Dîner en Blanc since it came to D.C. in 2013. He's volunteered with Dîner en Blanc every year.
His advice for newcomers: "Don't let it stress you out. It's easy to do with all the rules, but the points is that it's an experience for everyone.l Listened to your table leaders... just don't get bogged down in logistics and have fun."
What keeps him coming back: "The community, the people, the fun... I love what it is for the experience. Every location is unique and beautiful and it's a wonderful part of (the experience)."
Dave's best memory: Dave was a group leader during his second year at Dîner en Blanc and he brought all 25 groups over to his house and they made a day of it, starting off with champagne and appetizers before enjoying dinner at the Carnegie Library and dancing the night away at an after party.
Marianne Carey is an avid traveler who has attended six Dîner en Blanc events in London, Charleston, S.C. and Washington D.C.
Her advice for newcomers: "No matter who you find yourself next to, just be happy. It doesn't matter once the champagne starts flowing!"
What keeps her coming back: "Simply, for me and my hubby of 26 years, it is romantic from start to finish. My table is always decked out with finery and I can’t even wipe the smile off my face, no kidding. And we usually 'meet' a new table friend to our right, and have a complete blast with a friend couple to our left. We share our food, our wine... and the time goes by so fast because we (lose) sight of time. It’s an extraordinary experience."
Marianne's best memory: "My favorite year and venue has been (Dîner en Blanc) D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial grassy venue (in 2016). For me, it was a signature outdoor grassy space with the iconic and requested 'historic landmark' that (Dîner en Blanc) is known for. The sunset was astoundingly beautiful, the photography booth worked to perfection... and every time you looked at the memorial it was lit up with different colors. It was a perfect example of the visual and overall spirit of Dîner en Blanc."