Karen Terhune Duncan
Le Dîner en Blanc is an all-white, outdoor, fancy dinner party that has become a phenomenon across the globe. This secret posh picnic is held in more than 80 cities in 30 countries (and growing) around the world with 130,000+ participants. The largest and most internationally recognized Le Dîner en Blanc remains the original Paris event, which first started in 1988.
The inaugural launch of Savannah's Le Dîner en Blanc, or DEBSAV, was held on Saturday, October 16, 2021 and we were there! To put it quite simply – it’s a flash mob dinner party that is set at a secret location (revealed on the day of the event, just minutes before the start time when we met at a designated meeting spot) where attendees are required (not optional) to dress in all white.
Getting an invite to this ultra event was not easy. When it was first announced in the spring that Savannah had been granted their certificate from France, I was on the site, and almost immediately informed I was "waitlisted". As the event geared up I crossed my fingers and we got the notice in early October that we were IN. Along with our good friends John and Karen Evans, who are always up for a fun adventure, we quickly formulated our plans, which included our all white apparel, table setting and decor, and planning our portable menu. Finding white shoes for Doug (who has a very difficult foot to fit) proved challenging, but we did find some while last minute online shopping. The rules are stringent. No sneakers, or golf shirts or stuff with logos. It has to be elegant, and it has to be all white. The only exception is accessories of gold and silver that may be added.
And it was a PARTY! We were instructed to be our assigned parking lot by 4:45 and we all arrived in white, head to toe, carting our square tables and white chairs, along with linen, utensils and food to set up for an evening, right along side a few hundred of our new closest friends. And by 5:30 we were boarding white Savannah trolleys to the secret location which was the spectacular historic Fort Jackson, on the Savannah River.
Guests arrived from different locations throughout the city to this one secret location - and a staggering 600+ of us were there!!! Row after row of portable tables, folding chairs and amazingly creative décor, outfits, and gorgeous food presentations. Everyone quickly unpacks and sets up their table. Once set up, the French tradition of "waving your linen napkin" launches the meal. There was music and entertainment, on a gorgeous night with container ships passing by and a picture perfect Savannah sunset.
Le Dîner en Blanc in Paris hosts 15,000 people annually! From New York to Dubai thousands gather annually. Some guests we met travel from city to city and from country to country just to attend different Dîner en Blanc events! We quickly found we were some of the very few actually from Savannah! In our group were couples from Atlanta, Charlotte, DC and Philadelphia.
As soon as it was dark, as the last of the decadent desserts were being enjoyed, our hosts distributed tall sparklers, and the party kicked into high gear. A magical evening and we can't wait until next year. We can only imagine what celebrated Savannah location they'll choose.