Diner en Blanc in Dallas will take place Oct. 6, 2017 at a secret location. Here's the scene in 2016 at Dallas City Hall.

Diner en Blanc in Dallas will take place Oct. 6, 2017 at a secret location. Here's the scene in 2016 at Dallas City Hall.

Nathan Hunsinger/Staff Photographer

"I'll give you a hint," says Karen Raehpour about the secretive dinner party Le Diner en Blanc in Dallas. "Women should prepare for any terrain."

That's almost all we know about the party for 2,400 people that will take place  Oct. 6  somewhere inside Dallas proper, at a secret outdoor location. Diner en Blanc is a fanciful event that got its start in France and made its way to North Texas in 2015.

Diner en Blanc has been a buzzy food and wine event since its start. To wit: 15,000 people are on the waiting list in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Scenes from a secret dinner party for 2,300 people at Dallas City Hall

Each year, food-loving attendees buy tickets in advance and wear a spectacular white outfit from head to toe, shoes included. All 2,400 guests will board buses on the night of the event, with no idea where the dinner party will take place. They learn of Diner en Blanc's secret location only when the buses pull up to the lavish affair.

"I'm more excited about this location than either of our previous ones," says Fairview resident Raehpour, who is organizing Diner en Blanc Dallas with Rachael Kissel of McKinney. "I feel like it's a 'wow,'" she says of the secret spot.

As for the "prepare for any terrain," hint, Raehpour means that dinner party guests will not be sitting on concrete all evening; this spot has grass, too. And like all Diner en Blancs, the evening will take place outside. 

So, here's what we know about the location of Diner en Blanc on Oct. 6:

Want to see how they do Diner en Blanc in Paris, home of the original event 30 years back? Here, thousands of people enjoy a chic picnic on the City Hall plaza in Paris.

Want to see how they do Diner en Blanc in Paris, home of the original event 30 years back? Here, thousands of people enjoy a chic picnic on the City Hall plaza in Paris.

Thomas Samson/Agence France-Presse
  • Its address is in Dallas proper. (The dinner party might take place in Fort Worth or other North Texas cities in coming years, organizers say. But this year it's still in Dallas.)
  • It's an outdoor space.
  • This place has a combination of concrete and grass.
  • It has to be able to fit about 2,500 people.
  • It won't take place in the previous two years' locations: on the Continental Avenue Bridge (from 2015) or in front of Dallas City Hall (from 2016).
  • It could be hosted in a location people didn't know was available, and the organizers have the ability to shut down streets if they wish.
  • The organizers had one spot picked for 2017, then changed it. "Something in our gut was like, 'We want more 'wow,'" Raehpour says.
  • Perhaps that's another hint: This spot is "definitely iconic," Raehpour says.
Get a glimpse inside Dallas' inaugural Diner en Blanc

Any guesses? Don't even try; Raehpour won't tell. It's part of the fun of Diner en Blanc every year. The secret location hasn't leaked in its first two years, despite a small army of volunteers who help make the event work. Raehpour is hopeful they can keep up the no-telling tradition.

Previously, Diner en Blanc Dallas has taken place on the Continental Avenue Bridge, which runs parallel to Dallas' iconic Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, and in front of Dallas City Hall.

In other cities, Diner en Blanc is sometimes hosted at the quintessential iconic spot, like at the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. "Guests want beauty and views — and to get to do something they're not normally allowed to do," Raehpour says. Diner en Blanc International, which oversees dinners in 60 cities, from Africa to Australia to America, "likes it to be a spectacle."

For all the fun and frivolity of Diner en Blanc, it's also a serious commitment. There's the wear-all-white thing, then there's the fact that attendees have to set up their own picnics once they reach the special spot, which means carrying tables, chairs and centerpieces.

Diner en Blanc is a destination event — the kind people plan for months in advance. Interested? Here's what you need to know.

Diner en Blanc is an invitation-only event, but it's not too late to get an invitation. How?

  • Step One: Get on the waiting list. You will be alerted when tickets go on sale.
  • Step Two: Keep an eye out on Facebook for ticket reminders, which will start three or four weeks before the Diner en Blanc date.
  • Step Three: Buy tickets, quickly, when you are instructed to. Protip: Everyone on the list gets an invitation. And if you have already attended Diner en Blanc, you will receive a Phase I invitation. Once each phase opens up, interested attendees have to try to snag tickets online, just like buying a seat at a popular concert.

"Don't do it if you'll be frustrated," Raehpour says. "It's likely to be frustrating! It's absolute luck of the draw." D-FW residents have criticized Diner en Blanc for selling out quickly, but you have to give it to them: They're not prepared to throw a party for 15,000 people, and probably will never be, so there's never going to be room for everyone. That adds to its exclusivity. 

How much does Diner en Blanc cost?

Tickets cost $96 per couple, and that fee includes a membership to Diner en Blanc International, which is required.

What to wear to Diner en Blanc Dallas? White, of course, and white only.

What to wear to Diner en Blanc Dallas? White, of course, and white only.

Nathan Hunsinger/Staff Photographer

How serious is the all-white dress code?

The rule is still "uninterrupted white," which means men should buy a white belt and white shoes to wear with a white shirt and white pants. Women shouldn't accessorize a white dress or white pants with a pop of color on top. 

But whereas attendees once fretted over whether their blouse was cream or eggshell, the organizers are relaxing just a little bit:

"Look, wear white," Raehpour says. "If it looks white and is elegant and upscale, it counts." Fingernails painted a color other than white? "Totally allowed," Raehpour says. Whew.

Wait: I bring my own table and chairs?

Yup. Hope those stylish, white shoes are also comfortable!

This Diner en Blanc Dallas couple has it figured out: Food goes in a rolling cooler, with the table and other goodies piled on top. Parasols are optional. (But fabulous, am I right?)

This Diner en Blanc Dallas couple has it figured out: Food goes in a rolling cooler, with the table and other goodies piled on top. Parasols are optional. (But fabulous, am I right?)

Nathan Hunsinger/Staff Photographer

Diner en Blanc is a pop-up dinner, and attendees are required to bring a regulation-sized table, chairs and a white tablecloth. (Event organizers note for anyone fretting about the price tag that Diner en Blanc gets less expensive if you're a repeat attender because many already have a table and chairs.)

For food, attendees can either purchase dinner for an added fee or bring their own food, plates and silverware; no paper plates allowed. It's a fancy party, darling! Everything goes home at the end of the night except trash, which goes into neatly arranged garbage bags. White ones, preferably.

Attendees are not allowed to bring their own wine per TABC laws. Wine can be purchased ahead of time and picked up on site.

What do you do at the event?

Once everyone is set up, the hosts initiate the famous napkin wave, where each attendee waves a napkin given to them by sponsor Southwest Airlines. It signifies that the evening is about to begin. Then, it's time to eat, drink and dance. Diner en Blanc ends with fireworks. Then buses take people back to their cars.

Who will know the secret location?

Not me, and probably not you. "We try our absolute best to limit the amount of people who know the location," Kissel explained in 2015. The hosts often don't even tell their family members.

If you're reading this, you probably love food. Check out stories about the newest restaurants opening in Dallas-Fort Worth.

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