By Joshua Langston
Photos by Viranlly Liemena
Every year the boys of The Social Concierge, create some of the most memorable events the city has ever seen. Each year the tickets to their events become more sought after, due to their inate ability to constantly exceed their previous year. One of my favourite events that they put on is Diner en Blanc, a pop-up dinner party with thousands of attendees and an ever growing waitlist. Diner en Blanc, which just wrapped it’s third year in Vancouver, started in Paris over 25 years ago. While the event has a strict set of rules, which non-attendees see as daunting, these rules are the reason that it is able to be orchestrated at such a impressive level. To sum it up in a phrase, it’s all about the “all white everything”. It’s also because of these strict rules, that the event is able to be captured so beautifully, with thousands of attendees in a sea of white.
Attendees have to bring their own chairs, table cloths, tables, proper plateware , glasseware, cutlery, white napkins and naturally a head to toe white ensemble. This year Hawksworth was back offering a pre-fixe menu to purchase, or you can bring your own food in. Groups of tables met at various locations around Vancouver, all eagerly waiting to find out the location 30minutes before the event starts.
This was the first year where I wasn’t scrambling last minute to get everything on my list, the only thing I had left to grab on the day was our food, and for that, I was thankful.
My dinner dates for the evening included Randa Salloum of The-Unprecedented, Lyndi Barrett of Styling Calling and her bf Jon, Ghazal Elhaei of One1One Magazine and our very own Viranlly. We decided to bring in our own food including Charcuterie, Various breads and spreads, crispy brussel sprouts and cupcakes from Sweet Bake Shop.
This year Diner en Blanc boasted 3,500 attendees, which is a nearly 25% increase of numbers compared to the previous year. While the numbers of attendees grows, so does the waitlist, which currently holds 35,000 names of hopeful future attendees. Once we got everything all set up, including creating a “instagrammable tablescape”, we poured a crisp glass of white and sat back while the TSC boys got on the microphones and gave the opening speeches.
To signify the start of the dinner, guests take their white cloth napkins and wave them in the air, I can only imagine what this looked like to the onlookers outside the venue. One table leader released 30 white doves into the air, to the surprise of the guests.
For dessert we had grabbed a couple boxes of cupcakes from Sweet Bake Shop in Yaletown, White Vanilla Bean cupcakes were not only aesthetically pleasing for our tablescape, but also for our tastebuds. Well, if I’m going to be honest, I ate mine in one bite, because when it’s that good, savouring is nearly impossible.
This year as another effort to up the ante of years past, there were live performances of Carmen by The Vancouver Opera, that winded their way around David Lam Park while aerialists stunned the crowds with their incredible liquid-like movements.
Arts Umbrella also brought in 50 youth dancers to loop through the venue, which was incredibly stunning, and added to the overall ambiance of the event.
What I love about Diner en Blanc is the people, and the style. This is one of those events that because of a few restrictions, like say colour palette, it forces you to really think outside the box. I love how each year we see people step it up more and more. From full on Victorian Costumes, to repurposed wedding gowns, the ladies took opportunity to really celebrate fashion. That being said, the men are equally impressive and and find ways to wear all white without looking clinical, a tough feat by any means. Rolled up sleeves showing off tattoos, to the perfect hats, the men found ways to amp up their looks with accessories wether they added them to the look, or already had them on their bodies.
As the sun began to set we were treated to another performance before dinner was finished. The time had come for “The Sparkler Moment” as it has been deemed, which signifies the end of the formal dinner and when we get up and dance the night away. When you have 3,500 sparklers being waved in the air at the same time, it looks like fireflies dancing in the night sky.
Thank you The Social Concierge for creating another evening we will always remember, and we can;t wait until your next event.
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