Charlotte’s Diner en Blanc host team gives the skinny on the summer soiree

Leo Bennett and Tara Robertson talked with QCityMetro as they prepare for another year of the exclusive all-white event.

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Diner-en-Blanc-2018-Charlotte-photo-Jeff-Mark

Nearly 1,200 people attended Charlotte's inaugural Diner en Blanc at Romare Bearden Park on Aug. 11, 2018. Photo courtesy of Diner en Blanc - Charlotte

Updated: May 15, 2019 @ 8 p.m. 

A recent Instagram post caused a frenzy when organizers announced that Diner en Blanc is returning to Charlotte for a second year.

When is Diner en Blanc this year?

How do I get invited?

Has the waitlist opened?

Wait! What is Diner en Blanc?

In 1988, Frenchman François Pasquier invited his friends to an elegant outdoor dinner in Paris to celebrate his return from a trip abroad. He asked everyone to wear white so that they could find each other. Since the initial “Dinner in White,” more than 70 cities have hosted the invite-only affair. It debuted in the US in 2011.

Last summer, Charlotte finally got its turn. It was a sea of hundreds of people dressed in strictly enforced “all white everything” (carrying all-white decor) who took over Romare Bearden Park.

Related: 4 things I experienced at Diner en Blanc

In full posh fashion, the crowd even broke out white umbrellas when Mother Nature decided to rain on the parade, literally.

 

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I caught up with the returning co-hosts, Leo Bennett and Tara Robertson, to get answers to your burning questions about this year’s event.

What did it take to bring Diner en Blanc to Charlotte?

The process to have the event approved took about six months. After you apply, the international team evaluates each team that wants to host the event. They want to know that you are who you say you are and are capable of upholding the (Diner en Blanc) brand in your city. They look at your social media accounts and resume.

We have to pay a franchise fee as well. Once approved, we were tasked with deciding destination points for pickup/drop off, venues and other details. There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes in the months prior to the event.

How is the guest list curated? Is the event open to the public?

The guest list is done in phases. There are three phases. In the first phase, friends of the organizers are personally invited. In the second phase, those who were invited in the first phase can extend invitations to their networks. Phase three is the coveted phase. This is when the general public can sign up for the waitlist. If selected from the waitlist, you will receive an email invite.

How many people do you expect to attend this year?

Last year, we initially planned for 800 people and nearly 1,200 attended. Right now, we are anticipating 1,200. However, attendance may be near 1,500. Each year, cities are awarded space based on the number in attendance the previous year.

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Charlotte’s inaugural Diner en Blanc at Romare Bearden Park on Aug. 11, 2018. Photo courtesy of Diner en Blanc – Charlotte

Some Charlotteans have attended Diner en Blanc in other cities like Paris and Washington, D.C. What will be special about the Charlotte edition?

We will bring a wow factor. Last year was the first year, so we were all (planners and guests) learning lessons. This year, people know what to do. We are taking it up a notch with surprise performances and a super cool venue. We are adding flavor. There will be fun contests. One of our sponsors, Belk, will provide prize packages for “best dressed.”

Although there will be added bonuses, expect consistency with the brand. You’re going to have a great time at an awesome venue. Like last year, the music will be off the chain!

How strict is the dress code? What if I’m wearing something that’s not white, can I still get in?

The dress code is strictly enforced. Now is the time to find white clothes. Buy them even if you don’t get in this year, save them for next year.

What other tips do you have for guests?

Less is more. Remember, you are transporting tables and chairs. You should practice in your yard pulling all of those things together before the day of the event. Plan early so that you are prepared.

So…when’s the big day?

QCityMetro will be the first to know as soon as we confirm the date…stay tuned! [At a launch event on May 15, the host team announced the event will be on Aug. 24.]

See the video below for highlights from the inaugural Diner en Blanc – Charlotte.


Nakisha Washington is a journalist who interviewed America’s first self-made female billionaire, a presidential candidate and her favorite reality TV personality all within 72 hours. Catch her talking career and lifestyle tips to curious millennials on her blog, theprofashionalist.com.

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