How to prepare for Vancouver’s Dîner en Blanc in a day


The evening Vancouverites gather to wear white is creeping up on us.

The fancy Le Dîner en Blanc is taking place August 8. Are you prepared?

Diner en Blanc is tomorrow night, are you ready?
Photograph By DEB Imagery

This year celebrates the 31st Anniversary of the original Dîner en Blanc in Paris as well as the 8th iconic dinner party here in Vancouver.

More than 4000 people are set to descend on a surprise location to celebrate ephemerality, tradition, and intimacy. In other words, to be posh and eat.

If you’re the one person who hasn’t been planning for the “magical” event for the past two months… don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

We spoke with event table leader LeLe Chan about what to do if you, accidentally, left all your preparations for the event to the last minute.

Chan has been preparing table tops for the glamorous event for five years now. She’s an Event Designer with début Event Design Inc., and a calligrapher, artist, and graphic designer under her own brand, LeLe Chan Designs.

While Chan maintains the event is “one to prepare for” she said she had some tips and tricks up her sleeve that she could share with us.

Here’s what she had to say:

1. If you have left Dîner en Blanc to the last minute… What are the top 3 things to focus on?

It’s all about the fashion, the food and your friends at Diner en Blanc.

FASHION – “Because this event is a chance to express your creativity and panache, ” Chan said.

FOOD – “It’s a picnic after all, so don’t skimp on this. You want your meal to be as elegant as your outfit.

FRIENDS – “It’s important to remember that despite all of the art installations and entertainment that Dîner en Blanc provides, it’s the human connections that make it such a magical experience.

“Go with a bestie or a group of your favourite people and be prepared to make lots of new friends. The essence of Diner is community and connection, mingle and have fun!”

2. If you don’t have a white outfit yet, what is the best plan of attack? 

Don’t stress – there’s still white outfits out there.

“I’m a big fan of shopping local,” Chan said.

“Barefoot Contessa on Main Street has some great options for the ladies, most of which are currently on sale! I also love Front & Company on Main, and Fine Finds in Yaletown.”

diner en blanc
Dîner en Blanc expert Alexandra Thompson (right), shown here with fellow outdoor dining dazzler Kirsten Donald, shares some of her secrets for throwing an unforgettable outdoor dinner party. Photo: Alexandra Thompson

3. Can I wear something more casual or does it have to be fancy?

Chan said it’s better to “be over-dressed than under-dressed.”

“As there will be a lot magnificent outfits at this event, my suggestion would be to avoid the casual,” she said.

4. What are the best foods to take at late notice?

“My suggestion would be to go to Whole Foods Market or Urban Fare,” Chan said.

“They sell delicious hot meals that can easily be packed up and brought on a picnic.”

diner en blanc vancouver
Photo by Jonathan Evans / Jonny Picture via Diner en Blanc – Vancouver/Facebook

5. What’s the fastest way to make your tablescape look incredible? Are there items that can be found quickly? 

“Winners and Home Sense is a great place to start,” Chan said.

“Local dollar stores are also a great option for candles and vases.”

6. Where do I find white chairs and tables? Can they be rented?  

“These items are best rented, unless you’ve already got some at home that you can pack and bring, ” said Chan

“A&B Party Rentals is my go-to, and they will have everything you need!”

7. Where can you find white shoes? 

Chan says your best bet for some great white shoes is Aldo.

“Other great places for white shoes are Nordstrom, Browns, and Town Shoes,” she said.

For more information on the event head to Diner en Blanc

Follow @vancouriernews on Instagram for highlights of the night
— This story was originally published in 2018.