Don’t put away your summer whites quite yet. On Friday Oct. 6, Long Island will be the setting for an immense al fresco dinner party that will require all its 1,500 participants to wear white — no cream, no ivory, no beige. White.
Where will this occur? Can’t tell you. One of the hallmarks of the Dîner en Blanc is that its exact whereabouts is only announced the day of the event.
The White Dinner was started in Paris by François Pasquie in 1988, and over the years more than 100,000 diners have convened at events all over the world, from Atlanta to Mumbai to Chicago, Shanghai to Vancouver to Zagreb. New York City’s first dinner was in 2011; this year, it attracted more than 5,000 to the plaza outside of Lincoln Center.
Now the dazzling (but colorless) event is heading across the East River for the first time. “The Island is so rich in culture, cuisine and fashion,” said organizer Bridget K. H. O’Brien, “we thought, ‘Why not bring a premier event that marries all three to a beautiful Long Island location?’ ”
Take a deep breath, we’re going to talk logistics now. You can’t just buy tickets for Le Dîner en Blanc. There are three phases of registration:
Phase 1. Tickets are offered to Dîner en Blanc members from the previous year and close friends of the organization.
Phase 2. Tickets are offered to friends who are “sponsored” by Phase 1 members.
Phase 3. Tickets are offered to newcomers who sign up to join a waiting list. That’s where we are right now. Go to longisland.dinerenblanc.com/register to put yourself on the list.
O’Brien said that more than a thousand people have already signed up for the 1,500 places. The registration deadline is on Friday at 11:30 p.m.
Within 24 hours of registering you will be notified by email whether you have been invited. Once you complete the registration process, you will be apprised of all fees, rules and procedures.
The price is $98 per couple (you must have a partner to sit across the table), $18 of which is a membership fee that guarantees your invitation to next year’s event (should there be one). This price does not include food or drinks.
Once you have paid, the fee is nonrefundable. Dîner en Blanc is a rain-or-shine event and if it looks like rain, bring a raincoat, umbrella or poncho — as long as it is white or clear.
When you register for the event, you will chose a departure location where you will leave your car and board a bus. On the evening of Oct. 6, you’ll report to that departure location equipped with a table and two white chairs, and a tote or picnic basket (white!) containing a white tablecloth and napkins, white china dishes, metal cutlery and glass stemware. You can bring your own food (any color is fine) or purchase a meal on the website in advance. There are options ranging from cheese boards to a full-blown salmon dinner ($30 to $160). You cannot bring your own beverages; bottles of wine are priced $60 to $160.
After dinner, there will be dancing. After dancing, you will put all your trash in a white plastic bag (which you bring) in order to leave the mystery location in the same condition in which you found it. Then board the bus to return to your car. Got it?
For more information, go to longisland.dinerenblanc.com.