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An Eighth Circuit Dîner en Blanc

Read on for a quick story about how Dîner en Blanc started and for details on our own event.

The Origins of Le Dîner en Blanc

In June of 1988, Frenchman François Pasquier had just returned home from a long stay overseas and wanted to have a group of friends over for dinner.  Having little money and realizing that his small apartment could not hold more than a few people, he came up with a creative way to host a large dinner.

He told a dozen of his friends to each invite a dozen of their friends to meet at a particular place and time.  As many of the invitees had never met before, all wore white so they could easily recognize each other at the meeting place.  This was more than an everyday potluck—they also brought their own china, silver, folding tables and chairs, linens, and even candles.

Pasquier led them to the Bois de Boulogne, a large Parisian municipal park, where they assembled their impromptu dinner party.  After relishing an evening of good food and company, they packed everything up and headed their separate ways, leaving no trace of the splendid occasion.

The dinner has grown to be an annual tradition across the world, with some gatherings numbering in the thousands.  It is not an open event; one must be sponsored by a previous attendee.  Eagerly-awaited invitations addressed to “Mr. and Ms. White” arrive in the mail in elegant script with detailed explanations of what to wear (strictly white, even the shoes), what to bring (a three-course meal; good wine and champagne; their finest china and linens; tables, chairs, candles, etc.), and when to meet (usually no earlier than 8pm).

Only a general central meeting spot is provided; once everyone has assembled, the group is then led to the actual location, where the guests set up their “chic picnic” for the evening.  In some locales, guests receive their invitations via e-mail a few weeks preceding the event but do not receive directions to the actual location until just an hour beforehand, and sometimes less than that.  

Once the area has been set up, the attendees eat, mingle and dance, hoisting thousands of sparklers in celebration toward the sky at exactly 11pm.  By the stroke of midnight, the guests have packed up and vanished into the night, always taking care to leave the area in better shape than they found it. 

The Eighth Circuit’s Dîner in Blanc

Our local Dîner en Blanc stays true to the theme of the original event and omits the many logistical requirements of the worldwide annual gatherings such as an 8pm-midnight timeframe, the requirement to be sponsored by a previous attendee, the need to bring your own food, tables, chairs, linens, and so on.   

In keeping with the spirit of Le Dîner en Blanc, all that’s required is a willingness to wear white and to wait to learn the location until shortly before the event.

The original dinner required formal head-to-toe white and refused admission to anyone sporting a hint of color.  Not so for our own event.  White, off-white, cream, beige, ecru, light gray, silver—all shades of white are welcome and will look great.

The annual gatherings also reveal the venue just a couple of hours, and in some cities as little as ten minutes, before the party begins.  Again, not so for our own event.  The dinner is Thursday, May 30th, and you’ll receive an e-mail on May 29th with the location name and address.  Our “chic picnic” is in Gainesville and easy to get to.  It’s ADA-accessible and has plenty of parking. 

Rejoignez-nous pour notre dîner en blanc—Join us for our Dinner in White.  Just click here to register.  

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Office: 352-380-0333 

Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association, Inc.
PO Box 140893 Gainesville, FL 32614

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