Scenes from Le Diner En Blanc

Of course I had read about Le Diner En Blanc before—and the pictures were cool—but never once had I given any thought to getting invited or going. But then I got a media pass for the third DC dinner this past Saturday at Henry Bacon Park in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, so how could I pass it up?

Urban Stems sold white-rose centerpieces to diners, and Nate Shubert was waiting with a table of them before the guests arrived.

Urban Stems sold white-rose centerpieces to diners, and Nate Schubert was waiting with a table of them before the guests arrived.

I was a little nervous, having just read in the paper that morning that everyone hates the dinner and that it’s waaay too pretentious and obnoxious, what with some 20,000 people on its waiting list while 3,500 dine for show in a public space that gets closed off to the public. But among those who got the tickets, my husband Jim and I didn’t find pretention so much as  just a lot of happy people—and an incredibly diverse group of happy people, at that.

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arrival

Everyone I approached had a huge smile on their face, even as they were schlepping their tables and food. Now, I know being among an extremely select few would put a smile on your face, too, but the mood was contagious—and the style and creativity in both fashion and table design was impressive to say the least:

Jennie Raff and Sher Mathew, both of DC, display their beautiful tablescape.

Jennie Raff and Sher Mathew, both of DC, display their beautiful tablescape.

 

Nicole Allard came up from Raleigh, NC, and brought a centerpiece that combined flowers and a fishbowl—containing white fish, of course.

Nicole Allard came up from Raleigh, NC, and brought a centerpiece that combined flowers and a fishbowl—containing white fish, of course.

 

Jacqueline Battistini, left, and Heidi Minora, both of DC, were here for their third dinner. Each year they dress up in a different theme, Minora told me. This year was an avant-garde channeling of "Welcome to the Dollhouse."

Jacqueline Battistini, left, and Heidi Minora, both of DC, were here for their third dinner. Each year they dress up in a different theme, Minora told me. This year was an avant-garde channeling of “Welcome to the Dollhouse.”

 

Friends Morgan Walker, left, of Baltimore and Kristin Johnson of Philadelphia brought a photo of themselves at a formal event last year to help dress their beautiful table.

Friends Morgan Walker, left, of Baltimore and Kristin Johnson of Philadelphia brought a photo of themselves at a formal event last year to help dress their beautiful table.

 

Tyra Thomas of Columbia was totally brining it, right up to that chic white wig!

Tyra Thomas of Columbia was totally bringing it, right up to that chic white wig!

 

I ran into a guy I've met at other events around town—Troy Petenbrink (far right), of The Gay Traveler. He was there to dine with friends (from left) Chris Jennings, Barnette Holston of the blog DC Fashion Fool, and Adrian Fair. Adrian lives in Rosslyn and the rest live in DC.

I ran into a guy I’ve met at other events around town—Troy Petenbrink (far right) of The Gay Traveler blog. He was there to dine with friends (from left) Chris Jennings, Barnette Holston of the blog DC Fashion Fool, and Adrian Fair. Adrian lives in Rosslyn and the rest live in DC.

 

Kas Flanagan, a fashion designer here in DC, poses with his girlfriend, Keisha Jones of DC.

Kas Flanagan, a fashion designer here in DC, poses with his girlfriend, Keisha Jones of Bowie.

 

An adorable table all around, from the roses and cheese plate, to the first initials of each diner placed in each bowl, to the friends themselves: From left, Diego Gonzalez of DC; Julien Garman of Purcelville, Alicia Chew of Arlington, and Justin McCown of DC.

An adorable table all around, from the roses and cheese plate to the first initials of the diners at each place setting, to the friends themselves: From left, Diego Gonzalez of DC; Julien Garman of Purcelville, Alicia Chew of Arlington, and Justin McCown of DC.

 

One of my favorite outfits of the evening, on Camilla Bache-Mathiesen of DC, who has a blog called Purpose & Pepper.

One of my favorite outfits of the evening, on Camilla Bache-Mathiesen of DC, who has a blog called Purpose & Pepper.

 

Now my favorite place setting: a tinsel chandelier over the table of Nick and Marylou Rivera, front, of Alexandria; and David and Deanna Weise of Tysons Corner.

Now my favorite place setting: a tinsel chandelier over the table of Nick and Marylou Rivera, front, of Alexandria; and David and Deanna Weise of Tysons Corner.

 

Once everyone was set up and at dinner, we all noticed a drone flying overhead, a big no-no for the federal air space we were all under.

Soon thereafter, we saw some burly law enforcement officers marching through the crowd, where they quickly found the drone operator and shut him down.

Soon thereafter, we saw some burly law enforcement officers marching through the crowd, where they quickly found the drone operator and shut him down.

 

While that was going on, I caught my husband, Jim Sergent, who was helping me take pictures. He’s in charge of photos and graphics for the USA Today website, so he has a good eye!

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Once it got dark, things got magical as organizers handed out sparklers to the crowd, and the music got started.

Sparklers

 

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I’ll leave it at that for this year. I don’t normally cover parties per se, but this one, right in the heart of DC’s monuments, for sure met the bar for “DC by Design.” Have a great week, everyone.

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Comments

  1. Jennifer Sergent says:

    Thanks Laetitia, hope to see you next year 🙂

  2. Glad you had a good time. This is one of my favourite event in the city every year. Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate 😉