By Erin Morrissey
Dîner en Blanc, a chic picnic event hosted in over 70 cities worldwide, made its Ottawa debut last Thursday, August 11, at Ottawa City Hall. This evening of elegance is an invite-only affair in which guests dress head-to-toe in white and meet at a secret venue to dine in style.
A volunteer-driven event, Dîner en Blanc Ottawa was organized by hosts Lauren Hayes-Van den Weghe, Jessica Tan, and Benoit-Pierre Stock. “It’s exciting to bring food, wine, and culture to Ottawa in an exciting way,” said Hayes-Van den Weghe. She explained that the invitations were sent in three phases:
- The first round went to people in the hosts’ personal network.
- Invitees from Phase 1 sent the next wave of invitations.
- Finally, invitations were extended to those who had signed up to a waiting list through the event website.
The soirée started with guests gathering at various departure locations, awaiting the reveal of the secret venue. Once announced, they walked or were transported to city hall, picnic materials in tow. Attendees were instructed to bring not only a basket containing a gourmet meal but also tableware, folding tables, and all-white chairs, table linens, and cloth napkins (which were later used for the Dîner en Blanc tradition of napkin twirling to signal the start of dinner).