On Wednesday, June 4th, the Williams-Sonoma inside the Hyatt at the Bellevue served as the backdrop for the annual Dîner en Blanc Preview Party. Over 300 guests arrived to catch a sneak peek of the famous “all-in-white picnic” that will be held later this summer. Not only were the many sponsors available to showcase their goods and services, there was a table decorating contest to help inspire guests. All of the eleven entrants decorated the tables to the theme of “Iconic Philadelphia,” and no table was without the special details. The tables were filled with many things Philadelphia, such as LOVE-iced cookies, cheesesteaks, Tastykakes, local brews, and the Liberty Bell. Linens and the presentations were just as beautiful, and the meals placed on the tables were a fantastic touch!
DiBruno Brothers set the culinary scene with their fruit and cheese boards and Garces Catering provided a panna cotta dessert as the perfect sweet ending. The menus for Dîner en Blanc were also displayed for those who prefer to order meals prepared by a talented chef rather than making their own! Chef Tod Wentz, of Townsend Restaurant, served a summer pasta with peas, asparagus, and bacon, and Lillet offered thirst-quenching French-inspired cocktails. Duke & Winston designed the fabulous #debphl14 shirts worn by volunteers and representatives from Arway Linens, Uber Philly, Touché Accessories, France Magazine and Sofitel Philadelphia were also available to help guests make the experience a night they wouldn’t forget! Guests were able to purchase elegant fascinators and jewelry from Touché Accessories, a French-inspired store in the Plaza at King of Prussia. The Sofitel will hold the after party as in previous years, and guests are encouraged to stay the night or take Uber for their final destination.
The party was in full swing with beats by DJ Bruce, and guests met old friends from past Dîner en Blancs and made new ones. All were anxiously waiting for the date to be unveiled and soon learned that it will be Thursday, August 21st! The winners of the contest were also revealed. Congratulations to Marie Fritz for Judges’ Choice and Christine Fritsky for People’s Choice! The crowd, some dressed in elegant white attire, was able to ask volunteers questions related to the event. The most popular question? How do I get an invite?
A special thank you to Brenda and Jeff and the entire staff at Williams-Sonoma at the Bellevue and the Dîner en Blanc volunteers for making the event such a success. Many thanks to those who attended, participated in the table decorating contest, and judged the event!
Excited to see everyone on August 21st! Invitations start going out early July!
Our Esteemed Judges:
Jade Barnes, Marketing, Shops at Liberty Place
Tom Hawthorn, Visual designer for Shops at Liberty Place
Delilah Winder, Restaurateur and Author
Melissa Bartley, Field Visual Director, terrain
Jennifer Jones, Store Visual manager, terrain
Brian Cawley, Visual Director, Lord & Taylor
Below are the eleven entrants to the table decorating contest, and each described their inspiration:
Table 1: Mirka Cortes and Gabriella Nemati, Nature’s Gallery Florist
Their design was inspired by many of Philadelphia’s iconic fountains. Displayed was a 18”x24” sign with colored photos of some of Philadelphia fountains.The florals, created by Gabriela, contained different hues of blues to resemble the color of water. Various types of succulents, blue hydrangea’s and dusty millers depicted a flowing fountain. Linen provided by Total Table reminded them of water bubbles. Finally, the wine glasses and basket napkin had images of iconic Philadelphia buildings.
How could you not resist a bottle of champagne chilling on peonies? Donna was inspired by the romance and elegance of Dîner en Blanc.
Table 3: Laura Eaton, Soiree Philadelphia, and Kristina Erfe Pines, Daily Ampersand
To highlight the “Iconic Philadelphia” theme, Laura and Kristina illuminated LOVE letters under a glass cloche, surrounded by a bucolic arrangement of flowers.
The table’s main eye-catcher was the replica of City Hall, and the elegant linens and flatware.
Table 5: Sue Anne and Anne Clark
The theme of “Iconic Philadephia” can be seen by many elements of this table. Sue Anne and her daughter, Anne, covered the table with an Army/Navy linen and lace tablecloth, and topped it with a fabulous centerpiece adorned with landmark ornaments such as the Philadelphia Zoo
, Philadelphia Museum of Art
and Water Works
, and the Betsy Ross Museum
. The red roses and white orchids signify the connection that Philadelphia is known for, “The City of Brotherly Love.” Chairs were draped with embroidered Madame and Monsieur, and also hung the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall ornament.
The inspiration for this table was derived from the simple elegance of French culture. The color palette, flower choices, and culinary items were chosen to set an intimate ambience for what we believe is the essence of Dîner en Blanc.
This table honors the elegance of Grace Kelly and the romance of an afternoon picnic. It was inspired by the “picnic scene” in the 1955 film, To Catch A Thief. Grace Kelly gazes out over the sun drenched Cote D’Azur, with arms stretched wide, sitting next to Cary Grant in a light blue Alpine Sports Roadster. She exclaims “Have you ever seen any place in the world more beautiful?”
Philadelphia is known for its vibrant dining and bar scene within all of its neighborhoods. Vintage postcards, and a platter of cannolis, soft pretzels, and Dibruno accoutrements added the final touch.
Table 9: Christine Schadow Fritsky (PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNER)
The main inspiration for the table was the Philadelphia Flower Show
, and what its abstract take on Benjamin Franklin discovering electricity might be. The “cloud” of orchids, the “lightning” provided by the candles, the table functioning as the “kite”, and the streamers of flowers acting as the “string” to the key, leading to the explosion of illumination provided by the “uplighting” under the table. The already beautiful bottle of Perrier –Jouet was “bedazzled” with individual Swarovski crystals (a nod to Jeweler’s Row). Christine was also the winner of the “Most Elegant Table” prize at the first Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia in 2012!
The inspiration behind this table are all the things Marsha loves about Philadelphia. The Eagles (her napkin holders),
Phillies (red macaroons), pretzels and of course the Liberty Bell (cookie plate).
Table 11: Marie Fritz, Twitter @Slaintemaith (JUDGES’ CHOICE WINNER)
The winning table showcased the theme of Philadelphia icons, and Marie chose her favorites. She chose the ones she loved and could weave around her own theme. She wanted her table to be elegant so her idea was Love Park – lots of desserts and a smidgen of protein in the form of cheesesteaks. The table had the Philly food icons of Tastykakes, Philly Cream Cheese, Philly-themed chocolates by Marcie Blaine and Philly cheesesteaks. Her main love however, is the Philadelphia Flower Show. She has been a member for years and since Drew Becher has taken the show to new levels since he became president, she also thought of doing some sort of small “garden” featuring other Philly icons which incidentally, just happened to win an “award.” From Drew Becher. One can dream, can’t they?
The Dîner en Blanc Preview Party Slideshow!