This guest post is by the wonderful and stylish Jessie Holeva who writes over at TrendHungry.com. Check her out on Instagram + Twitter + Facebook This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, Jessie will receive financial … Continue reading
- Less is More Sure, the past winners of Dîner en Blanc’s Most Elegant Table competition have gone above and beyond when it comes to table settings. But for most of us… We’re doing our best to haul our tables, chairs, eats, and drinks without spilling anything on our white frocks! With maximum 32×32 inches of space to work with, consider the concept “Less is More.”Instead of loading your table with different serving dishes, why not use your vertical space to hold your meal and dessert like this resourceful duo did?
Your meal is just one small portion of your evening, so pack light and save yourself some energy for dancing!
- ABC: Always Be
ClosingCharging Let’s face it, you’re gonna want to be snapping photos, texting your friends, taking videos, Instagramming, and TinderingTweeting all night.
- Tote-ally About the Totes Sure, they look like your friends. But you just try wheeling your roller cart through the turn-style on one of Philly’s subway lines (or don’t, trust us.) Totes are your friend.
Really, anything that you can carry on your back and arms is going to serve you well come August 20th, 2015 Remember: Less is More!
And just keep in mind, you’ll eat and drink your food and beverage, making it that much lighter on the way home!
- It’s a Marathon, Not A Sprint
Keep in mind, the night has only just begun when you sit down for dinner. Sure, there’s dessert. There’s also exploring, dancing, and finding all your friends to snap photos with (see Point 2). Don’t burn out too early! We recommend: –Flats for the ladies – if you choose to wear heels, sneak some white Solemates in your purse! –Leave your headquarters – Once you’ve eaten, take some time stroll around and explore. As is the case every year, the DEBPHL team has lots of surprises up their sleeves, and we want you to see them all! –HYDRATE! And not just with wine. Bring water. Drink water. Be happy .
- Trash Bags are NOT Trashy
Take however many trash bags you think you need. Add 1-2 more. White trash bags are ubiquitous at Dîner en Blanc. They can be used for everything from the typical (trash!) to the less typical: –Insulation for your glass or porcelain -Way to keep dirty dishes and linens separate -Last minute rain coverage for your hair or outfit
–Really, really cheap purseJust use your imagination. But also: use your trash bags! In order to keep this event going year after year, the picnic participants do a great job of leaving the space the way we left it.
- Expect the Unexpected
It’s a giant party in Philadelphia where everyone is wearing white. Murphy’s Law will be in full effect. You’re gonna see spills (hazards of red wine!). You’re gonna burn your table cloth with your sparkler. A button could break, or a zipper. It might rain. Do your best to be prepared for anything:
-Bring binder clips to hold down your table cloth on a windy night.
-Keep your candles in a hurricane glass in order to avoid blow outs.
-Stemless wine glasses are a great way to minimize spills.
-Pack a small “DEB Emergency Kit”: Contents: Tide-to-go Pen, safety pins, bandaids, gum/mints (we have had a handful of love connections made at DEBs in the past, better be ready!)
–Poncho and umbrella: Best way to ensure that it will NOT rain? Every single person bringing clear or white ponchos and umbrellas. Seriously, works like a charm.
This list is not exhaustive. HOWEVER, we’d love to hear your best tips and tricks for this magical evening! Comment here, OR Tweet @DEBphl with your #DeBHacks to be featured on this blog post!!
Dîner en Blanc is all about tradition. From the napkin wave to the sparklers to the the secret location and the dress code, we love our customs. One of our very favorites, however, is the announcement of the picnic’s date at our annual Preview Party. In the past, we’ve hosted it at Williams-Sonoma to great fanfare. This year, though, with the growth of the picnic, we also had to allow our Preview Party some space to grow. And grow it did.
Thankfully, we managed to snag the perfect spot at South Street Headhouse District’s beautiful Shambles, which made the ideal open-aired backdrop to a festive evening on June 9th celebrating Philadelphia’s iconic neighborhoods through our annual table decorating contest, the incredible caterers for this year, and, of course, the vendors and entertainment Dîner en Blanc so very magical!
DJ Sean Smoove kept the tunes going all evening as guests were treated to an evening of tasty treats and magical table settings. Our wonderful caterers for the evening included Garces Events, Luke Palladino Catering, and a wonderful spread from Di Bruno Brothers.
We were also treated to some adult beverages courtesy of DEB sponsor Apothic Wines.
Our main event, of course, was the annual table decorating contest and this year, the competition was fierce. So fierce, in fact, that we had to bring judges in from all walks of life (and industry): Anuj Gupta from Reading Terminal Market, artist and fashion maven Denise Fike, Gregory Augustine from August Interiors, Sheena Lester, Arts and Culture editor from Philadelphia Weekly, and Tom Hawthorn from The Shops at Liberty Place.
With the theme of Iconic Philadelphia Neighborhoods, the teams really went all out.
But the Judge’s Choice went to Nadine Louw and Lianna Liss from Flowers & Co., who brought Northern Liberties to life through their creative table setting.
We would like to thank our generous donors for their contributions to our winners:
- Garces Catering
- Barnes Foundation
- Di Bruno Brothers
- P’unk Burger
- Scout Salvage
- Luna Cafe
- Le Pain Quotidien
- Omoi Zakka
- Little Spoon Cafe
- Elle Lauri
- Aoki Boutique
- The Pickled Heron
- Tela’s Market
- London Grill/Paris Wine Bar
- Philadelphia Brewing Co.
- Cafe La Maude
- Open House
We wouldn’t be able to keep this epic contest going without each of them, and appreciate their support more than words can describe!
To everyone who came out, hope you were able to enjoy a little taste (literally) of what’s to come August 20th. Don’t worry, we’ve got more surprises up our sleeves, so keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter, and get excited for Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia 2015!
A few notes of thanks…
The Quest for the Location, the City of Philadelphia and Avenue of the Arts, Inc
The end of our third Dîner en Blanc “season” has passed and a very, very long list of thank you’s is once again in order.
First and foremost, we have to thank the City of Philadelphia for embracing Dîner en Blanc. Not only for allowing such an amazing event to take place on the Avenue of the Arts, but for working with us over a period of four months to ensure that it was executed safely and with all of the necessary and proper supports. Specifically, we must thank: Margaret Hughes, Bob Allen and the Managing Director’s Office Special Events.
The plan for this year’s location was grand and ambitious. The seeds for the idea were first planted when we attended the Avenue of the Arts 20th Anniversary celebration last October. We listened as numerous speakers recounted what Broad Street was like 20 years ago- how it was devoid of business and lacked pedestrian activity. We left that event, crossed on to Broad to return home, and marveled at the amazing place the “Avenue of the Arts” had become 20 years later. We were also aware of the 50th anniversary of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet and the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Opera Company of Philadelphia and believed the time was right to really celebrate all the “arts” that make the Avenue of the Arts so special. We also looked at the magnificent architecture that lined many blocks of this street and couldn’t wait to show off the Union League, the Academy of Music, The Kimmel Center, the Bellevue, and of course, City Hall, to thousands of people seated before them. Always looking for a nod to our event’s French heritage, we also knew that the City of Lyon, France was credited for the inspiration for the lighting displays that had adorned the buildings of South Broad street since 2008.
The vision for our celebration of this beautiful location, of course, could not have been possible without the support of Avenue of the Arts, Inc. We first met with Paul Biedemann, President and CEO of the council, in May. It only took a brief explanation of our vision and a few pictures of previous DEB events to prove to him this would be a great thing for the Avenue. In the months between our first meeting and the event, we carefully monitored the upcoming events on the Avenue (noting there were no performances scheduled for that night at the Kimmel Center, the Academy of Music, the Wilma Theater or the Merriam Theatre) and outlined a plan to notify businesses affected in the area. At all times the best interest of the businesses affected was the top priority of Paul and Avenue of the Arts, Inc.
Always at the center of our plan was the opportunity to highlight the rich arts and cultural heritage of the Avenue. We wanted this to be unmistakably clear as diners entered Broad Street from all directions. On the steps of the Academy of Music we had members of The Philadelphia Dance Academy Performance Ensemble: Megan Butler, Sabrina Faith, Jennifer Lameo and Megan Quinn. At the corner of Broad and Spruce we had Anthony Riley singing the Sounds of Philadelphia in a nod to Gamble and Huff. Along the Avenue we had roaming musicians and performers including: magician Justin Relkin, guitarist Todd Pritchard, altoist David Puryear, and members of Hot Club Philly: Barry Wahrhaftig, Phyliss Chapell and Rick Shyrock. In the middle of the street median we had Santiago Galeas, a painter and student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, painting the scene at the corner of Locust-one of the most popular corners for brides and grooms to pose long Broad street. Outside of the Union League, the Polish American String band posed for pictures before marching south on Broad Street, leading the napkin wave with the sounds that traditionally fill the street on New Year’s Day.
Throughout the evening, guests listened to music that celebrated Philadelphia’s rich music history, including Jill Scott, Hall and Oats, Patti LaBelle, and Boys II Men. We celebrated the jazz and soul of the city with live performances from Ernest Stuart and members of The Sermon!, as well as Eastwick Commandoes Drum Corps. DJ Bruce, with his booth framed by the iconic LOVE sign (thank you Maggpie Vintage rental), played tunes until the evening concluded with the sound of Will Smith’s “Summertime” and the launch of confetti canons reminiscent of ticker-tape parades that have graced the Avenue during so many sports celebrations before it.
All of this talent, as well as production, could not have been possible without Brian and Brendan of Mole Street, Adam Spivak, Bauder Sound, and Light Action Productions. They provided the nuts and bolts (and light bulbs and speakers!) which helped a vision and dream become a reality. Brian and Brendan have been great partners for the past three DEBs, and they always bring an amazing enthusiasm and creativity to the table. Adam appeared like a fairy godmother in our inbox one day, and he waved his magic fairy wand and helped us transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Thank you, thank you!
Read on for Part II
A few notes of thanks…
A very special thank you must go to Kory Aversa of Aversa PR and Events. This year, more so than even the first and second years, Kory truly felt part of the planning team. Not only did he attend a team planning meeting, the Preview Party and help round up talent for the Pop-up Shop, but we take full credit for the degree in “crisis management” he earned while representing us this summer. Kory has always gone above and beyond what was necessary to communicate the facts of the situation and underscore the true mission of our event. We also can’t thank his staff enough for their support leading up to the event (love those countdown pictures, Lauryn) and their execution at the event: Lauryn Resotka, Gabbi Townsend, Eri Washington and Dashiell Sears.
No amount of thank you’s could possibly be said to the 100 plus volunteers (group leaders, table hosts and on-site volunteers ) who supported our event this year. We absolutely cannot do this event without them. We must also specially thank our 7 member planning team who worked with us from April until August to brainstorm, create, and execute hundreds of ideas from the LOVE sign to seating charts, from hashtags to responding to tweets, from printing signs to measuring spaces in the dark at 5 am. Jennifer, Juli, LeeAnne, Mirka, Neil, Sabina, and Sydney: thank you for enduring so many hours of long conversations with nothing to eat but Swedish Fish and Peanut M&M’s. You are both the wheels and the fuel that makes DEB possible.
Which leads us to… THE EVENT
Thank you again to everyone at the City of Philadelphia and Avenue of the Arts, Inc. for their support and hard work leading up to the event and the day of the event.
– To those at the Kimmel Center, especially Casey and Dave, thank you for helping us weather those few last minute problems 🙂
– For the third year in a row, thank you to Garces Catering for offering three gourmet meals to guests. Thank you Nick, Beth, and Adam for the many conversations, long hours, last minute requests, etc.
– Thank you to DiBruno Bros and Amy for another year of deliciosio cheese and charcuterie platters. While many of the guests prefer to shop at one of your stores, there were plenty who loved the convenience of your catering options
– Thank you to the beautiful and creative Dom Streater for designing our dresses. We had so much fun during all stages of the process – viewing the sketches, selecting the fabric, the fittings, and the final unveiling. Thank you for your time, your talents, and your enthusiasm!
– Thank you Lillet for keeping the media refreshed throughout the evening and participating in the pre-DEB events
– Thank you to Petit Jardin en Ville for adding color to the en blanc ensemble with your gorgeous flower arrangements
– To our friends at Arway Linens for the endless supply of white linens
– Our favorite printer, Mike Browne at Next Century Printing: printed words are not enough to express our thanks!
– A special thank you to Meghan McGarrigle and the staff of Philly in Focus for their beautiful video from this year’s event
– Roland Sotello for the beautiful white car parked in front of the Kimmel Center
– Thank you to Javier Arceo at A2 Strategies for working with us to source the amazing insulated white tote bags and this year’s #DEBPHL14 wristbands
– Thank you to The Modern Photobooth and Premium Entertainment and NJ Photo Booth Rentals for helping guests capture those picture perfect moments
– To our photographers: Johanna AustinArt, HughE. Dillon, Charles Mostoller Photography, Alessandra Nicole Photography, and Inna Race Photography. Thank you for the being in the right spot at the right time and creating those visual memories of the many moments of the evening.
– To the “Most Elegant” Contest Judges: Jeffrey Acker, Conni Alexandrian McDonnell, Carolee Cook, Ian Michael Crumm, Courtney Lapresi, Brenda Oliver-Morgan, Penny Ordway, Nicole Paloux, Sabir Peele and Vincent Vienne. Thank you for your time and helping spread the elegance that evening.
– Thank you to our “Most Elegant” Contest Sponsors: Williams-Sonoma at the Bellevue, Philadelphia, Sofitel Philadelphia, Townsend Restaurant, Eviama Life Spa, Duke & Winston, France Magazine, Touché Accessories
– A special thank you to Sofitel Philadelphia, Vincent Vienne, General Manager, and his Staff for hosting the amazing after-party
And, of course, none of DEB would be possible with the advice and support of Dîner en Blanc International and Aymeric Pasquier, Sandy Safi, Jessica Dorval and Annie Moonien
Read on to learn more about the activities leading up to the final day… Part III
A few notes of thanks…
The success of Dîner en Blanc would not be the same without the numerous events and activities that go into promoting it throughout the “DEB Season.” Photos from these events can be found on Susan Scovill’s website who graciously covered the events listed below:
Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia Preview Party:
On June 4th we kicked things off with a Preview Party at Williams-Sonoma at the Bellevue that featured the table decorating contest theme, “Iconic Philadelphia”. Thank you to the contestants: Gabriella Nemati (Natures Gallery Florist) and Mirka Cortes; Tanti Lina from Papertini Floral and Event Design; Laura Eaton from Soiree Philadelphia and Kristina Erfe Pines of Daily Ampersand ; Claudia and Vincent Roux from Petit Jardin en Ville; Marie Fritz; Marsha Flowers from Marsha Flowers Events; Christine Schadow Fritsky; Michael Haschak from Pure Design; Sue Anne Clark and Anne Clark; John Kevin Gallagher of John Kevin Gallagher Event Decorator; and Donna O’Brien of Beautiful Blooms. Thank you to our judges: Jade Barnes, Marketing, Shops at Liberty Place; Tom Hawthorn, Visual designer for Shops at Liberty Plac; Delilah Winder, Restaurateur and Author; Melissa Bartley, Field Visual Director, terrain; Jennifer Jones, Store Visual manager, terrain; and Brian Cawley, Visual Director, Lord & Taylor.
Thank you to Jill Scarlett, Tom Hawthorn and the Shops at Liberty place for once again featuring the beautiful winning table (Marie Fritz) in their display window.
A special thank you to Tod Wentz of Townsend restaurant, Seun Olubodun of Duke & Winston, Lillet, Garces Catering, DiBruno Bros., Arway Linens; Touche Accessories, DJ Bruce and Mole Street; France Magazine, and Uber Philly for your participation. And we cannot forget the amazing Jeff and Brenda and the entire staff of Williams-Sonoma at the Bellevue for hosting this event and the Pop-Up Shop.
French Garden Party at Terrain:
On July 9th we celebrated Bastille Day with a French Garden Party at terrain in Glen Mills. Every detail was picture-perfect thanks to the staff at terrain, including Diane Stulb and Susan Schu; Susan Hutchinson from Fleurishing; Marie Fritz; Petit Jardin en Ville; the Philadelphia Pétanque Club; Philippe Desjardins; and samplings from Jessica Mogardo, Classic Cake and St. Germain.
Philly Style Party:
With a “Midnight in Paris” theme, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to participate in Philadelphia Style Magazine’s 10th Annual “Best of Style” party at the Kimmel Center on July 17th. Three absolutely beautiful Diner en Blanc tables reflecting the Midnight in Paris theme were created by Sary Em of Home, Marie Fritz, and Claudia and Vincent Roux of Petit Jardin en Ville– thank you all for your time, creativity and attention to detail! Thank you also to Heather Harad of Arway Linens for providing the linens for these tables. Thank you to Kristin Detterline and Nichole Maurer for making our participation in this great event possible.
The Pop-Up Shop at Williams-Sonoma on August 6th:
Each year we host a Pop-Up shop at Williams-Sonoma where DEB participants can purchase items for the big event. This year we focused on supporting Philadelphia businesses and invited many retailers, artisans and local etsy-crafters to participate. The result was an amazing assortment of handmade pottery, jewelry, hats and fascinators, vintage linens and housewares. Our vendors included: Beatrice Ryan Millinery; Adorned by Aisha; Simply Devine; Life of Tie; Arway Linens; Touche Accessories; Milica in the Hat Millenary; The Green Goldfish Gallery; Philadelphia Independents; Vagabond Ceramics; Cuttalossa; and Hats in the Belfry. All the vendors can be found in our Shop Local board on Pinterest.
A special thank you to Jennifer Schick who recruited many of her vendors from Phair to participate and to Michele Haines and DiBruno Bros for sampling their amazing baked goods and cheese boards during the event.
Throughout the summer we featured a “Guest Blogger” series designed to address all things Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia. Thank you to all of our guest contributors: Jade Barnes, Emily Tharp, Denine Gorniak, Katie Griffin, Gordana Kostovski, Ian Michael Crumm; Marie Fritz, Thank you also for the recipes provided by Kevin Sbraga, Jarret Meyers, Barbara Maletsky and Lari Robling. A very special thank you to our fabulous planning team member, Jennifer Manosca, for posting these to our site.
And, finally, to everyone else, from past guests who had their own “diner” with their newborn in the NICU to those who dined elsewhere, thank you for helping us highlight the value of enjoying a great meal in a public space in Philadelphia with friends old and new. It does not take more than a table or a blanket, a good meal and a few friends, to celebrate all this City has to offer.
Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia invited attendees to participate in a guest blogger series dedicated to all their favorite topics related to DEB. Our second blogger, is Emily Tharp. Emily is the blogger behind Her Philly, a lifestyle blog for young women living in … Continue reading
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:
Below are the eleven entrants to the table decorating contest, and each described their inspiration:
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.
To highlight the “Iconic Philadelphia” theme, Laura and Kristina illuminated LOVE letters under a glass cloche, surrounded by a bucolic arrangement of flowers.
As we planned this year’s Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia, people often remarked that the second time must be easy to plan “since you’ve already done it once.” Oh, how we wished that was true! We certainly knew a bit more on what to expect (we didn’t have to explain the concept nearly as much!) but an event that doubles in size pretty much doubles in work. So, as you may imagine, the number of people we have to thank this year has doubled as well!
Firstly, we thank the 2,500 participants who participated in this year’s event. We thank you for your passion, enthusiasm, and elegance. Together you form a community that truly makes Dîner en Blanc such a special and unique event in the City of Philadelphia.
We also wish to thank the many, many people who played a role behind-the-scenes in making the 2013 Dîner en Blanc in Philadelphia a tremendous success:
Our Amazing Volunteers
We surprise people when we mention that Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia is an entirely volunteer-run organization, from the co-hosts to the group leaders, table hosts and on-site coordinators. This event was planned and executed by individuals who are committed to bringing a unique and special event to the City of Philadelphia. Group leaders met for months plotting departure point logistics and outlining “Most Elegant” contests while Table Hosts manned white tables at PIFA, prepared displays for MyPHL and FOX in the wee hours of the morning, and posed for teaser shots at Clark Park. Each person did so with a passion and enthusiasm that knew no limits.
Communicating with 2,500 people for a month and then safely leading them to a secret location on the event day is no small feat. Our volunteers did everything from leading hundreds of people on Septa to chalking sidewalks, from zip tying signs to picking up trash, and we cannot thank our volunteers enough. When registration glitches beyond our control caused some guests to doubt, we welcomed the opportunity to show off our amazing team and we truly believe they delivered on August 22nd. Thank you to our 8 group leaders, 48 table hosts and 9 on-site coordinators:
8 Group Leaders: Kathy Gold, Megan Koehler, LeeAnne Mullins, Sabina Nicola, Thomas Price, Pierre Rives, Neil Stein and Julianne Walsh
58 Table Hosts and On-Site Volunteers: Maria Alpizar, Erica Atwood, Karen Baldry, Katie Borda, Lori Brennan, Gina Cabell, Michael Castillo, Kaitlin Devine, Sandra Donahue, Melanie Donofrio, Olivia Dreibelbis, Zac Ernst, Ashley Lauren Farnschlader, Allison Fox, Marie Fritz, Isabelle Gallicchio, Toni Gonzalez, Amelia Gorman, Mischa Greenberg, Katie Griffin, Kendall Halpern, Kat Hinkel, Carl Hunter, Sharon Johnson, Maggie Juliano, Matt Kane, Clayton LeHotan, Erica Lester, Morgan Loewith, Stormy Lundy, Chris Lupone, Norah Maxwell, Jarret Meyers, Amy Miller, Jessica Mogardo, Brian Moran, Jessica Morlock, Rachele Nicola, Sandra O’Connor, Sessalli Obasuyi, Leslie Parker, Samantha Parkes, Amanda Parlett, Brian Pedrazzani, Pat Ritter, Aubree Snader, Chloe Snyder, Rachel Starzmann, Lois & Harvey Stick, Shawn Truppo, Donna & Errett Vielehr, Lindsey Walker, Lauren Wallick, Dara Warren, Matt Westiner and Monika Zubrycka
The City of Philadelphia
As we have seen other DEB cities struggle to use public space or to work with their city officials, we are reminded again and again of how fortunate we are to be planning this event in the City of Philadelphia. Mayor Michael Nutter and his entire administration are truly committed to making Philadelphia a world class city where great things happen. In particular, we thank the Office of the City Representative, Managing Director’s Office, Streets Department, Philadelphia Police Department & Philadelphia Fire Department. Special thanks to Jazelle Jones, Mechelle Sabb, & Robert Allen in the Managing Director’s Office who helped us orchestrate city services for the event, from street closures to police to sanitation services.
A special thank you to the many organizations whose hard work goes into making the area we used- the JFK Bridge at 30th Street Station- so magical and well preserved. In particular, we thank:
- Cira Centre- Brandywine Realty Trust
- Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC) & Friends of the Schuylkill Banks (FOSB)
- University City District
Kory Aversa, Aversa PR & Events
We cannot thank Kory enough for his amazing hard work and his endless promotion of our event. He lived and breathed our event for the whole year in between our two events and we benefited greatly. Anyone who has hired Kory knows he always looks for ways to increase the visibility of his clients. Dîner en Blanc was no exception. We can’t thank him enough for his passion and enthusiasm and the many, many amazing people with whom we have had the opportunity to meet as a result of Kory’s hard work.
A special thank you to Dana Sclafani and the entire staff of Aversa PR & Events for their efforts in the media area at the event. In addition to contacting and coordinating the press that day, they fielded countless questions form participants, collected numerous lost keys, hung lanterns and helped clean-up. We could not have done it without them- thank you, thank you!
Mole Street Productions, Carte Blanche & DJ Bruce
It was another great year working with Brendan Walsh and Brian LaPann of Mole Street Productions. They understand our vision and are always willing to go the extra step to make things happen for us. From finding a drum line the week before our event to assisting with sponsorships, they truly deliver a great service. Not only did they mobilize their great team to make our event sound amazing, but they also worked with the Sofitel Philadelphia to execute an amazing after party.
Our friend Nicole Paloux happened to mention Carte Blanche over lunch last fall and it just took one view of their website for us to know we had to have them at this year’s event. We quickly sent their info to Mole Street and they made it happen. Carte Blanche sounded incredible and looked positively beautiful against the backdrop of 30th Street Station. With every picture or snippet of video that features them, we have to pinch ourselves to believe the event really happened as we
envisioned it all of those months ago. We urge everyone to download their album so you can listen to them all year round!
We continue to receive rave reviews about DJ Bruce. Everyone was happy to see you return from last year’s DEB! From the Preview Party straight to the After Party, you continue to give Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia a sound that all of our participants can enjoy. Thank you, thank you.
Thank you to Beth Koenig, Adam Delosso, Jessica Mogardo and the entire team at Garces Catering for providing the Dîner en Blanc catered meals. We have heard amazing feedback and personally cannot stop raving about those cupcakes! Your food donations to our media lounge as well as your participation in our Preview Party and Pop-Up Shop were much appreciated. We are so glad you are part of our team!
A huge thank you to Bill Mignucci, President of DiBruno Brothers, for reaching out to us after our first DEB. Not only did he commend us on the 2012 event, but he enthusiastically declared that he wanted DiBruno Brothers to be involved in the next event. Since then DiBruno’s has been an amazing supporter and generously participated in our Preview Party and Pop-up Shops at Williams-Sonoma and donated to our media lounge. The cheese and charcuterie options that were available to our guests this year received great reviews (some of our friends still talk about them)! A special thank you to Keren Ini-Kates who joined the event in the middle of the planning and was such a pleasure to work with- she met every challenge with an enthusiastic “we’ll make it happen.”
To PamCakes and Galer Estate Winery for adding flavor and elegance to our Media Lounge. Thank you for your generous support, the scrumptious cupcakes, and wonderful wine.
To Sara Selepouchin Villari for her amazing drawing featured on our catering bags. You captured the many details of the event with the creative stroke of your pen. Thank you.
It stands to reason that an event with French roots should partner with a luxurious French hotel, n’est pas? We remain grateful to Vincent Vienne, General Manager of Sofitel Philadelphia, and his team for their hard work before and after the event. From sponsoring our Most Elegant woman contest and hosting Carte Blanche, to screening the WHYY Friday Arts piece and hosting both the 2012 and 2013 after parties, they have been an absolute dream to work with. Thank you!
To Jeffrey Acker and Brenda Oliver-Morgan at Williams-Sonoma at the Bellevue who once again proved to be incredible partners and tremendous supporters of Dîner en Blanc. Words cannot describe how much we adore you! We know of the many hours you spent hosting the amazing Preview Party and the Dîner en Blanc Pop-up Shop to procuring the Most Elegant prize from Williams-Sonoma, Inc. It is impossible to say thank you too many times for everything you have done. Thank you! We are already looking forward to collaborating and planning with you for 2014!
Photography & Videography
With the number of people attending this year– and the many perspectives of the space- we knew how important it was to capture each angle. We painstakingly thought about how the event should be documented and hired four immensely talented photographers: Johanna Austin, Sean Corbett, HughE Dillon and Al B For.
- Johanna Austin’s work is art personified. Her portfolio reflects her passion for performance and culture and all of her pictures for Dîner en Blanc this year exemplify this. We knew she was the perfect person to capture Carte Blanche and we can’t stop looking at her photos of 30th Street Station!
- Sean Corbett’s photographs always convey a mood and a feeling. You take one look and instantly know the entire energy of an event. We have been fortunate to have Sean telling the story of Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia from the very beginning. From teasers shots to picnic profiles and event pictures- he has given heart and soul to our event and we can’t thank him enough. Sean’s photographs represent all the moments we wanted to experience that evening but were too busy to witness in person.
- We are not alone in recognizing what a treasure HughE Dillon is in Philadelphia. His talent of telling the story of an event through word and pictures makes his PhillyChitChat column a must read after any party. We were so impressed by his photographs last year and we are very fortunate to be able to call him a friend in the year since. We thoroughly appreciate his work documenting and publishing the story of Dîner en Blanc for 2013.
- Al B. For’s pictures captivated us last year and we formally asked him to be part of the 2013 photography team. His photos capture elegance and this year certainly was no exception! Al B’s pictures demonstrate the beauty and style of our guests.
To Ed Seiders and the team of Branded Productions who filmed our official video this year. Each of us cried the first time we watched the video. It may have been tears of exhaustion from the event (since you gave us the video in less than a week!) but we’re pretty sure it was because you captured so many beautiful moments and paired them so perfectly with music. When we watched the video, we thought, “I wish I was there.” But, wait… we were there! Your video, though, made us wish we were everywhere you were (at Independence Hall, inside 30th Street Station, looking down on the site from Cira Centre, viewing the bridge lit up with sparklers). Thank you for preserving this memory for all of us so beautifully.
Most Elegant Contest Supporters
Elegance, style and grace are always on display at a Dîner en Blanc in any city you attend and this year Philadelphia really shined. Special thank you’s to:
- Our generous sponsors: Williams-Sonoma, The Sofitel, XIX Restaurant at the Bellevue, France Magazine, Boyds Philadelphia, Duke & Winston, Touché Accessories, The Barnes Foundation, and Uber Philadelphia.
- Toni Gonzalez who coordinated the judging contest. As one of our most spirited guests last year, she stood out as our top choice for this important role.
- To our esteemed judges: Vincent Vienne, Rafael Gonzalez, Susan Gish, Judy Ellis-Taylor, Ian Michael Crumm, Zoha Memari, Carolee Cook, Brenda Oliver-Morgan and Jeffrey Acker.
- To Gina Gannon for her wonderful video highlighting the contests and our judges- Jeffrey Acker, Vincent Vienne, Judy Ellis-Taylor and Ian Michael Crumm. A special thank you to Williams-Sonoma, The Shops at Liberty Place, Sofitel and XIX for generously allowing us to film at your locations.
- Congratulations again to our winners: Kelly Batt Forwood (Most Elegant Table), Mardel Cooper (Most Elegant Woman), and Garrett Olthuis (Most Elegant Man).
Those who made the day of DEB Possible
- To John Rush and Mike Kolesnik from SEPTA who were so willing to work with us to ensure safe and efficient travels for all of our participants traveling on the Market-Frankford and Regional Rail lines. Thank you also to the countless SEPTA employees that day who answered questions, held open gates and assisted passengers as they boarded trains. A special thank you to Heather Redfern who wrote a great piece describing SEPTA’s efforts the weeks before and day of the event.
- To Mike Browne of Next Century Printing who met all of our printing needs with enthusiasm and creativity. Thank you for helping craft Ben Franklin’s kite and iconic Philadelphia props for the photo booth!
- To Keith and Eileen Hollingshead who generously displayed their 1927 Rolls Royce at our event. Keeping in the period of 30th Station (built in late 1920’s to early 30’s) and the style of Carte Blanche (1920’s and 30’s jazz revivalist band) their beautiful car perfectly set the scene for our location. Your Rolls Royce added class and elegance to every photo taken that evening. It was featured in so many blogs and news articles that it should have had a press agent of its own!
- To Annie Mulligan Smith and her husband, Steve, for crafting the amazing European street sign. Next to the Rolls Royce, your sign was the second most popular spot to pose for photos! It highlighted Philadelphia as part of the group of international cities hosting this incredible event.
- Thank you to Arway Linens for, once again, adding a touch of white elegance with your linens to the Preview Party and Media Lounge. Our guests appreciated the opportunity to purchase the Tablecloth + Napkins set at the Pop-Up Shop.
- To Nadine Louw at Flowers & Company. We were introduced to her as a contestant (and first prize winner!) at the Preview Party in June and she quickly became a friend by August. Not only did she provide the flowers for both the MyPHL and Fox shoots and participate in our Pop-up Shop at Williams-Sonoma in August, but she provided the beautiful arrangements for our media area all while coordinating the flowers and tablescape for one of our three proposals that night! We are inspired by her passion and incredible creativity.
- Thank you to Mitch Gyger at Oracle Protection Services for providing the private security that evening. Thank you for your flexibility, suggestions, and friendly staff. Several guards went above and beyond their duty as they helped us with starting cars, picking up trash, and loading tables into the van.
- To Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross (aka Ralph and Linda) and ‘76 Carriage for their “historic” appearance at the 5th & Market departure point. Your outfits and customized Dîner en Blanc kite helped create a unique experience and memorable pictures for our guests.
- Thank you to David Cattai at Dino’s Party Center for fulfilling our order of hundreds of white balloons despite a national helium shortage.
- To Chessa Cahill and the staff at The Booth. We loved seeing the fun people had with your creative props in all 900 pictures!
- Thank you to Potty Queen for once again, providing clean restrooms for the comfort of our guests.
- Norris Sales Company, Inc. for working overtime to ensure the scissors lift arrived at the perfect time. Thank you for the instructions but, most of all, thank you for the beautiful view that the 25 foot lift gave us the evening of the event.
Many more very important thank you’s:
- A huge thank you must be given to those we call our “unofficial” Advisory Board: Lori Klein Brennan, Daniele Thomas Easton, Margaret Hughes, Melanie Johnson, Gary Steuer, and Jim Straw . They are esteemed members of the Philadelphia community who have offered their support, sent us emails with suggestions and connected us with numerous people in the city who have greatly helped our event in some way. They are the first to congratulate us and to offer their feedback and we can’t thank them enough.
- To Brian Cawley and the team from Lord & Taylor in Bala Cynwyd for creating a beautiful Dîner en Blanc display in their store, as well as providing the elegant white wardrobe for our volunteers at the MyPHL appearance in July.
- To Jill Scarlett and the Shops at Liberty Place for their DEB window display this summer. A special thank you to Tom Hawthorne for taking Flowers & Company’s winning table design and creating a beautiful- and much photographed- window. Thank you also to Jade Barnes for coordinating the filming of our promotional video in the space as well.
- To Touché Accessories for your encouragement and support, this year and last year. Your fascinators, gloves, and stylish accessories make it easy to add a touch of elegance to our outfits.
- To Marie Fritz who is not only an amazing Table Host, but a table decorating guru. She traveled great distances and gave countless hours of her time to create beautiful DEB tables at the PIFA street festival, Les Dames Symposium, DEB Preview Party, Bastille Day Tailgate, MyPHL shoot, DEB teaser shots, and of course at her own table on August 22nd.
- To the amazing Philadelphia organizations who have reached out to us or given the time to meet with us when we’ve contacted them: Mural Arts Program, Hidden Cities Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, The Barnes Foundation and Global Philadelphia. There exist so many amazing organizations in the city which share the same goals as our event- promoting public spaces, uniting the community, celebrating art and architecture, highlighting the power of a communal meal, etc. The City of Philadelphia is truly fortunate to have so many organizations that care so much about making our city a great place to live, work and visit.
- A very special thank you to all of the members of the press and the many, many bloggers and photographers who captured our event from start to finish. We know how fortunate we are and while we can’t begin to thank you all by name, a few highlights include:
ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PHL, WHYY for their event day coverage, Michael Klein and The Philadelphia Inquirer, Foobooz, Philadelphia Magazine, Philadelphia Style, Al Dia, Philadelphia Business Journal, Main Line Today, uwishunu, Philadelphia Life, G-Philly, Philly 360, Philly PR Girl, Philly Chit Chat, Philly Loves Fun, Hadas Kuznits at What’s Cooking on 1060, Jennifer Lewis Hall and Zach Lashway at PHL17, Mike Jerrick and the entire Good Day team at Fox29, Eater, Zagat, Marilyn Russell at BenFM, Dyana Williams and Derrick Sampson at Old School 100.3, TS Hawkins and the team at Queer 2 The T, Philly in Focus, Gina Gannon, Global Lipstick, Details, Susan Scovill and New York Social Diary, The Bicycle Chef, 22nd and Philly, Her Philly, Homemade Delish, Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps, South Philly Fashionista, CultureJaunt, GrubStreet, My Insight Magazine, A. D. Amorosi, and many, many more.
- To Philly in Focus and the team behind the Media Wall at Commerce Square who chose to show our beautiful 2012 Dîner en Blanc video (courtesy of Blossom Productions) every Wednesday throughout the summer. We cannot tell you what a joy it was to see it play and listen to people wonder out loud what kind of event this was. Philly in Focus, we absolutely love the video of the event you did this year and, Ryan McManus, seeing your timelapse video post the morning after our event brought huge smiles to our faces.
- A special thank you to Monica Rogozinski and her team at WHYY’s Friday Arts. Her “Art of Food” piece on Dîner en Blanc has truly been the gift that keeps on giving. While the piece originally aired December 2012, it continued to show on WHYY for months afterwards. Not only did the footage serve as a documentation of the planning and execution of the first event, but its beauty helped recruit enthusiastic volunteers and inspire new participants. Congratulations to you and your team for your Emmy nominations!
- To everyone who donned their red, white and blue and attended the Bastille Day event at Brandywine Polo. Thank you to the countless volunteers who made French food, brought French wine, set-up DEB tables and handed out copies of France Magazine!
- To everyone who made this year’s Preview Party a HUGE success:
- Thank you firstly to Williams-Sonoma for hosting the event and our wonderful volunteers who staffed it.
- To DJ Bruce for creating the vibe with French tunes
- To DiBruno Brothers and Garces Catering for previewing their DEB meals and to Tod Wentz from McCrossen’s Tavern who sampled French picnic food at the cooktop.
- To the eleven talented table decorating contestants: Nadine Louw and Katy Drinkwater from Flowers & Company; Corrine Sebesta Sisti from Sebesta Design; Megan Grimm & Michelle Mattus from Whitney Design Studio; Michelle Flannagan from Classic Interiors; Tanti Lina from Papertini; The Gihan Family; Sary Em from Home; Susan Dinneen from Tabledeckers; Marie Fritz; Barbara Maletsky from Chef Barbara Foods; and Denise Herker and Mallory Turner from Leigh Florist
- To our fabulous judges: Brian Cawley, Carrie Denny, Kristin Detterline, Emily Goulet, Marisa Magnatta and Nicole Paloux.
Lastly, we thank the entire team of Dîner en Blanc International: Aymeric Pasquier, Sandy Safi, Jessica Dorval and Annie Moonien. Without their help and support our event would not be possible.
Natanya DiBona & Kayli Moran
Hosts, Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia
We all have a meal to prepare for Diner en Blanc to pack inside our picnic baskets for the most enchanting evening of the summer. In this new series, we bring the stories and recipes of local chefs and food lovers to help inspire your own magical meal. We are pleased to present the fifth installment of Diner en Blanc inspired recipes!
Jen and Donal McCoy are the proud owners of Serrano in Old City, Philadelphia. Serrano has been a staple on Second Street for over 25 years. Named after the pepper, not the ham, the food can be described as internationally influenced contemporary cooking. Recently, Chef Gina Rodriguez came on board to relaunch the menu and restaurant’s reputation for producing exceptional dishes at neighborhood prices. The vibe of the restaurant is very laid back. On any given day you can find a doctor next to an artist sharing a drink. Donal and Jen have been kind enough to share a refreshing summer cocktail recipe they’ve concocted with Diner en Blanc in mind.
Serrano Sangria en Blanc
The perfect summer sangria for your Diner en Blanc picnic basket!
1 bottle Pinot Grigio
2/3 cup white sugar
3 Granny Smith apples
White grapes (1/2 – 3/4 lbs)
Club soda (optional)
Combine all in a container and allow to chill overnight. Fill wine glass three quarters of the way and then add a splash of club soda. You can also add the club soda to the pitcher right before serving.