“Are you going to a wedding?” a couple of passersby ask as a parade of people dressed in their finest white garb emerge from the New York City subway carrying picnic baskets, folding tables, and chairs.
“No,” the group leader responds—for they are headed to the world’s largest, most highly anticipated pop-up party. Initiated by François Pasquier over 25 years ago in Paris, the Dîner en Blanc has taken the world by storm. Approximately 12,000 people attended the pop-up picnic in Paris this year. The organizers of the New York City dinner, slated for August 25, expect around 4,000 people.
Guests bring everything needed for a first-class soirée—gourmet picnic food, dishes, cutlery, wine glasses, linens, and decorations—to a secret location, which they discover upon meeting their leaders at designated spots around the city. And though the dress code is strictly all white, creativity reigns, with revelers wearing cocktail dresses, pearls, feathered headpieces, even Marie-Antoinette style wigs. The cause uniting thousands: camaraderie, plain and simple.
How to get in on the action? The Dîner en Blanc is confirmed in 13 U.S. cities this year, and in cities across the globe. Check the official website to see if the DEB is happening in your hometown.
Laura Itzkowitz is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure.