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Le Diner En Blanc – Albuquerue 2015

I’m not a style blogger, but I am going to try to do this event justice.  My style is more day in the life, or in this case, night in the life, and what a night!  Diner En Blanc is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this year.  What started in Paris as some friends gathering together to enjoy a posh picnic all decked in white has grown into an international sensation.  Albuquerque was lucky enough to be chosen to host a DEB event last year.  I missed the inaugural event, but was so thrilled to be part of this year’s event which grew from 800 to 1200 people!

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What is DEB?  It’s a fancy outdoor picnic/flash mob/party at a secret location.  To attend you must be invited by a host or someone that has attended before or you can register on the waiting list.  The secret location was revealed to us only as we pulled up to the National Hispanic Cultural Center in our chaffeured BMW (I happened to win a contest from Sandia BMW, another amazing sponsor).  We rode over with some super cool folks from Sandia and rode back to our meeting point in the bus.  Coincidentally, the meeting point we selected was Valley High School where Vanessa and I attended a long, long time ago a few years back.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to take a selfie with a group of Vikings who wondered what was going on with all that white!

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As we drove past the zoo, the country club and the botanical gardens, we finally realized where we were headed.  The NHCC is one of my favorite places in Albuquerque. I visit occasionally for Hispanic Heritage Committee events and used to take Spanish classes at Instituto Cervantes.  I also used to love La Fonda del Bosque and am equally excited to try M’Tucci’s Cocina which I gather specializes in Latin foods.  If it’s anything like Kitchina, I’m gonna buen provecho for sure.  Oh and of course, I held an event there once upon a time, also wearing a white dress.  Our wedding reception was held in Salon Ortega and the patio courtyard.  DEB was a little bit bigger and held out under the stars on Plaza Mayor.

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Attendees can bring their own picnic fare or purchase from the delectable Slate Street Cafe.  Love that place!  We opted to bring our own food.  I was very proud of the menu I put together, but in hindsight, I will be keeping things a lot simpler next time around.  I’m thinking less entree, more hors d’oeuvres and amuse-bouches.  Only wine or champagne are allowed at DEB, but it’s not BYOB.  Wine could be purchased from the sponsor Vara Wines.  We went with Apothic White.  The twirling of the napkins indicates it is time to eat.

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In addition to food, you need to bring your own table, chairs, table linens, and dinnerware.  We rented ours for a reasonable amount, but I think I’d invest in brining my own in the future.  Hauling in the items and setting them up in all of your fanciness is probably the trickiest part of the evening.  1200 of your closest friends and all of their stuff feels like a logistical nightmare, but once everyone is set up, the stress disappears and everyone can get down.

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Decor is no joke at Diner En Blanc.  I was amazed at some of the centerpieces!  There was even a contest to win a European vacation for the best centerpiece.  Some people are so creative.  For the rest of us me, we went with simple, inexpensive and lightweight.  Faux flowers, mini Eiffel tower, feathers, pearls, and battery operated candles.

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While we ate, we were entertained by a beautiful sight.  Ballerina and ballroom dancers gracefully moving down the stairs of Plaza Mayor just outside the museo.  So lovely!  Then we lit giant sparklers which always makes me feel like a kid!  (Side note: I had orignally planned to see Kelly Clarkson and Pentatonix on 8.27.15, both whom I love, but I’ve seen Kelly and this party was just too good to miss!)

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After dinner everyone mingles, takes photos and the music and dancing start.  I didn’t get a chance to see everyone I knew would be there, but I did find several of my fun friends (Andrea, Sean, Geniva, Adam, Tisa, Yvette, Levi, Ana Maria, Erica, Jenifer, et. al.) and had a great time taking silly photos.  Being a crazy blogger has its advantages as we were able to visit the VIP lounge and talk to the hosts Cat Hanna, Taylor Trodden and David Matt Stroud and VIP guests like Mayor Richard Berry.  I can’t imagine all the work that goes into organizing the event.  Well done!

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I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the incredible fashion show that is Diner En Blanc.  Bright diamond white head to toe is a must.  No nude, no brown, no gold, no cream, no color.  Although some didn’t follow that rule strictly, all in all, most people were rocking the blanc!  I’m talking tuxes, fascinators, gowns, bolo ties, tutus, boas, flowers.  Everyone looked amazing.  I chatted fashion with style blogger Jamie from More Than Turquoise.  My gals went with LWDs, fascinators and mustaches (in honor of Adam’s award winning ‘stache).  I opted for a lace bodycon dress from H&M.  I actually bought two dresses from H&M (their prices are so darn reasonable) so I wasn’t surprised to see both of my dresses on other people.  For fifteen bucks, I’m down to play Who Wore It Better or Bitch Stole My Look.  But really, everyone looked so stunning it didn’t matter.  I picked up some flat sandals with lace and rhinestones at J Town, also fifteen bucks.  My unruly fascinator was purchased at Charming Charlies and I wore jewelry I already own (wedding and everyday pearl/diamond peekaboos).  I might have over accessorized with a parasol, sunnies, fingerless gloves, and lace fan, but when in Rome…I mean Paris.  As I walked around in this beautiful setting, it’s hard to put into words just how pretty it looks.

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Diner En Blanc may not be everyone’s cup of tea glass of wine, but I’m sure glad I attended.  For my friends that said it sounds liked a cult, was too crowded, too much work, or too expensive, I say haters gonna hate.  A flash mob was on my bucket list and I can’t wait to experience the joie de vivre once more.  Le Diner En Blanc Albuquerque 2015 was quite an experience.  Bonne nuit ma chérie!

Amessa 
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