Diner en Blanc – Albuquerque 2016

What is Diner en Blanc?  Just the world’s chicest picnic.

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I had the pleasure of attending my second DEB a few weeks ago and it was just as fun and magical as I remembered.  This time around, I had my handsome husband accompany me en blanc!

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70 cities around the world are fabulous enough to host a DEB event and Albuquerque is one of those.  To attend, you must be invited, as it’s a bit of a secret (ssshhh!).  The 2016 event grew from 1200 to 1400.  I think the secret may be out, but it definitely still has an exclusive feel to it.

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DEBers rendezvous at different locations around the city to be whisked away to the secret location.  This year that location was the enchanting Botanical Gardens at ABQ BioPark.  One of the things I love about this event is how it really tries to showcase some of the most beautiful spaces we have in Albuquerque like Balloon Fiesta Park and the National Hispanic Cultural Center.  As BioPark members, we’re familiar with how lovely the botanical gardens are.  Add a sea of white to that background and you have a perfect garden party.  In fact, I think we may have taken some engagement photos there once upon a time.

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DEB is a rain or shine event.  To prove it, Mother Nature teased us with one of those funny, sunny sprinkles as everyone began to arrive.  All afternoon I eyed the ominous clouds looming on the West Mesa, hoping they’d cooperate.  As I drove down from the westside to our meeting spot, the sky winked with a perfect rainbow as if to say, “Okay, I’m gonna rain, but just a little.”  Well played, weather, well played.

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The real challenge of the evening is hauling all your gear to the event (while dressed in your most amazing white ensemble), but we’re old pros so we got this, right?  In all seriousness, I will say that once you attend, you definitely learn some lessons about how to do DEB.  Since you must bring your own table, chairs and decorations, for me, less is more, or light is right, however you wanna look at it.  This year we invested in a cool roll up camping table and used two white folding chairs we had.  We draped them in dollar store sheers because elegance on the cheap is how I roll.  We also kinda sorta learned not to go too crazy with a four course dinner.  I ordered apps from Jinja and they were perfect (lettuce wraps, spring rolls, tuna tempura sushi).  While we still had too much food, it was much easier than what we attempted in round one.  As for decor, my ex (date) Vanessa and I raided the Christmas aisle at a crafting store a couple days before the event and we felt pretty darn brilliant as our decor was light and sparkly.

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Let’s be real, Diner en Blanc is a real feast for the eyes.  If you love or even like a tiny bit of fashion, DEB is a must.  For me, the diamond white outfits are the real MVP.  I pretty much look at everyone who passes and secretly wish we were friends who wore the same size so I can borrow their outfits.  Who knew there were so many stunning white outfits?  For me, Bebe knew, that’s who.  When I first began to look for something to wear, I couldn’t find anything.  Rolled up to Bebe one day and found way too much.  As in bought three white outfits.  Good news is I have something to wear for 2017!

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The ladies in our party thought we’d try a soft, bohemian look this year so I opted for a long, flowy dress.  My favorite compliment came courtesy of my friend Amanda, who said my dress was full of whimsy. Just love that word!  And of course I accessorized with a handsome gentleman.  And what do you know, my dress included a sheath underneath that made for an awesome wardrobe change just in time for dancing.

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This year we were dazzled by all the normal fanfare including the napkin twirling (signifying the start of dinner) and sparkler lighting.  There were a few WOW moments this year.  First, the God’s House Church choir popped up and strolled through the crowd singing Seasons of Love from Rent (my absolute favorite musical).  Although our tables weren’t close enough to hear, I heard that The Noms played and they were great.  Then some people got married in the Rose Garden.  Like for real.  Finally, it was time to dance the night away.  DJ Patrick Baldonado kept the party going.

 

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There are a lot of people who make DEB happen and to them I lift my glass of Vara Apothic White!  Sandia BMW who hosted the fun preview party.  Lilly Barrack who tempted us with gorgeous jewlry.  Starfire PR for kindly extending an invite to cover the event.  And the hair and makeup wizards at Toni & Guy Hairdressing Salon that pulled a real fairy godmother on me.  Of course, shout out to Cat, Matt, Taylor and their rockstar Blanc Team.  Merci beaucoup!

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If I have one piece of advice to anyone thinking of joining the fete next year, bring a phone charger.  As you stroll through the crowd, you will see old friends, and new friends, and news people, and cool costumes, and mayors, and future mayors, and flash mobs, and white donuts, and headdresses, and mason jars, and gorgeous scenery.  And selfies.  Et voila!

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