'D' for Dining Local My Life

My ‘Gothic White’ Dîner en Blanc Table

My sister invited me as her date to Chicago’s Dîner en Blanc this year. Quelle excitation! She rented a room for the night, so we checked in and brought all of our stuff up. It wasn’t until we were in a car on our way to the meeting point that we realized our flowers were sitting in an ice bucket in her hotel bathroom.

We had the essentials — food, plates, that sort of thing — but without the fluffy cute flowers, our table was going to be all pillar candles and skeletons. Really emphasizing the whole goth part of my ‘gothic white’ idea. I did what I assume any weirdo/resourceful person would do. I scavenged weeds from a nearby parking lot.

Dîner en Blanc - Scavenging for Flowers

“It will work out,” my sister assured me as I came back with a handful of Queen Anne’s Lace. “After all, what grows on graves?”

Dîner en Blanc Gothic White Table with Skeletons | Making it Lovely

Diner en Blanc Table

It worked out! Clearly the skeletons are the best part of this table — you should pick them up while you can because I suspect they’ll sell out well before Halloween. We borrowed a folding table and tons of people (us included) had these inexpensive and light folding chairs. Everything else was standard-issue tabletop stuff that I had on hand, with flameless candles in anticipation of wind. Everything is linked below (and I found super similar items for some of the stuff I’ve had for years).

This is also pretty much what my dining table is going to look like all October.

Dîner en Blanc Gothic White Tabletop Sources | Making it Lovely

  1. Josie Glasses, Crate & Barrel
  2. Classic White Tablecloth, Crate & Barrel
  3. Gold Flatware, CB2
  4. Caterer’s White Napkins, Pottery Barn
  5. Amber LED Glimmer Strings, Pier 1
  6. Caterer’s Dinner Plates, Pottery Barn
  7. Narrow Vase, Houzz
  8. Yoga Skeleton Halloween Figure Decor, Pier 1
  9. LED Distressed White Pillar Candles, Pier 1

It’s a lot of schlepping, but it was worth it. Everyone and everything looks beautiful, and the mystery of the location (it was at the Theater on the Lake this year) adds to the fun. Plus dancing! If you ever get the change to attend a Dîner en Blanc in your city, say yes!

Diner en Blanc - Chicago 2017

p.s. Here’s a little background on how the event usually works. The first Dîner en Blanc I’d been to was at Alt Summit. Much smaller and no schlepping, but equally magical and fun.

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  • Maree Sperle
    August 28, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Was this your sister’s first invite to the diner en blanc? Does being on the waitlist help? or what is the secret?

    • Making it Lovely
      August 30, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Her friend was our table leader’s guest. I’m not sure how many get in from the wait list, and it’s super hard to get in. I think my sister would get an automatic invite for the first round again next year, and she said something about “sponsoring” me so that I could get in at round two (so we could each bring our husbands)? It’s all very confusing.

  • Bethany Suckrow
    August 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Reminds me of the night before my sister-in-law’s wedding, when we cut wildflowers from the Bank of America parking lot to finish making her bouquets. No regrets! Still one of the best weddings I’ve ever done, and I’m a florist. :)

    August 28, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Gorgeous, how fun!!

  • Mindy
    August 28, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Your table is beautiful and you and your sister are gorgeous. But for some reason I cannot put my finger on, the exclusive, secretive nature of the event turns me off.

    • Making it Lovely
      August 30, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      I don’t completely understand the way it’s organized. I don’t mind the secrecy of the location — I think the mystery adds to the fun — but the exclusive nature is a bit off-putting. It seems like you need to know someone to get in, and I don’t know how many make it from the wait list.

      • Amelia
        August 30, 2017 at 5:28 pm

        Similarly, I’m a bit put off by the fact that it’s so exclusive… and expensive… and yet, the guests bring absolutely everything? What service does the organization provide, exactly, beyond branding and exclusivity? I can’t help but think one might as well organize their own!

  • Blythe
    August 28, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    I love the white dress you’re wearing in these photos! Can you share where you got it?

    • Making it Lovely
      August 30, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      Thank you! It was from Anthropologie, but years ago.

      • Blythe
        September 7, 2017 at 1:29 pm

        Thanks for letting me know :)

  • Julie Saldana
    August 29, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Look at these skeletons!!!! Where can you find or buy it? I really impressed with it and i love flowers,too! And you convince me already, say YES to attend a Dîner en Blanc in my city (or another city they have it)

  • Amanda Carson
    August 29, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    I got inspired by you so I found my city’s Diner en Blanc and going in September!

  • Kathleen Stephenson
    September 2, 2017 at 6:31 am

    I’m wondering if that CB2 set you linked is one you actually have. I’ve been wanting gold flatware and this is a great price but I’ve heard of some that don’t last at all and start to tarnish right away. This set is lovely though

    • Making it Lovely
      September 2, 2017 at 11:18 am

      It is not the same set because mine (from West Elm) is no longer available. I looked for something in the same price range with a similar look, so I went with the CB2 set. West Elm has other styles in the same finish, so if the manufacturing process is the same, I can vouch for the longevity!

  • Jeanne
    September 5, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Queen Anne’s Lace..what a fabulous save…the table looks smashing and the limp flowers add to the Gothic vibe…so fun!

  • Dîner en Blanc Chicago, 2018 - Making it Lovely
    August 31, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    […] My sister and I agreed that it was far easier to participate the second time around. We kept thinking ‘this is so easy!’ as we transported everything because last year it definitely wasn’t! The biggest changes: we used a lightweight roll-up camping table instead of a folding table, we used a collapsible rolling crate instead of bags strapped to a luggage cart, and the table decorations were simplified. […]