Like a person counting down the days to go on vacation, I become increasing excited to attend DEB as a returning Table Leader and meet my group! I also felt like Old Saint Nick while checking the guest list twice to make sure I have fulfilled the request to have friends sit next to each other and all that jazz! Table Leaders are the people who lead a group of people (50 total including myself) from the meet-up location to the secret dining place. We also communicate with the guests from the time we send out the first email with the details to the end of the event on the day of DEB.
If you’re wondering what is Dîner En Blanc (DEB) aka Diner In White, I provided a background of it here in last year’s post. In a nutshell, it’s an annual event where a group of guests meet-up to dine at a secret monumental location while donning their best all-white outfits for a night of celebrations that includes DJs, live bands, and interactive activities. This year, 5,500 attendees gathered around City Hall in Philadelphia to eat, drink, and be merry.
“We selected City Hall, including Dilworth Park and Paine Plaza, this year, because it’s located in the heart of our city. We wanted to celebrate Philadelphia as an international destination, and highlight our culturally rich and diverse city.”
-Dîner En Blanc’s Philly co-host Natanya DiBona
This year, I decided to make being part of DEB like a mini-vacation. So I asked the bestie to come up the night before the big day and we stayed at the Sofitel Hotel from Wednesday to Friday; DEB was on a Thursday. Sofitel partnered with DEB so this was a match made in French heaven! Also, the afterparty was held at the Sofitel Hotel. In hindsight, we lucked out because the hotel was not far from the secret location.
Our view was amazing! Looking up at City Hall, seeing the sky change colors, and watching people connect is just, well, magical. Also, it’s starting to be a trend that someone will be proposing! It’s in the air! DEB brings that out in people! I reconnected with an old friend from grade school and connected my Pinterest/Instagram consultant! HA. It was my first time meeting her face-to-face!
The Sofitel Hotel
Remember what I said about making DEB a mini vacation? Well staying at the Sofitel was such a delight that it felt like a quick getaway. I also appreciated staying there due to my love of the French culture and having at one point been proficient in speaking French. I’m a bit rusty now. Nevertheless, I was excited to be there, nestled in Philly’s French Quarter.
To get the 3D feel of the room I stayed in, visit my Instagram at Tia_Johnson_ and view the video DEB x Sofitel highlight tab.
Fun Facts About The Sofitel
The Sofitel is a French luxury hotel. Furthermore, the Sofitel is the only french luxury hotel brand with a presence on five continents with 120 addresses, in almost 40 countries (more than 31 000 rooms). As a result of having a certificate of excellence five years in a row, Sofitel Philadelphia has received the Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame Award from TripAdvisor. There’s even an art gallery in the lobby!
Food & Drink
The first night, the bestie and I went to the Sofitel’s Liberté restaurant and lounge. She had a glass of wine. I had The Magnifique, which is Penn 1681 vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice, and soda water. They had me at vodka. What can I say?! Also, I couldn’t have the vodka by itself. So, I ordered the Liberté Cheese dish that consists of three kinds of cheese selected by the chef, banana-date jam, and spiced pecans. Um yum!
For our DEB food and drink, we needed a microwave and a refrigerator. The Sofitel staff was very accommodating by delivering and setting up in our room a microwave and refrigerator. This saved us so much time and energy about dealing with the food situation.
Fortunately for us, breakfast ends at 11am. The bestie and I aren’t morning people so having the option of eating breakfast until almost noon was a bonus. I’ve been craving salmon and eggs Benedict for a while. When I told my mom about breakfast she was excited for me. That’s how much I have been craving this dish. So, I ordered that and the cutest part about this dish were the home fries that came in a little iron pan. It reminded me of the YouTube videos I watch where the person makes the tiny food in the tiny oven and sometimes French music is playing in the background. It’s very relaxing. We also had French pressed coffee that smelled delightful. It was strong just the way I like it.
The Sofitel Does A Magic Trick At Night
Okay. I just have to show you a before and after picture because it also blew me away. The first picture below is where breakfast is held during the daytime and the second picture is the same place but converted into a nightclub for the DEB afterparty! Magic I tell ya! Magic!
Behind The Scenes Action
What’s a good blog post without a little BTS drama? I was having trouble finding an outfit. Yes. I know I had months to find an outfit but these things happen! *Insert shrug emoji* Amazon Prime was the real MVP this year for my outfit. I just had to get the dress hemmed. Side note: Look at where your dress is coming from in the description section in order to pick the right size. For example, I have ordered dresses from China. When I do that, I order a couple sizes above what my “normal size” would be for that dress. However, if the dress is coming from the States, then I know to order the exact size or the next size based on the fabric.
One thing I did purchase ahead of time and triple checked to make sure that I got it right was the table! OMG! Last year I ordered the wrong table. I was saved by a fellow table leader who let me borrow one of his spare tables. Not this year!
Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
Regrouping to the DEB experience, one thing the bestie and I agreed on was that our mini-vacation felt like it went by fast. Even though it felt like it went by too fast, I managed to make some new friends, which I do each year. I also get to see my city in a different light with each DEB. I would have never guessed to place 5,500 people around the City Hall area because it looks impossible! However, it worked and all I could see were people enjoying themselves and the festivities. I just love seeing people dressed up and having a blast. All positivity. Just dance.
*Post is in collaboration with Sofitel Hotel Philadelphia*
Did you attend DEB or will you be attending one? Or, will you have your own all-white party? Let me know below.
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