One of the world’s largest — and most exclusive — dinner parties will be hosted in the city tonight: The annual Diner en Blanc.
First started in Paris and now here in New York, thousands of New Yorkers will be invited to the event held sometime this evening at a secret, yet-to-be revealed location somewhere in the city.
But don’t worry if you weren’t lucky enough to get an invite: There are several apps on the market that are catching on as the new age of dinner party planning.
Except there’s one catch: Some tout one of their assets as the ability to ask guests to kick in some cash to cover the costs of the soiree.
A handful of apps, like EventNow.com and SoupNextDoor, allow users to create events online and invite guests. Some, like Zokos, let hosts set a “chip-in” amount. Guests are informed how much they should contribute beforehand with a PayPal account.
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Not everyone agrees that this new way of planning falls in line with dinner party etiquette.
“If you are hosting in your home, then you have agreed to do it and I don’t think there is a place for you to ask people for money through an app,” etiquette expert Sarah Pease, who owns Brilliant Event Planning, told Metro.
But Andrew Hapke, co-founder of Zokos, argues that a younger generation of dinner party planners finds it makes more sense to share the cost.
“There are people who love to host and then there are other people who don’t like doing it, so they are never actually reciprocating and they wouldn’t mind chipping in,” Hapke explained. He added that Zokos users can invite friends to parties without using the “chip in” option.
He acknowledged that the app isn’t for everyone — mainly, an older generation that might find the approach tacky — but said it is perfectly normal for party cash to change hands among friends.
Still, Pease insisted, no matter the age group, the host should bear the entire cost of a soiree — or plan for a more budget-friendly party.
“If people don’t have funds to host, then make it a potluck and ask everyone to bring a dish or a bottle of wine to share,” she suggested.
Dubbed the “world’s first viral event,” these al fresco dinner parties are attended by thousands of people and organized entirely by word of mouth and social media.
The exact location is never revealed until the day of — and that’s when thousands of guests show up in chic white attire and meet at “rallying points,” where they are then directed to the secret location. Last year, the Diner en Blanc was held on the Lower Manhattan waterfront, outside the World Financial Center. Tonight’s location? A mystery.
The 2012 dinner is scheduled to take place tonight, according to the group’s Facebook page, but the exact time and location will not be announced until the last minute this evening, and only to those lucky enough to get an invite through word of mouth. Others will be pulled off the waiting list. There were 30,000 people on the waiting list last year, and 3,200 people are expected to attend tonight.