When most people think of dinner party necessities, they don’t think of heading to their local hardware store to get ready for the event.

For first-time Dîner en Blanc guest Melissa Llewellyn, her shopping list leading up to the event included power tools, PVC piping and twinkling lights.

“I knew that I wanted to do this kind of tablescape. I’d call it a floral arch. I was racking my brain trying to figure out how I was going to construct this thing. I didn’t want to get my fiancé involved when I first started building it. So I’m like what can I use, something that’s lightweight and could easily be carried. So I went to Home Depot and was like oh great PVC,” Llewellyn said.

Figuring out the PVC was a good start but was only the tip of the iceberg for the crafty first-timer.

“The hardware store tells me that they don’t cut PVC and they only cut wood. So I go and get a hacksaw. I go home and I’m sawing and sawing away. My fiancé is asleep and I’m like I have to get this thing built without bothering him. It gets together, and then I’m like how is this thing going to stand? I tried this cement that supposed to expand and it ended up exploding everywhere,” she said.

The finish line was in sight but the bride-to-be realized that she needed to call in reinforcements.

“At this point, I had to call my fiancé. He’s like ‘what are you doing? This thing needs to have feet.’ I said, ‘we can’t have feet. We can’t bring a drill to Dîner en Blanc.’ He said ‘you bring all of that other stuff, so why not.’

So the morning of Dîner en Blanc, they packed their table, chairs, wine glasses, food and a cordless drill. The hard work paid off for the enterprising couple. They ended up winning a prize for their beautifully decorated table.

After hearing about their elaborate Dîner en Blanc table, you are probably wondering what they have planned for the wedding.

“We are getting married in Jamaica and we actually drove all of the decorations to Miami last week to ship them to Jamaica and they landed today,” said the bride-to-be.

Most Dîner en Blanc guests didn’t go as far as breaking out the power tools, but there were plenty of feathers, lace, pearls and lights adorning the tables along Boathouse Row on Thursday. Monique Bell made a Liberty Bell for her table and carefully drove it from Atlantic City while her friend Ericka Chapman supervised.

“We’ve done a few in other cities but this year we drove up for the Philadelphia one. It’s our second time and it’s just exciting. We just love it. We get to meet so many new people,” Chapman said.

Every year she hears the siren call that is Philadelphia’s Dîner en Blanc.

“I’ve also been to D.C. and New York. We’ve been to six in total. They’re all great but there’s just something about Philly. It’s like coming home. Philly just has a spirit about it. This is where the energy is,” said the Atlantic City resident.

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