President Donald Trump and wife Melania welcomed the French president and first lady to the White House for their first state dinner as the two leaders toasted to continued warm relations between their countries.
Trump held hands with Melania on the steps of the White House before they each exchanged hugs and kisses with President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte ahead of the glitzy White House state dinner on Tuesday night.
All eyes were on Melania as she stole the show in a Chanel black Chantilly lace haute couture gown that had been hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins. The First Lady paired her gown with a pair of gunmetal stilettos.
Brigitte Macron opted for a cream full-length gown with long sleeves and gold details.
In a toast before Tuesday’s dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as ‘America’s absolutely incredible first lady’ before he raised a glass to President Macron.
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President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania held hands outside the White House on Tuesday awaiting the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte for the state dinner
Donald and Melania Trump greeted French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte ahead of their first White House state dinner on Tuesday evening
The Trumps both kissed President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte ahead of the glitzy White House state dinner
Macron and his wife Brigitte arrived at the White House as a light rain fell Tuesday evening
All eyes were on Melania as she stole the show in a Chanel black Chantilly lace haute couture gown that had been hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins
He thanked her for her efforts on the dinner and said she had created an evening that everyone will always ‘cherish and remember.’ The dinner for 123 guests marked Mrs Trump’s highest-profile hostess gig to date as first lady.
Trump went on to raise a glass to President Macron saying: ‘May our friendship grow even deeper’.
In his toast, Macron, who spoke in French, thanked Trump for making him the first world leader honored with a state visit.
He added that he and Trump had pledged to work together and listen to one another.
‘Thank you for the quality of our exchanges,’ he said before toasting the ‘unbreakable friendship’ of the US and France.
Among the guests were Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner who were among the first to arrive at the White House shortly after 6pm with the first daughter choosing a $13,686 pink tulle Rodarte gown for the occasion.
During his state dinner toast, President Trump raised a glass to President Macron saying: ‘May our friendship grow even deeper’
In a toast before Tuesday’s dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as ‘America’s absolutely incredible first lady’
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a state dinner in his honor at the White House
They were followed closely by Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen.
Reporters were left off the invite list but one media mogul made the list: the owner of Fox News Channel Rupert Murdoch. The media mogul held his wife Jerry Hall’s hand as they made their way into the White House.
Other notable guests who made their way into the White House included CEO of Apple Tim Cook and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
Aides had feared that the president would personally dole out invitations to the dinner last week while visiting Mar-a-Lago so they constrained him to adding just four names to the guest list. It’s unclear if Murdoch and Hall were among that group.
The White House released the full guest list of 130 people directly before the dinner. Congressional Democrats and White House reporters were already known to have been left out.
The only Democrat on the list was Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife Donna, as it is custom to invite Louisiana politicians to state dinners with France because of the state’s Cajun-French roots.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his colorful actress wife Louise Linton were also in attendance.
Linton, wearing a champagne and silver gown by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, told reporters she was looking forward to ‘everything French’ when she stepped into the White House.
First daughter Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner arrived at the White House state dinner on Tuesday night honoring French President Emmanuel Macron. Ivanka wore a $13,686 pink tulle Rodarte gown for the occasion
Ivanka, wearing a $13,686 pink tulle Rodarte gown, laughed with her husband as they made their way to the state dinner
Vice President Mike Pence waved to the cameras as he held his wife Karen’s hand in the Booksellers Area of the White House
Reporters were left off the invite list but one media mogul made the list: the owner of Fox News Channel Rupert Murdoch. He is pictured above entering the White House with wife Jerry Hall
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his colorful actress wife Louise Linton were also in attendance. Linton wore a champagne and silver gown by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli
The White House showed off the finishing touches of first lady Melania Trump’s decor on Monday night, from the place-setting to the giant flower arrangements greeting guests.
WHAT’S ON THE STATE DINNER MENU?
First course: Goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles and young variegated lettuces.
Second course: Rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise and Carolina gold Rice Jambalaya
Dessert: Nectarine tart and crème fraîche ice cream.
Two wines from Oregon will be served and a demi-sec champagne.
Reporters were briefly allowed into the White House and were greeted by gold table settings, gold silverware, gold candlesticks, gold wine glasses, gold chairs – situated elegantly around puffs of green and white flowers – in the candlelit state dining room.
At each of the place settings there was a menu, with the White House seal and the fleur-de-lis, which were also in gold.
Just outside the state dining room, the first lady went with a different theme, using some 1,200 cherry blossoms in giant black vases that would greet guests as they came in.
Earlier on Monday, the White House had released some details about the dinner, including the menu.
Goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles, young variegated lettuces would be served, along with a rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise and Carolina gold Rice Jambalaya, with a nectarine tart and crème fraîche ice cream for dessert.
Two wines from Oregon will be served and a demi-sec champagne.
The meal was being prepared by White House Executive Chef Christeta Comerford, who was hired during President George W. Bush’s administration, and stayed through the Obama years.
The only Democrat on the list was Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife Donna, as it is custom to invite Louisiana politicians to state dinners with France because of the state’s Cajun-French roots
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (left) arrives with his wife shortly before Chief of Staff John Kelly and his wife Karen (right)
Chief Executive Officer of LVMH Bernard Arnault and his wife Helene Mercier arrive at the White House
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his wife (left) arrive in the Booksellers Area of the White House shortly after Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo (right)
The first lady spent last Saturday in bipartisan company, attending the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush alongside the Clintons and Obamas – all Democrats – and former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, with his wife Laura.
During the state dinner, she’ll be showcasing china from the administrations of President Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush.
The first lady’s office said that selected pieces from the Vermeil and American Silver collections, as well as Tiffany & Co. and S. Kirk & Sons, would also be included.
‘Remember, she has a design background,’ the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Post.
Social secretary Rickie Niceta told the publication that the first lady, a former model, ‘has amazing taste, which makes things very, very easy.’
Reporters were briefly allowed into the White House’s state dining room Monday night to take in the first lady’s designs for the Trump administration’s first state dinner
Earlier in the day, the first lady tweeted pictures of herself huddling with her social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) as the two women went over last minute details for Tuesday’s state dinner with France
Melania Trump’s vision for her first state dinner included golden place settings, puffs of white and light green flowers and dinner by candlelight
The first lady used china from two administrations – Bill Clinton’s and George H.W. Bush’s – to create a golden look for the tables, which glowed under the candlelight
Touches of gold were used on the menu too, including a golden presidential seal, and a golden fleur-de-lis
Mrs. Trump chose Clinton china services to coordinate with the dinner’s cream and gold color scheme, and Bush china with a green color palette to ‘compliment the spring garden and white flowers that will be featured in the State Dining Room’
The Office of the First Lady has prepared the following details, all carefully selected by First Lady Melania Trump, to complement and pay homage to the long-standing friendship between the United States and France
The Trumps, the Macrons and their guests will dine on food that showcases ‘the best of America’s cuisines and traditions’ with some French influence: the main course is a rack of spring lamb and Carolina Gold rice jambalaya cooked with celery, peppers, onions, and herbs from the South Lawn
Mrs. Trump ‘carefully selected’ all of the details for the state visit and paid particular attention to how the dining room looked
Melania Trump chose 1,200 cheery blossoms to line the Cross Hall, which state dinner guests will walk through to get to the state dining room
Mrs. Trump has also been doing some homework, educating herself about the protocol and history of these sorts of White House events. This is to ensure her selections for the Macrons’ visit have meaning behind them, down to the china, flowers, color scheme and menu, which, while American, will highlight the influence France has had on American cuisine
The giant vases of cherry blossoms are seen Monday night in the Cross Hall as reporters were briefly allowed into the White House to see the set-up for Tuesday night’s state dinner with France
The White House’s Cross Hall was decorated with giant vases of cherry blossoms, in preparation for tomorrow’s state dinner with France
President Bill Clinton’s portrait hangs next to one of Melania Trump’s giant vases of cherry blossoms. Despite their political differences, the first lady used the Clinton china as part of her first state dinner’s place settings
During the Obama years, the White House tried to invite several A and B-listers out of Hollywood to each dinner, along with a number of television personalities and White House reporters.
Obama would also try to invite several Republicans in an effort to break bread across the aisle.
The Washington National Opera will provide the evening’s entertainment.
The Trump administration’s first state dinner comes later than the inaugural dinner of the White House’s two immediate predecessors, with President Obama hosting his first state dinner in November 2009.
That dinner made headlines when two reality television stars – Tareq and Michaele Salahi – crashed the cocktail hour, which led to several security probes.
President George W. Bush hosted his first state dinner on September 5, 2001, six days before the 9/11 terror attacks.
France is getting its turn earlier under Trump than it did under either previous American president, with the last two coming in 2007 and 2014.
Melania Trump highlighted the work her office had done in a Monday morning tweet that said: ‘After months of preparations, @POTUS and I are looking forward to hosting our first State Dinner with France! Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this visit a success.’
She later tweeted several pictures of her ‘checking on the final details,’ which included a look at the cherry blossoms – 1,200 which were used – to decorate the Cross Hall.
On Monday, first lady Melania Trump tweeted out several photos of the preparations she was making for her first state dinner, which will be held Tuesday with the French president and first lady
First lady Melania Trump (center) and social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) go over details for Tuesday’s state dinner with France
First lady Melania Trump gestures toward the large displays of cherry blossoms that were installed for Tuesday’s state dinner with France