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Melania Trump's first state dinner: Chanel, intimate guest list, one Democratic politician

Hollywood celebrities have long been invited to White House state dinners. The Trumps hosted their first state dinner Tuesday night for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte. The guest list is being kept secret by the White House and will be released the moment the first guest arrives for dinner.
Hollywood celebrities have long been invited to White House state dinners. The Trumps hosted their first state dinner Tuesday night for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte. The guest list is being kept secret by the White House and will be released the moment the first guest arrives for dinner. Twitter/Melania Trump

Blake Shelton took Gwen Stefani as his date. Jerry Seinfeld was there with his wife, Jessica.

So was Chance the Rapper, Rachael Ray and designer Giorgio Armani — looking quite dapper, of course.

It was Oct. 18, 2016, the last state dinner Michelle and Barack Obama hosted at the White House and the guest list was as glittery as the rose gold Atelier Versace the first lady wore.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump hosted their first state dinner Tuesday night for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte. And while the evening lacked star power, it was packed with elegance.

Melania Trump set the tone, wearing a glamorous haute couture Chanel gown, hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystals and sequins, reported CNN's Kate Bennett.

Hervé Pierre designs for a very specific customer: First Lady Melania Trump. We take you inside his New York City studio.

Breaking with tradition, the guest list was kept secret until after people began arriving. Along with members of the administration, notables included Apple CEO Tim Cook, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his wife, Jerry Hall, and Olympic curler John Shuster and women's hockey player Meghan Duggan, who brought along their gold medals.

Another break with tradition: No Democratic congressional leaders were invited. Only one Democrat reportedly made the guest list - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana first lady Donna Edwards.

Hollywood celebrities have long been invited to White House state dinners. Thanks to his Hollywood roots, Nancy and Ronald Reagan, who hosted more than 50 state dinners, were known for their star-studded guests lists.

Nancy danced in Frank Sinatra's arms at one dinner before her husband cut in.

The Reagans, in fact, threw the dinner that produced arguably the most iconic photograph of any celebrities partying at the White House: John Travolta taking Princess Diana for a spin on the dance floor in November 1985.

Neil Diamond, Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck and Mikhail Baryshnikov were just a few of the stars there on that memorable night, dining on lobster mousse.

The Reagans, Clintons and Obamas invited more celebrities to their state dinners than most administrations, according to NPR.

Over the years stars have both dined as guests and provided the entertainment. At a 1977 state dinner for Latin American heads of state hosted by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Isaac Stern and Andre Previn performed a duet.

Elton John and Stevie Wonder performed at a 1998 state dinner for British Prime Minister Tony Blair hosted by Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The Kennedy Center's Washington National Opera is expected to perform at the Trump state dinner.

Putting together a state dinner guest list is tricky, and anyone lucky enough to score an invite better have a darn good excuse for declining.

"If you are invited to a state dinner, you are only supposed to reject that honor for four reasons: a death in the family, a serious illness, a wedding, or an unavoidable absence from Washington," Mary Mel French, chief of protocol under President Bill Clinton, told Vanity Fair.

"Other than that, you are supposed to do the president the honor of attending his dinner, no matter who the president is. It isn’t about the person — it’s about the institution."

Tonight's dinner at the White House was to be held in the State Dining Room, which seats 120 people. After places are allocated to the honored guests and members of the administration, that leaves space for only 40 couples, according to The White House Historical Association.

"Not many when you consider people who should be invited as well as people who would make for an interesting and entertaining evening," the association notes.

Richard and Pat Nixon were known for their "entertaining" dinners and loved throwing parties, hosting 42 state dinners and many privately funded parties. State dinners are paid for by the State Department.

In 1969 they threw a gala to honor the crew of Apollo 11 after their mission to the moon. The event was so elaborate the Los Angeles Times called it the "dinner of the century."

More than 1,400 guests partied in the Los Angeles Ballroom of L.A.'s Century Plaza Hotel.

"Over 50 members of Congress, representatives from 83 foreign nations and 14 members of the President’s Cabinet attended the star-studded gala, often recognized as one of the greatest — if not the greatest — state dinners held outside of Washington," notes the website of the Richard Nixon Foundation.

"One thousand four hundred and forty people attended this glamorous occasion, including the astronaut’s families, space and aviation pioneers, space-related committees, and the greatest stars of Hollywood."

The Clintons, too, had a reputation for starry state dinners, hosting 29 during Bill Clinton's two terms. They were big parties, many held in a tent behind the White House, and the guest lists were typically studded with celebrities from the arts and pop culture.

The foodie website Chowhound included the Clintons' state dinner in 1994 for Nelson Mandela on a list of the most elaborate state dinners in White House history.

The evening was such a hot-ticket affair that the dinner was moved to the larger East Room. The guest list included Maya Angelou, Harry Belafonte, Blair Underwood and Whitney Houston, who performed some of her greatest hits in a tent set up in the Rose Garden before the dancing began. She finished with "Greatest Love of All," blowing kisses toward Mandela.

George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush hosted only six state dinners, but one involved tiaras. The Bushes honored Queen Elizabeth II with a white-tie dinner in May 2007. Sports stars Peyton Manning and Arnold Palmer scored invites. Itzhak Perlman performed after dinner.

At the last minute, the first lady invited jockey Calvin Borel, who had won the Kentucky Derby just days before, acknowledging the queen's love of horses.

When the Obamas left office, Marie Claire magazine ran a photo gallery of "every celebrity look from every state dinner the Obamas ever hosted."

That list was long, including but not limited to: George Clooney, Jackie Chan, Idris Elba, Janelle Monae, Common, Will Ferrell, Barbra Streisand, James Brolin, Al Roker, Misty Copeland, Whoopi Goldberg, Bradley Cooper, Mary J. Blige, Shonda Rhimes, Russell Wilson, Ciara, Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, George Lopez, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Stephen Colbert, Billie Jean King, James Taylor, Diane Sawyer, Michelle Kwan, Vera Wang, Eva Longoria and Katie Couric.

Michael J. Fox, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively attended the state dinner for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, also the first state dinner attended by first daughters Malia and Sasha.

Celebrities with Nordic connections were invited to the huge 2016 dinner honoring the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, one of the largest state dinners ever held.

Will Ferrell, whose wife, Viveca Paulin, is a native of Sweden, attended, along with David Letterman, Tracee Ellis Ross, "Scandal" star Bellamy Young, comedian Billy Eichner and "Nashville" star Connie Britton.

Everything about the Trump state dinner — from the china to the guest list — will make a statement about who they are, but will especially set a tone for the first lady, Kate Andersen Brower, author of "First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies," told NPR.

"It's much more than just a dinner," said Brower. "Laura Bush said she wasn't nervous before her own wedding but she was nervous before the first state dinner with the Mexican president. I think it's a lot of pressure."

With overcast skies and temperatures in the 40s, President Donald Trump declared it was "perfect weather" on Monday for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. Nearly 30,000 parents and children were expected to participate in the all-day event.

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