Details Essential At White House State DinnerS

The White House state dinner last night was, according to NPR, the "most formal of all dinners." That means protocol was "critical," and no detail was overlooked.

Take the flowers, for instance: NPR's Andrea Seabrook writes:

The first lady said every detail of the decorations has meaning. The flower arrangements of roses, hydrangea and sweet pea blossoms were meant to evoke the classic American garden, while the rich, plum colors paid homage to India's state bird, the Indian peacock.

The dinner was held in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House, and the walls were decorated with locally grown magnolia, ivy and nandina, meant to reflect the Obamas' dedication to sustainability.

Even the tent was not just for added space: "As we all know, in India some of life's most treasured moments are often celebrated under the cover of a beautiful tent. It's a little like tonight," President Obama said.

As for the protocol, Michelle Obama said: "Protocol is critical. Protocol — how you stand, how you sit, who walks where — all of that is really important." There's a certain way to have a state dinner! For instance: honor guards in full dress uniform from all branches of the United States armed forces will be dispatched for ceremonial duty at the White House. There's a receiving line, win which the president introduces the visiting head of state to all of the guests. There's a five course meal (last night, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had plenty of vegetarian options, although prawns were served; desserts included pumpkin pie tart, pear tatin with whipped cream and caramel sauce).

But while the First Lady was entertaining international guests, she was involved in some immigration issues — sort of: Her action figures by Jailbreak Toys — which, as we previously noted, do not come with sleeves — are being detained US Customs and Border Protection. You'd think she was connected enough to know someone who could help with that.

For First Lady, Protocol Critical For State Dinner [NPR]
Pomp, Protocol and a Party Tent [Reuters]
Free Michelle! [Time]
Related: White House Releases State Dinner Guest List [ WaPo]
Earlier: Michelle O. Doll Does Not Come With Sleeves
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