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Melania Trump Goes All Out For State Dinner: Presidential China, 1200 Cherry Blossom Branches, Opera

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French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte have just arrived in the United States for their first official state visit with President Trump and First Lady Melania. 

JUST IN: French President Macron arrives in the US for his first official state visit with President Trump. pic.twitter.com/j8TpAUCIfm

— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 23, 2018

To prepare for Tuesday night's State Dinner - the Trump administration's first - Melania went all out, curiously doing so without the help of an event planner as previous first ladies have used.

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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.
"Mrs. Trump selected every item and every detail for the dinner, from the entrée to the chair cushions," said Niceta. -CNN

Preparation began seven months ago, when Melania began cooking up gift ideas - such as a framed section of upholstery from one of the chairs in the White House Blue Room, created by French designer Pierre-Antoine Bellangé as one of 53 pieces commissioned for the room by President James Monroe. 

The Macrons will also receive a photo album upon their departure, full of pictures of their visit - along with an engraved Tiffany & Co. silver bowl which bears the presidential seal and the signatures of both Trumps.

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For the lavish dinner in the State Dining Room, Melania is laying out Tiffany silver, a china set used by Bush 43 and President Clinton, and over 1,200 cherry blossom branches. 

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. 🇺🇸 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/j7fKmUhISJ

— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) April 23, 2018

"[The first lady] has a background in design, which played a major role in the décor throughout the State floor," Grisham adds of Trump's hands-on approach. "She has been very focused on the experience of the guests, and wants to ensure they are able to truly enjoy and remember the occasion. When you are invited to a dinner at the White House, it is very special to be able to sit in the State Dining Room. After all, this is the People's house, which is rich with history and tradition." -CNN

Served for dinner will be a first course of goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles and young variegated lettuces. For the main course, the Macrons and the Trumps will dine on rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise and Carolina Gold rice jambalaya. Dessert will consist of a nectarine tart served with crème fraiche ice cream. 

Whet your appetite. WH announces menu for Tuesday night's State Dinner for French Pres and Mme Macron: pic.twitter.com/AHzVE9iUlN

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 23, 2018

A reported 500 troops will also be on hand for the Macrons' arrival, after which the first families will take a helicopter tour of various D.C. monuments in Marine One. 

How can Melania top the July dinner the Macrons planned at Eiffel Tower?

—500 troops at arrival
—M1 tour of DC monuments
—plant tree from WWI’s Belleau Woods
—state dinner with Bush 43 and Clinton china, Tiffany silver, 1,200 cherry blossom branches
—National Opera performance. pic.twitter.com/5NpmM3YdQo

— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) April 23, 2018

The Macrons will be giving the Trumps a four-and-a-half-foot tall European sessile oak sapling from a World War 1 battle site in Asine, France - where nearly 10,000 US marines and Army soldiers were killed or wounded. The first families will plant the tree together. 

To pull off the event, Melania has assembled a "close-knit" team of 10 people in the East Wing. "The team is small, but mighty" says the first lady's communications director, Stephanie Grisham.

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The Trumps are opting for a slimmed-down dinner of around 150 people - with no invites going to Congressional Democrats or members of the press

As Politico reports, “It is a break with tradition,” said Lea Berman, who was White House social secretary under Bush and wrote the etiquette guide “Treating People Well” with Obama social secretary Jeremy Bernard.

Yes, odd that Trump would invite the same people who have been trying to destroy him for over two years. 

This year, the entire Democratic caucus was shut out, including Trump’s own home-state senator and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Members of the media, too, have been left off the invite list, according to a White House official. Absent will be the Hollywood stars who regularly graced Obama events.

In total, only about 150 people are expected to attend next week’s dinner. Ryan; the two Republican senators from Louisiana, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy; and House Foreign Affairs Chair Ed Royce will be the only members of Congress attending, according to a person familiar with the guest list. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was invited, but will not be able to attend, his office said. -Politico

Despite CNN's report that Melania has been educating herself on the "protocol and history" of the event, Bernard seems very salty over the whole thing. 

“A lot of traditions are not being as closely honored as they have been in the past,” Bernard told Politico. “It seems to be opposite of tradition but that’s their prerogative ... It certainly doesn’t add any feeling of harmony, that’s for sure.”

No word from Bernard on how closely Obama honored tradition for his official portrait - but hey, it was his prerogative.

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