Party Tents

State Dinner Makes a Splash

Obama's first State dinner went off without a hitch, although rain forced the welcoming ceremony for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inside. Nearly everything about the dinner was symbolic, from the use of bipartisan Clinton and Bush presidential china to the sustainably harvested decorations of magnolia (native to both India and the U.S) to the meatless menu featuring arugula grown in the White House garden and pumpkin tart as an homage to Thanksgiving. The 338-member guest list was studded with celebrities like Stephen Spielberg, famous Indian-Americans such as writer Jumpa Lahiri and Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, as well as policy wonks and members of the media. The event was held in an outdoor tent to accommodate the large number of invitees, which included Hillary Clinton, but not her husband. The first lady dazzled in a gold strapless gown by Indian-American designer Naeem Khan, while Washington's most eligible bachelor, Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau (one of People's 100 Most Beautiful People of 2009) attended the festivities without a date, and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania experienced a wardrobe malfunction on the red carpet when his cummerbund dropped to the ground as he posed before a coterie of photographers.