Friday, October 14, 2011

Photos: Behind The Scenes At The State Dinner For The Republic Of Korea

The pre-dinner reception in the Yellow Room, and the musical performances...
The White House has released behind-the-scenes photos taken on Thursday night, as President Obama and First Lady Obama honored President Lee Myung-bak and Mrs. Kim Yoon-ok of the Republic of Korea with an 8:35 PM State Dinner for more than 200 guests in the lavishly decorated East Room. Before the dinner began, there was a reception in the Yellow Room. The First Lady's purple, one-shoulder gown for the evening was created by Korean-American designer Doo-Ri Chung. Mrs. Kim wore a traditional costume from her homeland, as is her habit for formal occasions. (Above: Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Kim chat with guests during the reception)

Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Kim took a diplomatic field trip on Thursday to Annandale High School, to visit with students. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took a "field trip" with President Obama on Wednesday night, joining him as he treated President Lee to a traditional Korean dinner at Woo Lae Oak restaurant in suburban Virginia. (Above, Clinton talks with fellow dinner guests Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Counsel to the President Kathryn Ruemmler during the Yellow Room reception)

The South Korean First Couple arrived at the White House on the tail end of a violent storm, and there was a very brief, soggy Arrival Ceremony under the North Portico, where they were welcomed to the White House by the President and Mrs. Obama.

The dinner menu was a Fall Harvest feast, created by Executive Chef Cris Comerford and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses. They were called to the State Dining Room and introduced to guests at the end of the dinner. Click here for a behind-the-scenes video about dinner preparations. (Above: The Presidential Couples with their translators at the Head Table, which seated twenty).

Other than the principles, all guests were seated at round tables for ten, and the color scheme spotlighted Fall: Reds, greens, oranges. The lavish autumnal decor for the evening was created by a professional design firm hired by the White House, and the inspiration was '"American Hospitality," the White House said.

During the Dinner Toasts, the two Presidents spoke of "bonds of the heart," and their mutual affection.

After dinner, guests were treated to a reception in the State Dining Room at 10:00 PM. The Ahn Trio, sisters who were born in South Korea and who play piano, violin, and cello, performed. Singer/songwriter Janelle Monáe, of Kansas City, KS, performed with her band. All four dined during the State Dinner with the guests. (Above, during the performances, from left: Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Mrs. Obama, President Lee, President Obama, and Mrs. Kim)

Guests included lawmakers, Cabinet Secretaries, some famous faces from the media, tennis legend Billie Jean King, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, high-profile business executives, the Korean delegations, and notable Korean Americans. Two guests got a Presidential shout out during the dinner toasts: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and Ambassador Sung Kim, the first Korean-American ambassador to the Republic of Korea, who was confirmed by the Senate today. (Above: The Ahn Trio performing)

At the end of the evening, the President and Mrs. Obama bid their counterparts farewell in the Diplomatic Reception Room. Today, Mr. Obama and Mr. Lee are traveling to the Detroit, Michigan area to tour an auto plant. (Above: The farewells)

*A post about the morning State Visit Arrival Ceremony is here. The Presidents' joint news conference is here.

*Photos by Pete Souza/White House