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 The first state dinner for a foreign head of state was held by President and Mrs. Ulyses S. Grant on December 12,1874 for King Kalakaua of Hawaii.

 

Since that first dinner, many traditions have been added to state and official visits - yet the common theme of forging friendships, exchanging knowledge and building bridges that last for years to come remain unchanged. State dinners require about two months of preperation and a staff of over 100 - including 36 waiters.

 

State dinner related documents from the Reagan Library:

Invitation (page 2)