How State Dinners Work

The Festivities

Official state place settings in china, silver, and linens
Official state place settings in china, silver, and linens
Courtesy Photo

As an event begins, security directs mansion traffic, someone from the mansion staff greets guests, and trustees are available to check coats. "Regardless of what's going on behind the scenes, we want things to seem as effortless as possible," said Cilley. The staff strives to achieve a natural flow for the evening. Tables are served one at a time by four servers each carrying two plates while staff and trustees circulate to get an impression of how the guests are enjoying dinner, to refill iced tea and water, and to cue the kitchen staff when the guests appear ready for the next course or for cleanup.

When the last guest is gone at the end of the night -- regardless of the time -- the clean-up begins! The dishes are put in the kitchen dumbwaiter and sent down to the commercial dishwasher located in the mansion basement. Table linens and napkins are sent upstairs to the laundry facility, and tables are taken down and stored. Any furniture that was moved before the event is put back into place. Tomorrow, the people will come to visit the mansion, and the day will start all over again.

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