Giant blocks of cheese, prom, and party crashers: What it was like at 7 of the most iconic White House parties in US history

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The Princess Of Wales Dancing With John Travolta At The White House, USA In A Midnight Blue Velvet Dress By Fashion Designer Victor Edelstein Watched By President Ronald And Mrs Nancy Reagan. Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images
  • Hosting world leaders and the public alike in the White House is a large part of presidential tradition.
  • From a hungry mob grabbing at a block of cheese to kids’ parties (even a high school prom), the Executive Mansion has nearly seen it all.

The White House contains one of the most important offices in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s all business inside.

Social functions put on by presidents, first ladies, and their families, have been considered an important part of overall policy as A-list celebrities and private citizens are entertained inside America’s most famous house.

See what it was like at some of the most iconic White House bashes in US history:


President Andrew Jackson opened the East Room of the White House to the public so the people could enjoy a 1,400 lb block of cheese he was gifted by a dairy farmer two years earlier. Mobs were said to have hung around for days and caused extensive damage.

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Source: White House Historical Association, The Constitution Center


President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jackie Kennedy hosted a birthday party for daughter Caroline Kennedy and son John Jr. Kennedy on November 27, 1962. The part was full of colourful balloons.

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View of table settings, decorations, and balloons in the (Residence) set up for a joint birthday party for Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr. White House, Washington, D.C. Robert Knudsen/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Held in the President’s Dining Room in the White House residence, the president and first lady were among the party’s approximately 30 attendees.

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Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum


The first lady was on hand at the party to help usher her children’s guests through the East Wing Corridor.

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Source: JFK Library


The United States Marine Band were also at the party, and ended up near the discarded gifts and wrapping paper after the presents had been opened.

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Source: JFK Library


The White House’s Rose Garden was nearly unrecognizable after it got the bridal treatment for President Nixon’s eldest daughter Patricia’s June 12, 1971 wedding.

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Pres. Nixon escorts Tricia to the altar set up in the Rose Garden. Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

Source: The Nixon Foundation


The new couple enjoyed their wedding cake at their reception inside the East Room of the White House, surrounded by nearly 400 guests.

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Tricia Nixon Cox and Edward Cox enjoying their wedding cake at the White House. Frank Hurley/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Source: The White House Historical Association


The whole affair was completed with a father-daughter dance.

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Source: The Nixon Foundation


President Gerald Ford’s daughter Susan held her senior prom at the White House in 1975 for about 75 students from Maryland’s all-girls Holton Arms School.

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Susan Ford and her escort, William Pifer, dance during the 1975 Holton Arms School Senior Prom. © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Source: Vanity Fair


The senior class made the centerpieces and footed the $US1300 total bill for the event, which was complete with Swedish meatballs, a rock band, and a yacht ride.

Source: Vanity Fair


First lady Nancy Reagan threw Ronald Reagan’s surprise 70th birthday party at the White House on February 6, 1981, though reports doubted if the president was really caught off guard or not.

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Ronald Reagan looks dashing to of a group of admiring women, just before blowing out his seventy birthday candles. Owen Franken/Sygma via Getty Images

Source: The Washington Post


The White House hosted 100 guests for the party, including Frank Sinatra, who enjoyed lobster, birthday cake, and dancing.


The Reagans held several high-profile events during their time in the White House, including hosting Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales in November 1985.

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Source: Business Insider


It was at this dinner that Princess Diana famously danced with John Travolta.

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Source: Vanity Fair


The star-studded attendee list included Clint Eastwood, among others.

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Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, visit Washington DC, Gala Dinner at the White House, Clint Eastwood, 9th November 1985. John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama’s first State Dinner to host Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur made headlines in November 2009.

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US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet at the North Portico of the White House November 24, 2009, as the Obamas host their first official State Dinner. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Source: The Obama White House


The dinner included an opulent setup in a tent on the White House’s South Lawn to host the Indian leaders and top members of the Obama administration.

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Source: The Obama White House


However, the event went viral after reports emerged that society fixtures Michaele and Tareq Salahi had crashed the event.

Source: Washingtonian


The couple, who was formerly featured on the short-lived Bravo series Real Housewives of Washington, DC, faced a grand jury investigation for crashing.

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Michaele and Tareq Salahi leave the Halcyon House in Georgetown on December 1, 2009 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times