This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
"The Marine Band was stationed at the large entrance hall and played during the evening, and the apartments on the lower floor were thrown open and decorated. In the East Room the mantels were banked with plants and mosses, and fan and date palms and tropical plants were grouped in angles and window embrasures. Chains of smilax on the chandeliers and mirror frames enhanced the beauty of the apartment. The red, blue and green parlors were similarly decorated with palms and plants, and at the end of the corridor the 8ilver Hiawatha boat, filled with roses, was on an antique marble table.
"The guests arrived before 8 o'clock and were first conducted to the dressing rooms on the upper floors. When all had assembled in the East Parlor the President was summoned, and, descending with Mrs. McElcoy, greated his guests and led the way to the state dining-room with Mrs. Freilinghuysen as the first guest of honor. The state dining-room was appropriately decorated with palms, blooming azalias, and other plants, and the table was ornamented with a large set-piece in flowers, intended as a fanciful representation of the hanging gardens of Babylon. The raised garden overhung the long central mirror which, as a lake with coral grottoes and mossy shores, bore a fleet of tiny boats loaded with roses. The garden, in canopy shape, rose three feet or more from the table and was nearly six feet in length. It was composed of red and white carnations, with banks of Marshal Niel and bon silene roses, set with orchids. At the ends of the mirror lake were tall gilt candelabra, bearing shaded wax lights, and beyond them large crystal bowls, overrunning with long-stemmed roses.
Circular plaques of roses, carnations and lillies of the valley flanked by silver candelabra, were at the extreme ends of the table.
"Theboard was laid for thirty-six covers. Six wine glasses, a water carafe and goblet were at each place, together with the menu cards and boutonnieres for the gentlemen, and large coisage bouquets of roses or lillies of the valley for the ladies. Sixteen courses were served".