WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 24: U.S President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania Trump greet French President Emmanuel Macron and French first lady Brigitte Macron after their arrival at the North Portico before a State Dinner at the White House, April 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump is hosting Macron for a two-day official visit that included dinner at George Washington's Mount Vernon, a tree planting on the White House South Lawn and a joint news conference. (Photo by Alex Edelman-Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Alex Edelman/Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 24: U.S President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania Trump greet French President Emmanuel Macron and French first lady Brigitte Macron after their arrival at the North Portico before a State Dinner at the White House, April 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump is hosting Macron for a two-day official visit that included dinner at George Washington's Mount Vernon, a tree planting on the White House South Lawn and a joint news conference. (Photo by Alex Edelman-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:42
Trumps welcome Macrons to first state dinner
PHOTO: ABC News
Now playing
02:30
Melania Trump speaks out in candid interview
Melania Trump phone advice sot vpx_00010312.jpg
PHOTO: CNN
Melania Trump phone advice sot vpx_00010312.jpg
Now playing
01:05
Melania jokes: I've told him to put phone down
PHOTO: ABC
Now playing
01:53
Melania dismisses media reports: 'We are fine'
melania trump
PHOTO: ABC
melania trump
Now playing
01:47
Melania discusses husband's immigration policies
PHOTO: ABC News
Now playing
01:14
Melania: Accusers need evidence of sex assault
U.S. first lady Melania Trump takes a safari in Nairobi, Kenya, October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
PHOTO: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
U.S. first lady Melania Trump takes a safari in Nairobi, Kenya, October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Now playing
00:29
Melania responds to hat controversy
PHOTO: Reuters
Now playing
00:31
Melania Trump gets bumped by elephant
Now playing
00:59
Melania Trump: Kavanaugh is highly qualified
US First Lady Melania Trump announces her "Be Best" children's initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, May 7, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
US First Lady Melania Trump announces her "Be Best" children's initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, May 7, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:15
Melania continues work against cyberbullying
Viktor Knavs and Amalija Knavs, parents of US first lady Melania Trump, arrive at the White House with the first family on June 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.
PHOTO: Pool/Getty Images
Viktor Knavs and Amalija Knavs, parents of US first lady Melania Trump, arrive at the White House with the first family on June 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
00:42
Melania Trump's parents become US citizens
First lady Melania Trump arrives to board a plane at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Thursday, June 21, 2018, to travel to Texas to visit the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
PHOTO: Andrew Harnik/AP
First lady Melania Trump arrives to board a plane at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Thursday, June 21, 2018, to travel to Texas to visit the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Now playing
01:49
Melania dons jacket saying 'I really don't care. Do U?'
Melania Trump visits detention center in Texas
PHOTO: POOL
Melania Trump visits detention center in Texas
Now playing
01:07
Melania Trump makes surprise visit to border
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 13: U.S. First Lady Melania Trump plays bowls she meets British military veterans known as "Chelsea Pensioners" at Royal Hospital Chelsea on July 13, 2018 in London, England. America's First Lady visited the Chelsea Pensioners while her husband, President Donald Trump, held bi-lateral talks with Theresa May at the Prime Minister's Country Residence.  The Chelsea Pensioners are British Army personnel who are cared for at at the Services retirement home at The Royal Hospital in London. (Photo by Luca Bruno - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Luca Bruno/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 13: U.S. First Lady Melania Trump plays bowls she meets British military veterans known as "Chelsea Pensioners" at Royal Hospital Chelsea on July 13, 2018 in London, England. America's First Lady visited the Chelsea Pensioners while her husband, President Donald Trump, held bi-lateral talks with Theresa May at the Prime Minister's Country Residence. The Chelsea Pensioners are British Army personnel who are cared for at at the Services retirement home at The Royal Hospital in London. (Photo by Luca Bruno - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:38
Melania says a lot with very few words
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 5: (AFP OUT) First Lady Melania Trump attends a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House  March 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. The prime minister is on an official visit to the US until the end of the week. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 5: (AFP OUT) First Lady Melania Trump attends a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House March 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. The prime minister is on an official visit to the US until the end of the week. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:59
Melania Trump weighs in on immigration
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 07:  U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives in the Rose Garden to speak at the White House May 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump outlined her new initiatives, known as the Be Best program, as first lady during the event.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Win McNamee/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 07: U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives in the Rose Garden to speak at the White House May 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump outlined her new initiatives, known as the Be Best program, as first lady during the event. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:12
First lady returns home after hospital stay
(CNN) —  

When President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived on the White House South Lawn Tuesday morning to formally welcome French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, one thing was clear: The first lady commanded attention.

Without speaking a word, dressed in a white Michael Kors Collection asymmetrical blazer and skirt – and an eye-catching, custom-made Hervé Pierre hat – Melania Trump spoke volumes. This was her house, her dinner and her terms.

It has truly been a spotlight week for the first lady, kicking off with her attendance at Barbara Bush’s funeral, the sole White House representation joining other first ladies and former presidents and culminating with her first state dinner. In many ways, the events showcased Melania Trump’s contrasts with her husband – where he is impulsive, she is meticulous; where he is combative, she is compassionate.

The Trumps pose with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte before Tuesday's dinner.
PHOTO: Andrew Harnik/AP
The Trumps pose with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte before Tuesday's dinner.

The first lady paid homage to France with a Chanel Haute Couture gown, hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystals and sequins. Dresses for state level events are allowed to be gifted by the designer to be worn at the occasion and then are the property of the National Archives.

READ: The complete guest list for Trump’s first state dinner

The President gave his wife a warm thank you for all her efforts on the dinner during his toast Tuesday night.

“To America’s absolutely incredible first lady, thank you for making this an evening we will always cherish and remember. Thank you, Melania,” he said to applause.

US President Donald Trump shares a toast with French President Emmanuel Macron, April 24, 2018.
PHOTO: Pool/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump shares a toast with French President Emmanuel Macron, April 24, 2018.
The State Dining Room ahead of Tuesday's dinner.
PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
The State Dining Room ahead of Tuesday's dinner.

Leading up to the state dinner, Trump spent weeks educating herself about the protocol and history of special White House occasions. The tradition of the state dinner dates back to the Grant administration in 1874, and this will be the 14th time the White House has hosted France for a state dinner, per the White House Historical Association.

Every last detail for Tuesday evening’s state dinner has been thoughtfully and carefully overseen by the first lady, who, unlike some of her predecessors, did not hire an event planner or other outside consultants for the event.

“Mrs. Trump selected every item and every detail for the dinner,” White House social secretary Rickie Niceta told CNN.

Relying solely on her own research and aesthetic instincts, Trump crafted a cream and gold color scheme, with details spanning the patterns on the chair cushions to the honey with dessert made by bees in the White House hive.

Each of her selections for the Macrons’ visit was chosen with meaning behind it, down to the china (from the Clinton presidential era), flowers (white sweet peas and 1,200 branches of cherry blossoms), and menu (rack of lamb with accompanying Cajun-spiced jambalaya, with herbs from the White House Kitchen Garden).

Tuesday's menu
PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Tuesday's menu

Quelle surprise?

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Trump wanted to take ownership of planning the dinner; her design background and experience in New York’s social circles and entertaining at her multiple homes make her well-suited to set the stage for a diplomatic dinner party on a grand scale. Here, she clearly felt empowered by her personal expertise, something that has been relatively absent in most of her role to date as first lady.

Prior to her husband taking office, Trump was an unfamiliar political spouse, a very private woman who had spent several years being a full-time mother. But with the state dinner, she had the chance to set the tone for one new thing in her husband’s somewhat tumultuous administration.

Trump also chose to hold the intimate dinner in the State Dining Room, which can accommodate 100 to 150 seated guests, rather than tent a larger space outside on the lawn to allow for more people, something Michelle and Barack Obama opted to do for their last couple of state dinners.

“She has been very focused on the experience of the guests, and wants to ensure they are able to truly enjoy and remember the occasion. When you are invited to a dinner at the White House, it is very special to be able to sit in the State Dining Room. After all, this is the People’s House, which is rich with history and tradition,” East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham said.

Every detail, per the office of the first lady, was meant to “complement and pay homage to the long-standing friendship between the United States and France.”

Even the wine selection was chosen with the French-American relationship in mind. The Domaine Serene Chardonnay “Evenstad Reserve” 2015 was grown from French plants from Dijon “that thrive in the volcanic Oregon soil.” The Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir “Laurène” 2014 “uses the motto ‘French soul–Oregon soil.’”

Following a less formal dinner with the Macrons at Mount Vernon on Monday evening, the first lady hopped off the Marine One helicopter and did one final late-night run-through, personally inspecting each detail, including the white lilac centerpieces, the dripless candles and the entry to the evening, a grand hallway decked out in soft light and pink florals.

While reports have indicated that no Democrats from Congress were invited to the affair, the first lady made a subtle nod to bipartisanship: Guests will dine on Bill Clinton and George W. Bush presidential china settings.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by the Washington National Opera.

La musée

PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Following the morning arrival ceremony and “review of the troops,” Melania Trump hosted Brigitte Macron on a outing at the nearby National Gallery of Art.

While the President jokingly brushed “dandruff” off his French counterpart’s shoulder, the first ladies had a decidedly more dignified public visit. They toured the museum, including an exhibit showcasing French post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne.

“Paul Cézanne’s work is a celebration,” Trump said in a statement. “It was perfect timing to have these exquisite paintings in Washington while Mrs. Macron was in town.”

The two also viewed the impressionist galleries, including the works of American artist Mary Cassatt, who worked in Paris in the 19th century.

The women kept a casual pace, listening attentively to museum officials.

Les cadeaux

One of the most challenging aspects in planning a state visit is the selection of the perfect gift for a visiting world leader. Following protocol and preserving tradition was a priority for Trump, who sought to highlight history with her gift choice.

The Trumps presented the Macrons with a framed section of upholstery from one of the chairs in the White House Blue Room. Featuring a golden eagle surrounded by laurels, the chair was part of the furniture suite inspired by Pierre-Antoine Bellangé, who designed royal palaces in France and created the 53 carved and gilded pieces for the Blue Room, which he was commissioned to create by President James Monroe. Monroe had previously served as a diplomat in France and had taken a shine to French décor.

Though President James Buchanan got rid of the set in a redecoration decades later, it was first lady Jackie Kennedy who found the spare pieces and brought them back during her quest to restore the White House. Kennedy worked with a French designer to reproduce missing items, including re-creating the fabric through the French textile firm Tassinari and Châtel.

The Trumps will also give the Macrons a photo album upon their departure with pictures of their visit, as well as a Tiffany & Co. silver bowl engraved with the presidential seal and the signatures of both Trumps.

That thoughtfulness is being reciprocated by the Macrons, who on Monday presented the Trumps with a 4½-foot-tall European sessile oak sapling from Belleau Wood, in Aisne, France, the site of a landmark World War I battle in June 1918, where nearly 10,000 US Marines and soldiers were killed or wounded. The Macrons and the Trumps planted the oak on the White House South Lawn together on Monday afternoon.

La diplomate

Over the last week – and the first year of the administration – Melania Trump has practiced a quiet diplomacy at contrast with her husband, not hesitating to assert her independence and saying more with her fashion choices, her selective public appearances and her attention to details than with her words.

On Saturday, she entered a lion’s den of his political rivals, traveling to Houston to pay her respects to the late Barbara Bush. She fit in with the group, many of whom the President has directly criticized, in a way her husband never could have.

Seated next to Barack Obama, the former president made the first lady crack a brief smile. She even stood, smiling, for a photo with the whole group of former presidents and first ladies.

The services for Bush capped a week that included hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife for two days at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.