President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will host French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, at the White House on Dec. 1 for Biden's first state dinner, the White House said Monday.
The dinner will "underscore the deep and enduring relationship between the United States and France, our oldest ally, founded on our shared democratic values, economic ties, and defense and security cooperation, said press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Jean-Pierre also said the leaders will talk about "continued close partnership on shared global challenges and areas of bilateral interest."
She noted that COVID played a role in delaying Biden's first state dinner. The dinner is occurring at nearly halfway of Biden's presidency.
Here is what you need to know about White House state dinners.
What is a state dinner?
A state dinner, which showcases power and influence, gives the president and first lady the chance to honor a world leader with their spouse, according to the White House Historical Association.
Trump and Macron state dinner: President Trump after picking something off Macron's suit: 'We have to make him perfect'
Macron: President Trump after picking something off Macron's suit: 'We have to make him perfect'
History of state dinners
President Ulysses S. Grant held the first White House state dinner in December 1874.
He hosted King David Kalakaua of the Kingdom of Hawai'i.
The White House has hosted many notable world leaders at state dinners.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt hosted King George VI of the United Kingdom in June 1939.
Former President Ronald Reagan hosted General Secretary Mikhail S. Gorbachev of the Soviet Union in December 1987.
Former President George W. Bush in 2001 held a white-tie state dinner for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, "to mark the 400th anniversary of the English settlement of Jamestown, Virginia," the White House Historical Association said.
Has Macron been invited to a White House state dinner before?
Former President Donald Trump hosted Macron at a state dinner in April 2018, Trump's first official state dinner.
Who is invited to a state dinner?
Ambassadors, diplomats and members of Congress are among guests that have been invited to state dinners in the past.
It is not uncommon to see celebrities attending, and that there is often entertainment from a noted musician, group or production
How many people typically attend?
The White House Historical Association says that the room where the event takes place usually seats 120 people.
Where are they held?
The dinner is has often been held in the state dining room at the White House. They also have been held in the East Room, and during former President Barack Obama's years, in a tent on the grounds.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What you need to know about White House state dinners