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Aide's wedding gown gets second life at state dinner

Semonti Stephens in her wedding lehenga. (Studio 306)

Almost no one gets to wear their wedding dress twice -- except Semonti Stephens, deputy press secretary to Michelle Obama. Stephens, whose parents emigrated from Calcutta to the United States in the late '60s, will wear a traditional lehenga to Tuesday's state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh -- the same three-piece gown she wore for her May 24 wedding. Lucky, huh? "I'm considered junior staff here," Stephens told us. "It's a honor to be included in such a historical event."

By The Reliable Source  |  November 24, 2009; 1:02 AM ET
Categories:  Politics  
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ummm...that's not really that big of news. most indian girls will wear their wedding or reception sari or lehenga multiple times in their lives. it's definitely more practical than the "wear it once" white wedding dresses of the westerners. i find it hilarious that this is even being reported on!

Posted by: spd279 | November 24, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Ummm...I find it hilarious that if it's not that big of news that you are taking the time to write a comment. Next time you are having dinner with the Prime Minister and get to wear your lehenga, we'll make sure not to make a big deal about it.

Congrats Semonti! You are beautiful!

Posted by: rstar1 | November 24, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Does no one remember that it wasn't until sometime after the Second World War that wedding dresses didn't regularly make repeat appearances, especially at high-protocol events like state dinners?

To pick just one notable example, first daughter Alice Roosevelt (later Longworth) wore the dress from her White House wedding on, if memory serves, at least two foreign tours (not to mention multiple parties in Washington, New York, and Oyster Bay) - meaning it turned up at the courts of Edward VII, the Kaiser, the Empress Dowager of China, and the Emperor of Japan.

Congratulations to this very sensible - and beautifully dressed - young lady.

Posted by: Muscato | November 24, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, it is big news to be able to attend the first state dinner of this presidency, let alone wear a traditional outfit, that is your wedding outfit. Also, not as many Indian girls get to wear their wedding outfits either, usually because they are too extravagant to wear to other functions. So lucky her!

Also, thank you to the writer for calling the outfit by its correct name ("lengha"), instead of incorrectly calling it a "sari," which other websites/posts are doing.

Posted by: AU42 | November 25, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

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