Photos from Washington's premier social event of the year

  • A women steps out of a private vehicle as she prepares to walk down the red carpet at the Washington Hilton as guests, including celebrities and politicians, arrive for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • Spectators congregate in the lobby of the Washington Hilton in an attempt to spot celebrities and politicians arriving for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough talk with guests at the Washington Hilton ahead of the 101st Annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
  • A view of the red carpet at the Washington Hilton as guests, including celebrities and politicians, arrive for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • (L) A pile of wires which connect to television cameras and laptops is seen in the press area near the red carpet at the Washington Hilton as guests, including celebrities and politicians, arrive for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. (R) Actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum poses for photographers on the red carpet at the Washington Hilton.
  • Rev. Al Sharpton arrives at the Washington Hilton for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • Guests including celebrities and politicians arrive for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton.
  • (L) Members of the media seen as guests including celebrities and politicians arrive for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton. (R) Donald Trump arrives for the dinner at the Washington Hilton.
  • Professional tennis players Ilana Kloss (Left) and Billie Jean King (RIGHT) pose for photographers on the red carpet at the Washington Hilton as guests, including celebrities and politicians, arrive for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • A view of the red carpet at the Washington Hilton with Janet Mock at the center as guests, including celebrities and politicians, arrive for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
  • Actress Jane Fonda speaks to a member of the media on the red carpet at the Washington Hilton as guests, including celebrities and politicians, arrive for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • (L) Politicians, media personalities and celebrities attended the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. (R) A guest overlooks the crowd below at the MSNBC after party.
  • Politicians, media personalities and celebrities attended the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • Guest Lauren Lederman makes a wardrobe adjustment at the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • A guest overlooks the crowd below at the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • Politicians, media personalities and celebrities attended the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • Guests on their cellphones during the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • (L) Guests arrive at the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. (R) British DJ Chelsea Leyland takes a picture sitting on the staircase leading to the MSNBC after party.
  • A guest takes a stickless selfie at the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
  • Actor Haley Joel Osment in center and second from right actress Sophie Turner, of Game of Thrones fame, at the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • Guests in the downstairs lounge that was decorated in live flowers and mirrors at the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • Politicians, media personalities and celebrities attended the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • Arthur and Valerie Benjamin use a photo booth at the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • A guest of the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • Shawn Turner, Deputy White House Press Secretary, in the late hour of the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
  • Two guests rest their feet during the MSNBC after party held at the United States Institute of Peace for the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.

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WASHINGTON D.C. - What started as a small dinner for the then all-male members of the White House press corps in the 1920s has become Washington’s premier social event of the year. A star-studded gala that for a weekend makes one of the biggest events in Hollywood 3,000 miles away on the Potomac. 

The White House Correspondents Association annual dinner, dubbed the capital’s “Nerd Prom” or “Washington’s Oscars” is a source of love, criticism, anxiety, festivity, and selfies for the denizens of Washington’s political world. 

Journalists, congressional staffers, administration officials, lobbyists, and strategists get to rub elbows with Hollywood celebrities, who get a political fix and a chance to advance a cause they care about. 

The president traditionally attends the dinner, and fifteen Oval Office occupants have done so since the event started. Comedy is a centerpiece, with both the president and an entertainer – this year it’s “Saturday Night Live” star Cecily Strong – getting a chance to crack up the black tie-clad crowd at the Washington Hilton near Dupont Circle.

Major parties surrounding the event start as early as Thursday night and continue before, during, and after the actual dinner, with festivities continuing to brunch on Sunday. 

The dinner was closed to women even after some joined the correspondent’s association. That changed in 1962, when President John F. Kennedy, on the urging of journalist Helen Thomas, threatened to boycott the event unless they allowed women. 

The event raises thousands of dollars for a scholarship program, whose scholars are honored on stage every year. However, the main draw for most is the glitz, the fashion, and the chance to take pictures with someone famous.

Philip Montgomery is an award-winning documentary photographer based in New York.

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography 

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