Breaking the ice! Obamas welcome five Nordic leaders to the White House for lavish state dinner in show of unity against Putin's military aggression
Five prime ministers were guests of honor for the lavish dinner, which is a show of unity against Russia
They expressed concern about Moscow's military buildup in Baltics and called for continued economic sanctions
Will Ferrell, David Letterman and singer Janelle Monae are among the guests and Demi Lovato will sing after dinner
Guests will feast on chicken and waffles, braised beef short ribs from Nebraska and elderberry custard pie
Michelle Obama dazzled in a Naeem Khan off the shoulder gown - which President Obama accidentally stood on
President Obama and the First Lady have welcomed five Nordic leaders to the White House for a lavish state dinner in a show of unity against Vladimir Putin.
The Obamas first welcomed Icelandic Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson - who has only been in charge of his country for a month - and his wife Ingibjorg Elsa Ingjaldsdottir as they arrived at the North Portico of the White House.
They were swiftly followed by the prime ministers of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway, who were also invited to the unusual - if a little crowded - meeting.
The dinner will send a strong statement to Russia, who the five heads of state earlier slammed for its military buildup in the Baltics as they called for economic sanctions against Moscow to be maintained.
Usually the First Lady opts for a dress made by a designer from the visiting country, but with five heads of state to please, she instead went for the Indian designer.
The president accidentally stepped on his wife's dress as they made their entrance, but she still looked impeccable.
Obama and Prime Minister Johannsson both wore black tuxedos to the dinner, which was originally meant to be attended by former Icelandic leader Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who resigned following protests over his tax arrangements that were exposed in the Panama Papers scandal.
Also at the glitzy dinner were Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.
As the leaders arrived, the Obamas stood outside to greet them, flanked by an honor guard.
But the flags the guardsman held had to be quickly changed five times to avoid the wrong one being flown as each leader arrived.
More than 300 guests - including actor Will Ferrell, David Letterman and former NBA star Alonzo Mourning - were invited to the dinner.
Also expected are Girls actress Allison Williams, Scandal star Bellamy Young and singer Janelle Monae, as well as a smattering of Nordic celebrities.
Instead of sitting around circular tables, the guests will be dining at wooden farm tables set with white china, beveled crystal candlesticks and soaring ice vases with white field flowers.
The dinner is being held in a tent with a transparent ceiling giving guests a view of the night sky - on a cloudy, drizzly evening.
Appetizers included salt-cured tuna along with chicken and waffles. The main course will be braised beef short ribs from Nebraska.
Dessert is an homage to the fishing industry in the form of a blue, glowing, edible fishing boat, displayed with elderberry custard pie, raspberry kringle and gooseberry cookies.
After dinner, they will be serenaded by Demi Lovato.
Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 alarmed its Nordic and Baltic neighbors. With NATO considering ways to try to deter further Russian aggression, the Obama administration wants to show support for its northern European allies.
Obama said the six countries were united in their concern about Russia's 'aggressive military presence' in the Baltic and Nordic regions.
Last month, a Russian jet fighter intercepted a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane flying a routine route over the Baltic Sea, and two Russian jets buzzed a U.S. guided missile destroyer in the sea.
NATO is planning its biggest build-up in eastern Europe since the Cold War to counter what the alliance considers to be a more aggressive Russia. Sweden and Finland are not NATO members.
'We will be maintaining ongoing dialogue and seek cooperation with Russia, but we also want to make sure that we are prepared and strong, and we want to encourage Russia to keep its military activities in full compliance with international obligations,' Obama said after meeting with the leaders.