WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi toasted incoming congressional freshmen at a welcome reception Sunday and told them to "cherish the moment" of their arrival on Capitol Hill, an attendee told CNN.
Pelosi also invited members to tour her well-appointed offices, said Rep.-elect Karen Bass, D-California.
"She welcomed everybody here, gave us a toast, and invited us all to visit her office," Bass said. "She said she actually hadn't visited the speaker's office until she became speaker, so she was welcoming us in from day one."
Other elected officials including Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, and local Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-District of Columbia, also joined the party, though Cantor told CNN he was not planning to make a speech.
Many of the newly-elected members had changed into evening attire for the reception, which was to be followed by dinner. Perhaps the most buzzed-about member, Republican Kristy Noem of South Dakota, wore a knee-length emerald green dress with a black cardigan.
Some had arrived at the hotel in comfort wear. Former MTV star Rep.-elect Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin, checked into the hotel in jeans and carried a baby through the lobby.
After the reception a row of tour buses lined up outside the hotel to ferry the soon-to-be congressional lawmakers and their spouses to evening events.
Congressman-elect Ben Quayle, a Republican from Arizona, son of the former vice president, laughed when CNN asked if the orientation was old hat to the son of a politician.
"No, it's all new," he said.
The rest of the week will be spent attending orientation meetings, preparing for the new term and observing the congressional lame duck session.