It's not especially unusual for the president to send a message to the Senate. When he does, there is often a traditional ceremony where the parliamentarian, standing with the message at the back of the chamber, grandly announces, "Mr. President, a message from the president of the United States."

Yesterday, Sara Currence Emery, a special assistant to the executive clerk at the White House, was standing next to the parliamentarian. She said, "Mr. President, I am directed by the president of the United States to deliver to the Senate a message in writing." With that, she became the first woman ever to deliver officially a communication from the president to the Senate, according to both the White House and Senate Parliamentarian Robert Dove.

Emery, who has worked at the White House 17 years, dating back to the Nixon administration, was delivering President Reagan's nomination of Chris Hicks to become general counsel at the Agriculture Department. The Senate, aware of the historic significance of the moment, suspended a quorum call to receive the message, and West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd pointed out that Emery was from Marlinton, W.Va., and a graduate of West Virginia University. Where the Stars Are

It's another glittery weekend for Washington as Broadway stars come into town in preparation for Monday's second annual Helen Hayes Awards at National Theatre. The masters of ceremonies for the evening, Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach, are checking in at the Watergate Hotel, as is actress Eva Marie Saint and her husband, director Jeffrey Hayden. Jason Robards, Eileen Brennan, Jose' Quintero and Julie Harris are all to be at the Jefferson Hotel.

Frances Sternhagen and set designer Ming Cho Lee are to be at the Westin Hotel, while Richard Kiley is to stay at his favorite place, Guest Quarters on New Hampshire Avenue. Singer Barbara Cook, who will be performing at the awards, is booked for the Madison Hotel, as is Avner the Eccentric. At the Bristol Hotel will be Vincent Price, Edward Herrmann and Keene Curtis. Curtis stayed there while performing in "La Cage aux Folles." Rosemary Harris and Roy Dotrice, who are currently starring in "Hay Fever" at the Kennedy Center, are at the Georgetown Mews. Former Washingtonian Helen Hayes will be staying with friends, while former Arena Stage actor Robert Prosky will be in his Northeast home. Washingtonian Lena Horne, who was to be present, won't be there because she is reportedly under doctor's care for exhaustion. Why Sly's Missing Cannes

Somehow word got out yesterday that Sylvester Stallone of "Rambo" fame would not attend next month's Cannes Film Festival because he was afraid of terrorist attacks. In fact he is not going, but the reason has nothing to do with fear. "He never had the intention of going," his publicist said. Along with Stallone, it was also said that Steven Spielberg, whose film "The Color Purple" is scheduled to be screened at the festival, had gone back on plans to attend. A spokesman said that was true, but that it was "strictly for personal reasons" and had nothing to do with the post-Libyan attack tensions. End Notes

Who would have thought anyone would go to syndicated columnist George F. Will for sartorial advice? Will has told Gentlemen's Quarterly magazine in the May issue that he began wearing bow ties in the 1960s when "men's ties became fat and ugly" and because he likes the looks of them. "Besides," he says, "most of my pinups were of Churchill." Will says red is the color for Washington power ties. "If you want to be a serious person in Washington, you wear red." Asked if Republicans and Democrats dress the same, he answers, "They actually think the same too, but we're not allowed to say that" . . .

President Reagan announced that he will present seven Presidential Medals of Freedom May 12 at the White House. Receiving the nation's highest civilian award will be Dr. Albert Sabin, who discovered the oral polio vaccine; retired Gen. Matthew Ridgway; actress Helen Hayes; journalist Vermont Royster; Sen. Barry Goldwater; former Dartmouth and West Point football coach Earl H. (Red) Blaik; and publisher Walter H. Annenberg, the president's friend and a former ambassador to Great Britain . . .

In the Diplomatic Lobby of the State Department, some people have been surprised to note that the Libyan flag is still among the flags of all the nations with whom the United States maintains diplomatic relations. Joe Reap, a State Department spokesman, said Libya has no diplomatic representation in the United States but that "technically, diplomatic relations still exist . . . they are at their lowest possible level. It is nothing tangible" . . .