Thursday, September 12, 2013

Jackie-JFK Wedding 60 Years Ago

September 12, 2013


Newport, Rhode Island (JFK+50) Sixty years ago today, September 12, 1953, Senator John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier exchanged wedding vows at St. Mary's Catholic Church here in Newport.

750 guests crowded into the church where Richard Cushing, the Archbishop of Boston, conducted the ceremony.

The bride was accompanied down the aisle by her step-father, Hugh D. Auchincloss.

Jackie wore an ivory silk gown made by African-American designer Ann LoweThe gown required 50 yards of material and 2 months of work.

Jacqueline also wore a choker of pearls and a diamond bracelet that was a gift from the groom.

The bride's bouquet was of pink and white spray orchids and gardenias.

2000 people crowded the street outside the church before, during and after the ceremony.

Jackie's sister, Lee Canfield, was the matron of honor while her half-sister, Nina Auchincloss, was maid of honor.

Robert F. Kennedy, the groom's brother, was best man.

Ushers included brother Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, brother-in-laws Sargent Shriver and Michael Canfield as well as close friends Lem Billings, Red Fay, Torbert McDonald, Senator George Smathers and Charles Bartlett.

After the wedding ceremony, 1300 guests gathered at Hammersmith Farm overlooking Naragansett Bay for a luncheon reception.

                      JFK and Jackie 
                Hammersmith Farm
             Photo by Toni Frissell
               Library of Congress

The newly weds danced to the Meyer Davis Orchestra playing "I Married An Angel". 

They also sampled the five tier wedding cake which was four feet high.

The young couple honeymooned at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan and  then spent 2 weeks in Acapulco.

Kennedy-Bouvier Wedding Invitation
                         JFK Library

According to Thomas Maier, his his book "The Kennedys:  America's Emerald Kings"....

"The Kennedy family rejoiced when Jack started seriously courting Jacqueline Bouvier.  The couple met at a dinner party but their romance escalated after they attended an inaugural party for...Eisenhower."

Maier continues...

"In Jack's marriage proposal was the unspoken prospect of moving up socially by marrying a Catholic woman whose family was seen as part of the old money, blue-blood set in Newport."

As has been posted previously on JFK+50, JFK proposed to Jackie at Billy Martin's Tavern in Georgetown.

Following is an excerpt from our post about the Proposal Booth at Billy Martin's from September 29, 2011...  

"Booth #3"

"JFK and Jackie frequently dined in Booth #3.  

On June 24, 1953, Jacqueline Bouvier accepted John Kennedy's proposal of marriage.  

Since that day, Booth #3 has been known as the proposal booth."

                     Billy Martin's Tavern
            Photos by John White (2011)


"The Kennedys:  America's Emerald Kings," by Thomas Maier, Basic Books, New York, 2003.


                     JFK Library Photo
                    Library of Congress

Houston, Texas (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy addressed 50,000 people at Rice University stadium 51 years ago today, September 12, 1962, here in Houston.

The President spoke on the topic of space exploration.

JFK said...

"We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won and they must be won and used for the progress of all people."

The President added...

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things.  Not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

Later, President Kennedy spoke at the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation at Lambert Field.


Houston, Texas (JFK+50)  In an attempt to answer some of the questions regarding his attitudes toward government and religion, Senator John F. Kennedy addressed the Greater Houston Ministerial Association 53 years ago today, September 12, 1960, at the Rice Hotel.

The speech came in  the midst of concerns among some protestant groups that a Catholic chief executive would be doing the bidding of the Pope.*

*The only Catholic to be nominated by a major political party in the United States had been Al Smith of New York in 1928.  Smith was decisively defeated by Herbert Hoover in the general election.

Senator Kennedy said:

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute."

JFK said that if he was elected President of the United States, he would base his decisions on...

"what my conscience tells me to be the national interest...without regard to outside religious pressures."