I read in the paper this past week that September 12, 2007 would have been the 54th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, and it got me to wondering about the wedding ceremony of this unforgettable couple. A wedding that received nationwide publicity as the social event of the season and has been talked about for decades since.
The wedding invitation was printed in black ink on cream colored paper. It stated:
Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Dudley Auchincloss
Request the honor of your presence
At the marriage of Mrs. Auchincloss’ daughter
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier
The Honorable John Fitzgerald Kennedy
United State Senate
On Saturday, the twelfth of September
At eleven o’clock
Saint Mary’s Church
Newport, Rhode Island
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (24) and John F. Kennedy (36) were married at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on September 12, 1953 in Newport, Rhode Island with approximately 800 guests in attendance. Another 3000 guests and spectators waited outside to get a glimpse of the glamorous couple. Archbishop Cushing, accompanied by 4 other priests performed the 40 minute ceremony. The Kennedy’s viewed the wedding as a political event and the guest list included senators and congressmen, Boston and Massachusetts political figures, and Hollywood luminaries.
The bride wore a gown of ivory tissue silk, made by fashion designer, Ann Lowe, an African-American designer from Alabama. It took 50 yards of the finest tissue silk to make the dress. She wore her grandmother’s heirloom rosepoint lace veil and her jewelry consisted of a pearl choker, a diamond leaf pin, and a diamond bracelet, given to her from the groom. She carried pink and white orchids and gardenias. Her 12 attendants wore pink taffeta dresses. Her matron-of-honor was Lee Bouvier Canfiled and maid-of-honor Nina Auchincloss. Her engagement ring, designed by Van Cleef and Arpels, was comprised of a 2.88 carat diamond and a 2.84 carat emerald with tapered baguettes. She was given away by her stepfather, Hugh D. Auchincloss. John Kennedy picked Robert F. Kennedy to be his best man.
After the ceremony, more than 1200 guests attended the reception at the 300 acre picturesque oceanfront estate of Hugh Auchincloss named Hammersmith Farm. The receiving line lasted over two hours and the beautifully decorated wedding cake was 5 tiers. The first song the newly coupled danced to was “I Married an Angel,” performed by Meyer Davis and his orchestra. After spending the night at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, they flew to Acapulco, Mexico for a 2 week honeymoon.
I know now why they called it Camelot.