The Beginning of the Camelot Era

On this day in 1953, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy, the future 35th President of the United States, marries Jacqueline Bouvier in Newport, Rhode Island. It was the first marriage for them both.

The bride, given in marriage by her stepfather, Hugh D. Auchincloss, wore a dress of ivory tissue silk, with a portrait neckline, fitted bodice, and a bouffant skirt embellished with bands of more than fifty yards of flounces. Her rosepoint lace veil, worn first by her grandmother Lee, was draped from a tiara of lace and orange blossoms. Jacqueline 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.

The ceremony was performed by Archbishop Cushing, a friend of the Kennedy family, and he was assisted by four other priests, including the former president of Notre Dame and the head of the Christopher Society. Before the mass, a special blessing from Pope Pius XII was read, and tenor soloist Luigi Vena from Boston sang Gounod’s Ave Maria.

The reception was held on the terrace of the 300-acre Auchincloss oceanfront estate, Hammersmith Farm, for more than twelve hundred guests. The wedding cake, four feet tall, was ordered by Joseph P. Kennedy; Meyer Davis and his orchestra played under a huge canopy.

Seven years later, the couple would become the youngest president and first lady in American history. And ten years after the wedding, Mrs. Kennedy was seated next to her husband when he was murdered in broad daylight while riding in a motorcade through downtown Dallas, Texas.

Author: Bill Urich

A tail-end baby-boomer, Bill Urich was born in Cleveland to a grade school teacher and her Navy vet husband, and reared in Greater Detroit. Working his way through school primarily at night, Mr. Urich holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University. In his legal career he has acted as an assistant state prosecutor, city attorney, special prosecutor, mediator, magistrate, private practitioner and mayor of Royal Oak, a large home-rule city in Michigan. Mr. Urich continues in private practice and municipal prosecution, is on faculty to DePaul University, pens regular contributions to political publications, and remains active in selected campaigns and causes related to labor, social and criminal justice. A father of three mostly-grown sons, he spends his precious free time on family, friends, the pursuit of happiness, beauty and truth, three rescue cats, and fronting the rock band Calcutta Rugs from behind the drum kit.

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