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Explainer: Presidential weddings

  • Image: "All the Presidents' Children" book cover

    White House weddings have come a long way from the modest affair of Maria Monroe, the first child to wed while her father was president. Her private nuptials, over 188 years ago, received very little press — just a 34-word mention in a Washington paper.

    Flash forward 21 presidential weddings later and Jenna Bush’s lavish nuptials at the Bush family’s 1,600-acre ranch was an event covered by nearly every outlet.

    Only nine were actually wed at the White House: Maria Monroe, John Adams, Elizabeth Tyler, Nellie Grant, Alice Roosevelt, Jessie Wilson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Lynda Bird Johnson, and Tricia Nixon — who had her wedding broadcast live.

    In his book "All the Presidents' Children," author and former George H.W. Bush aide Doug Wead expounds on the rich history of White House families.

    For a peek at portraits of the first children and their nuptials, click through our interactive.

  • Jenna Bush

    Image: George W. Bush and daughter Jenna Bush
    Shealah Craighead  /  Shealah Craighead
    Henry Hager, a former intern for Karl Rove, proposed to presidential twin Jenna Bush at Acadia National Park in Maine on August 15, 2007.

    The two met during President Bush’s 2004 presidential campaign, where they bonded over their love of the outdoors — a passion that influenced their wedding style.

    The couple got married May 10, 2008 at an informal, outdoor affair, at the Bush family ranch in Crawford, Texas.

  • Dorothy Bush

    Image: Dorothy Bush
    Bush Library
    The last child of a president to be married while her father was in office was Dorothy Bush, daughter of George Herbert Walker Bush.

    Married for the second time in 1992 to Robert P. Koch, a former aide to House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt, Dorothy was also the only presidential child to have her nuptials at Camp David.

  • Trixia Nixon

    Image: Trixia Nixon
    White House Photo file
    Patricia "Tricia" Nixon, daughter of Richard M. Nixon and his wife, Patricia Ryan Nixon, was married to Harvard law student Edward Finch Cox in the Rose Garden in 1971. According to Life magazine, the bride was escorted down the aisle by her father in a wedding "akin to American royalty."

    In fact, Nixon’s wedding was so extravagant that her father noted that they needed a seven-foot tall cake just to feed everyone, including the 600 journalists!

  • Julie Nixon

    Image: Julie Nixon
    Library of Congress
    Unlike her sister Tricia's large and elaborate White House Wedding, Julie Nixon opted for a small and private 15-minute ceremony with presidential grandson, Dwight David Eisenhower II.

    Julie's wedding was in December, just a few weeks after Nixon had won the presidency.

    Julie and Dwight met met at the 1956 Republican National Convention.

  • The Roosevelts

    Image: First lady Eleanor Roosevelt with her five children.
    First lady Eleanor Roosevelt is pictured with her five children.
    President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would serve as president for more than 12 years, dying in office after winning a record fourth term.

    All of his children would be married while he was in office, and Elliot would be married twice. Eventually, the five Roosevelt children would have 19 marriages between them.

  • Alice Roosevelt

    Image: Alice Roosevelt
    Library of Congress
    In 1906, Alice Roosevelt, the oldest child of Theodore Roosevelt, was married to Republican Congressman Nicholas Longworth in a White House wedding.

    A controversial figure, Alice was a wild and outspoken woman who smoked, partied and held the personal motto: “If you haven't got anything good to say about anybody, come sit next to me.”

  • Jessie Wilson

    Image: Jessie Wilson
    Library of Congress
    Jessie Wilson, left, daughter of Woodrow Wilson, was married in a high profile wedding. The groom was an hour late because the White House guards refused to believe his story and let him in.

    Eleanor "Nellie" Wilson, right, would marry a member of her father's own cabinet, William McAdoo, who in 1924, started as the front runner for the Democrat presidential nomination.

  • Nellie Grant

    Image: Nellie Grant's wedding
    Library of Congress
    In 1874, Nellie Grant, the only daughter of President Ulysses S. Grant, was married to Englishman Algernon Sartoris in the first high profile American wedding.

    Grant, who worshipped his daughter, had his eyes to the floor and wept throughout the ceremony.

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