John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier were married on this day in history on Sept. 12, 1953, in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Newport, Rhode Island, with more than 800 guests in attendance. 

The bride, presented 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 50 yards of flounces, according to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 

Bourvier’s veil, worn first by her grandmother, was draped from a tiara of lace and orange blossoms and she also wore a choker of pearls and a diamond bracelet that was a gift from Kennedy. 

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“The bride’s bouquet was of pink and white spray orchids and gardenias,” the same source recounted. 

The marriage 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. Prior to the Mass, a special blessing from Pope Pius XII was read, said the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 

In this Feb. 27, 1959 file photo, Sen. John F. Kennedy, D-Mass., is shown in his office in Washington. Monday, May 29, 2017 marks the 100-year anniversary of the birth of Kennedy, who went on to become the 35th President of the United States. (AP Photo, File)

At a dinner party in Georgetown, Jacqueline Bouvier met a handsome senator from Massachusetts: John F. Kennedy. The pair dated over the next two years. In May 1953, Kennedy proposed.  (AP)

The reception took place on the terrace of the 300-acre Auchincloss oceanfront estate, Hammersmith Farm, for more than 1,200 guests, several sources said.

The couple had their first dance to “I Married an Angel” and cut a wedding cake that measured four feet in height, according to Biography.com.

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Life magazine published wedding photos a few weeks after the wedding, and a guest was quoted as saying the event had been “just like a coronation,” the same source said.

A guest was quoted as saying the wedding was “just like a coronation.”

“In a way, this person was right — the wedding was a first step on the road that took Jackie and John to the White House,” Biography.com stated.

On June 24, 1953, Bouvier and Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy publicly announced their engagement. 

Kennedy went on to become the 35th president and Jackie became one of the most popular first ladies ever to grace the White House, according to multiple sources. 

Bouvier Kennedy was born into a prominent New York family in 1929, and in 1951, after graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. 

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That fall, she returned to the U.S. start her first job as the Washington Times-Herald‘s “Inquiring Camera Girl.” 

“Her assignment was to roam the streets of Washington, D.C., ask strangers man-on-the-street questions and then snap their picture for publication,” History.com stated.

A young Jackie Kennedy

The first official White House photograph of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Washington, D.C., 1961.  (Mark Shaw/Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

Shortly afterward, at a dinner party in Georgetown, she met a handsome senator from Massachusetts — John F. Kennedy. The pair dated over the next two years. 

In May 1953, Kennedy proposed, giving Jackie a 2.88-carat diamond-and-emerald ring from Van Cleef and Arpels, the same source cited.

After their 1953 wedding, the Kennedys then settled in Washington, D.C., where Kennedy continued to pursue his political career. Seven years later, he beat out Richard M. Nixon for the presidency, History.com recounted.

JFK and Jacqueline Bouvier

John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier cutting their wedding cake after their marriage in Newport, Rhode Island. John Kennedy was then a U.S. senator from Massachusetts. Robert Kennedy at left. (Getty Images)

John and Jackie Kennedy welcomed their first child, Caroline, in 1957; John Jr. was born two weeks after his father won the presidency. 

A third child, Patrick, died two days after his birth in August 1963, according to the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.

Shortly after noon on Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.

A close-up of President JFK and Jackie Kennedy looking away from the camera wearing formal attire

President and Mrs. Kennedy are shown on the White House lawn as they witnessed part of the performance of the Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment. The Kennedys had invited 1,700 children from child care agencies to view the program. (Getty Images)

The first lady rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas Gov. John Connally and his wife, for a 10-mile motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas, according to History.com.

As their vehicle passed the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired three shots from the sixth floor, fatally wounding President Kennedy and seriously injuring Gov. Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, the same source recounted.

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The president was 46.

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By the fall of 1963, President John F. Kennedy and his political advisers were preparing for the next presidential campaign. 

Although he had not formally announced his candidacy, it was clear that Kennedy was going to run and he seemed confident about his chances for re-election, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum noted.

The first lady wanted her husband’s grave site to be widely accessible to the American public.

When JFK died, there was another image that would prove indelible: Mrs. Kennedy whispering to John Jr. to be sure to give a military salute as the casket carrying the president passed by, according to the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.

JFK was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. 

At the time of Kennedy’s death, it was thought that he’d be buried in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he was born and raised. 

eternal flame John F. Kennedy

Eternal Flame burning at the grave site of assassinated President John F. Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.  (Lee Lockwood/Getty Images)

However, the first lady wanted her husband’s grave site to be widely accessible to the American public, according to Arlington National Cemetery.  

The original site was located on a sloping hillside between Arlington House and the Lincoln Memorial.

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Because of the large crowds, cemetery officials and some Kennedy family members decided that a more suitable site should be constructed, and the new site was completed on July 20, 1967. 

An eternal flame, lit by Mrs. Kennedy, burns from the center of a five-foot circular granite stone at the head of the grave, the same source noted.

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Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was laid to rest next to President Kennedy on May 23, 1994.


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