Wedding of Jacqueline Bouvier and John F. Kennedy

Newport, Rhode Island, September 12, 1953

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier and John F. Kennedy were married on the morning of September 12, 1953, in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Newport, Rhode Island. The more than eight hundred guests included many notable individuals.

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 bride's attendants, dressed in pink taffeta, included: her sister, Lee (Mrs. Michael T. Canfield) as matron of honor; her stepsister Nina G. Auchincloss as maid of honor; and ten bridesmaids, among them the groom’s sister Jean and sister-in-law Ethel, and the bride’s former boarding school roommate, Nancy Tuckerman. Half sister Janet Auchincloss was flower girl and half brother James Auchincloss served as a page. Senator Kennedy’s best man was his brother Robert and among the ushers were brother Edward, brother-in-law Sargent Shriver, cousin Joe Gargan, brother-in-law Michael Canfield, friends Lem Billings, Red Fay, and Torbert Macdonald, Senate colleague George Smathers, and Charles Bartlett, who had introduced the couple.

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. 

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.  

Wedding invitation

The lettering on the invitation was not raised, and was printed in black ink on a cream colored paper. It stated:

Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Dudley Auchincloss 
request the honour of your presence 
at the marriage of Mrs. Auchincloss' daughter 
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier


The Honorable John Fitzgerald Kennedy 
United States Senate 
on Saturday, the twelfth of September 
at eleven o'clock 
Saint Mary's Church 
Spring Street 
Newport, Rhode Island

The invitation in the holdings of the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is framed. The frame is nine inches high and seven inches wide. The original invitation was approximately six inches in height and approximately four inches in length. (5.75" X 3.75" of the invitation is visible.)