by Terri Pous
Courtesy of Getty Images
On September 12, 1953, John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy weren't President and First Lady, but they were already receiving nationwide attention for their New England wedding that went down in history as the social event of the season.
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The 24-year-old Jackie married then-Senator Kennedy in front of 700 guests at St. Mary's Church before a reception among 1,200 upper-crust friends and family at Jackie's mother's mansion at Hammmersmith Farm in Newport, Rhode Island.
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Jackie's wedding dress was a fitting starting point for her life in the public eye. Before the pillbox hats and custom Oleg Cassini gowns, her dress was the picture of refined sophistication. The Battenburg ball gown wedding dress, with its tiered-hem skirt and off-the-shoulder sleeves, is regal, yet timeless. The dress, now housed in the Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, and the dresses of her attendants were created by designer Ann Lowe of New York City. Her long veil and large bouquet are the perfect complement to her handsome, tuxedoed husband.
In honor of what would have been their 60th wedding anniversary, LIFE magazine posted a slideshow of previously unpublished wedding photographs that capture the comely couple's joy (and exhaustion from an endless receiving line!). The original article on their wedding, published in LIFE's September 28, 1953, issue titled, described the union as such:
"The marriage of Washington's best-looking young senator to Washington's prettiest inquiring photographer took place in Newport R.I. this month and their wedding turned out to be the most impressive the old society stronghold had seen in 30 years. As John F. Kennedy took Jacqueline Bouvier as his bride, 600 diplomats, senators, social figures crowded into St. Mary's Church to hear the Archbishop of Boston perform the rites sand read a special blessing from the pope. Outside, 2,000 society fans, some come to Newport by chartered bus, cheered the guests and the newlyweds as they left the church. There were 900 guests at the reception and it took Senator and Mrs. Kennedy two hours to shake their hands. The whole affair, said one enthusiastic guest, was 'just like a coronation.'"
After all this time, we still admire her demure elegance and his dashing charm. Their wedding photos show an intimate, joyful day, nearly a decade before the White House Camelot days began.
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by Terri Pous