Happy President’s Day! This is one of my favorite holidays of the year, because I share a birthday with our nation’s first president, George Washington—February 22nd. I thought it would be fun to talk about White House weddings—when the president got married while in office. Two presidents, Tyler and Wilson, got married while they were in office, but only one president—Grover Cleveland chose the White House for the ceremony and reception. And his new wife became very popular. (Probably because she insisted on now- highly collectible personalized wedding favors to thank their guests!)
America’s Youngest First Lady
Cleveland married Frances Folsom in a private White House ceremony in 1886. At 21, Frances became the youngest first lady. He was 49, old enough to be her father. Young and beautiful, she became famous in the press as “Frankie” Cleveland, but she wasn’t at all fond of the nickname. She was seen as a fashion trendsetter and role model, and photos and drawings of her likeness were used to sell perfume, playing cards, liver pills, and ladies’ underwear, among lots of other products—all without her permission. I imagine she probably didn’t mind the perfume and the playing cards, but the liver pills and ladies’ underwear probably got her panties in a bunch.
Your White House Wedding
It won’t be long before a woman winds up in the White House–and not as the First Lady. Might that be you? Or is the man of your dreams an up-and-coming president? Either way, you’ll be planning a wedding, and I can’t think of a more unique place to host a wedding than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Meanwhile, since we’re here to talk about wedding favors, let’s do!
I think the two most well-known locations at that address are the Oval Office and the Rose Garden. The Oval Office is way too small for a ceremony, unless you’re only inviting your cabinet and a couple of news crews. Ahhhh, but the Rose Garden is a beautiful place—especially if you marry in spring when the roses are in full bloom! Absolutely gorgeous!
Rejoice with Roses!
Here are a few fun facts about roses! The rose is the favorite flower of 85% of Americans. George Washington, my birthday buddy, bred roses at his home, and in 1986, then President Ronald Reagan signed legislation making the rose the official National Flower of the United States. Mythology says that roses grew thorns when Cupid accidentally shot an arrow into a rose garden. Oops! Still, the beauty of the roses more than makes up for the thorns.
As you would expect, rose-themed wedding favors come without the thorns. And it would be a shame to be sitting among all those beautiful roses without sharing their beauty with your guests. Behold the Rose Ball Candle and Rose-Topped Favor Boxes. These are two rosy favors that will make every reception table an integral part of the Rose Garden, and you can be sure guests will not only keep them forever, but bequeath them to their children and future generations. A century later, one of these favors is sure to turn up on Antiques Road Show–and worth a fortune!