What's the most exclusive wedding venue in the U.S. you ask? We argue it's the White House. Since it's opening in 1800, the president's residence has hosted a mere 18 weddings—making those lucky enough to say "I do" at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue part of a very special group.
"It's an interesting group of people that have gotten married in the White House, and it encompasses a lot of different marriages," historian Lina Mann of the White House Historial Association tells Brides. "You have a wedding of a president in the White House. Then you also have presidents' daughters getting married, and of course, White House staff even get married in the White House."
Meet the Expert
Lina Mann is a historian at the White House Historial Association and holds a master's degree in public history from American Univeristy.
The first documented nuptials at the residence was between Lucy Payne Washington (the sister of First Lady Dolley Madison) and Thomas Todd in 1812. The most recent occurred in 2013, when President Obama's Chief Official White House photographer Pete Souza tied the knot to Pattie Lease in the Rose Garden.
And unlike royal weddings, White House weddings don't come with many rules. Mann explains, both the ceremony and reception can occur wherever the couple (and the First Family!) prefer, although the Blue Room and East Room tend to be the most popular sites. "Some of the smaller weddings, and particularly weddings in the 19th century," she says, "tend to do occur in the Blue Room. And then some of the more extravagant [weddings] typically happen in the East Room."
But when it came time for Tricia Nixon (the daughter of President Richard Nixon) to wed Edward Finch Cox in 1971, the couple chose the Rose Garden, and simulteanously started a new trend for modern White House nuptials.
"My personal favorite White House wedding is the 1906 Alice Roosevelt wedding. Her marriage to congressman Nicholas Longworth was just a really big deal. It was in all the papers nationwide, worldwide," Mann also reveals. So much so that Roosevelt (the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt) and her new husband left the reception from a window to avoid the huge crowds outside and start their honeymoon.
From the intimate to the grand, learn about every single wedding held in the White House below—and perhaps find inspiration for your own big day!
Lucy Payne Washington and Thomas Todd
March 29, 1812
The first documented White House wedding was between Lucy Payne Washington and Thomas Todd. The bride happened to be the sister of First Lady Dolley Madison, and the ceremony most likely occurred in the Blue Room.
Maria Hester Monroe and Samuel Lawrence Gouverneur
March 9, 1820
The first daughter to wed in the White House was Maria Hester Monroe. Her nuptials to Samuel Lawrence Gouverneur was most likely held in the Blue Room, historians infer.
John Adams and Mary Catherine Hellen
February 25, 1828
The first presidential son to say "I do" in the White House was John Adams II (the son of President John Quincy Adams!). He married Mary Catherine Hellen, First Lady Louisa Adams's neice in the Blue Room.
Mary A. Eastine and Lucius J. Polk
April 10, 1832
First Lady Rachel Jackson's neice Mary A. Eastine used the East Room for her wedding to Lucius J. Polk in 1832.
Mary Anne Lewis and Alphonse Pageot
November 29, 1832
The same year, President Andrew Jackson hosted Mary Anne Lewis's wedding to Alphonse Pageot. Lewis happened to be the daughter of a close friend of the president and held her ceremony in the East Room.
Elizabeth Tyler and William Waller
January 31, 1842
Elizabeth Tyler, the daughter of President John Tyler, tied the knot to William Waller on January 31, 1842. This ceremony was also held in the East Room.
Nellie Grant and Algernon Sartoris
May 21, 1874
The daughter of President Ulysses S. Grant, Nellie Grant hosted her May 1874 wedding to Algernon Sartoris in the East Room.
Emily Platt and Russell Hastings
Former First Lady Lucy Hayes hosted her neice Emily Platt's 1878 wedding to Russell Hastings. Their ceremony was held in the Blue Room.
President Grover Cleveland and Frances Folsom
June 2, 1886
The first and only president to say "I do" in the White House was President Grover Cleveland. He wed bride Frances Folson in the Blue Room on June 2, 1886.
Alice Lee Roosevelt and Nicholas Longworth
February 17, 1906
One of the most grand weddings in White House history, Alice Lee Roosevelt wed Nicholas Longworth on February 17, 1906. Per Mann, the newlyweds cut their wedding cake with a military sword—an action that has since become somewhat of a tradition for weddings at the White House.
Jessie Woodrow Wilson and Francis Bowes Sayre
November 25, 1913
A daughter of President Wilson, Jessie Woodrow Wilson wed Francis Bowes Sayre in 1913. Held in the East Room, the bride's older sister served as maid of honor while her younger sister, Eleanor, was a bridesmaid.
Eleanor Randolph Wilson and William Gibbs McAdoo
May 7, 1914
The following year, President Woodrow Wilson hosted another wedding for his second daughter, Eleanor Randolph Wilson. This time however, the wedding was held in the Blue Room.
Alice Wilson and Isaac Stuart McElroy, Jr.
August 7, 1918
The neice of President Woodrow Wilson, Alice Wilson chose the Blue Room to wed Isaac Stuart McElroy, Jr. in 1918.
Harry Hopkins and Louise Gill Macy
July 30, 1942
President Franklin D. Roosevelt hosted his assistant Harry Hopkin's 1942 wedding to Louise Gill Macy in the Second Floor Oval Room, otherwise known as the president's study.
Lynda Bird Johnson and Charles Spittal Robb
December 9, 1967
First daughter Lynda Bird Johnson wed Charles Spittal Robb on December 9, 1967. A grand event, the wedding was held in the East Room.
Tricia Nixon and Edward Finch Cox
June 12, 1971
Tricia Nixon's wedding to Edward Finch Cox in 1971 was full of White House wedding firsts. Held on June 12, 1971, the ceremony was the first to be held outside and in the Rose Garden.
Anthony Rodham and Nicole Boxer
May 28, 1994
Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton hosted her brother Anthony Rodham's wedding to Nicole Boxer in 1994. The ceremony also took place in the Rose Garden.
Pete Souza and Patti Lease
October 19 2013
The most recent White House wedding, Chief Official White House photographer Pete Souza wed Patti Lease in the Rose Garden in 2013. The ceremony was much smaller than previous modern weddings, with just about 35 guests in attendance—including President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama! "The relationship between President Obama and Souza was quite strong," says Mann. "They were pretty close. I think that in order to get married in the White House as a White House staff member, you really have to develop a close relationship with the First Family."