Extraordinary Photos of U.S. Presidents on Their Wedding Days
It’s no secret that being the President of the United States is an extremely stressful job. The presidency might come with a few perks like being the ruler of one of the biggest nations in the world and having a fancy house and staff. However, it also comes with the knowledge that you are responsible for a country of 325 million people.
Luckily since the country was first founded, most presidents have had their spouses at their sides. When the world became too exhausting to deal with, the presidents had someone to lean on.
Let’s take a quick look at 15 remarkable photos of former presidents on their wedding days. Most people are surprised how one president asked his soon-to-be wife to delay the wedding due to the elections (No. 11).
1. George and Martha Washington
- Married from 1759 -1799
George Washington was the nation’s first president. He married Martha Washington on January 6, 1759. Mrs. Washington was a wealthy widow who was experienced in managing a planter’s estate and could fund her new husband’s ventures.
The pair had no children together because the president had contracted smallpox earlier in his life and was sterile. However, they did raise Mrs. Washginton’s children John Parke Custis and Martha “Patsy” together. Washington’s marriage to Martha made him one of Virginia’s wealthiest men it allowed him to rise through the social ranks.
Though the term “first lady” was not coined until after Mrs. Washington’s death, she was often called Lady Washington. She preferred to stay out of politics and chose to live a private life at Mt. Vernon. However, during the Revolutionary War, she visited her husband’s winter encampments to help keep up the troops’ morale. She outlived her husband by two and a half years.
Next: This president had a much younger wife.
2. Rutherford B. and Lucy Hayes
- Married from 1852 -1889
Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th President of the United States, serving in office from 1887-1881. Before his role as president, Hayes was an Ohio layer who had a practice in Cincinnati. When Hayes and Lucy Webb initially met, Lucy was just 14, and Rutherford was twenty-three. Hayes was adamant that his future wife was too young so he pursued other women.
When the future Mrs. Hayes turned 19, the pair crossed paths again. They were in the same wedding party, and Hayes found himself quite take with the young woman. He wrote in his diary in 1851, “I guess I am a great deal in love with L(ucy)….Her low sweet voice…her soft rich eyes. She sees at a glance what others study upon, but will not, perhaps study what she is unable to see at a flash. She is a genuine woman, right from instinct and impulse rather than judgment and reflection.”
The pair married at Lucy’s mother’s house in Cincinnati on December 30, 1852. The couple had eight children and were married until the first lady’ death in 1889. She was 57 years old.
Lucy Hayes was the first First Lady to have a college degree.
Next: This president was the only Commander in Chief to marry in the White House.
3. Grover and Frances Folsom Cleveland
- Married from 1886 -1908
When Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States became President for the first time in 1885, the then-48-year-old was a bachelor. That changed quickly. He began courting, Frances Folsom, a student at Wells College. On June 2, 1886, Cleveland married Frances Folsom in the Blue Room at the White House. The Blue Room is one of the only state parlors in the White House, and it made Cleveland the only President to ever get married in the president’s house
Frances was just 21 at the time of her marriage to the president. It was an odd match because Cleveland was the executor of Frances’ father Oscar Folsom’s estate and had supervised his wife’s upbringing after her father’s death. The pair had five children and were married until the former president’s death in 1908.
Next: This first lady was a regular guest on radio shows.
4. Herbert and Lou Hoover
- Married from 1899 -1944
Herbert Hoover was the 31st President of the United States. He met Lou Henry when they were both students at Stanford University. Lou graduated in 1895, at the time she was the school’s only female geology major. However, she and Hoover did not wed until 1899. They spent the years in between pursuing their own ventures, Hoover went to Australia to work in engineering while Ms. Henry wanted to finish her education.
The pair eventually wed in 1899, at the bride’s parent’s estate. When Hoover became the President in 1929, Mrs. Hoover became, the first First Lady to broadcast on a regular and nationwide basis as a guest on various radio shows. The Hoovers had two sons and were married until Mrs. Hoover’s death in 1944.
Next: This president and first lady were immediately smitten with one another.
5. Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower
- Married from 1916 -1969
General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. He was a five-star general in the United States Army and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War II. However, before he went to war or held office, he was just a soldier stationed in Texas before World War I. While he was there he met Mamie Doud. The pair were immediately smitten with one another and were married quickly just before the United States entered the War in 1916.
The pair had two sons, though only one survived childhood. The Eisenhowers were married until the former president died in 1969 of congestive heart failure.
Next: This president and first lady were high school sweethearts.
6. Harry and Bess Truman
- Married from 1919 -1972
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States. The World War I veteran had known his wife, Elizabeth “Bess” Wallace since they were children. In fact, they attended the same high school in Independence, Missouri. Initially, Truman began courting Bess in 1911 before he was shipped to war, and he even proposed but she turned him down flat.
The pair eventually did wed after the war was over on June 28, 1919, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Independence and had one child, a daughter named Martha. Bess was not a fan of being the First lady when her husband became president in 1945. She did not care for the lack of privacy nor did she enjoy the formalities and elitism. She was eager to return to private life after her husband’s presidency ended.
The pair were married until Harry S. Truman’s death in 1972.
Next: This president and first lady were related.
7. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt
- Married from 1905 -1945
The 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Legendary First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt had known each other since they were children. After all, they were fifth cousins, once removed, and Eleanor was a niece of Theodore Roosevelt. The pair began courting in 1902 and were engaged in 1904.
FDR’s mother was extremely possessive of him, so she tried to break his engagement to the future first lady numerous times. Untimely the two married on March 17, 1905, in NYC. They had six children, however, they weren’t exactly intimate with one another. Roosevelt had various extra-marital affairs, and eventually, the Roosevelts had a political partnership instead of marriage.
The first lady was rumored to have had an affair with NY state trooper Earl Miller when FDR was governor of New York. Apparently, she was also lovers with journalist Lorena Hickock. She had become close friends with female journalists covering the 1932 campaign.
The Roosevelts remained married until FDR’s death in 1945.
Next: This president proposed to his wife on their first date.
8. Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson
- Married from 1934 -1973
It was love at first sight for the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife Lady Bird. In fact, Johnson proposed to the socialite on their first date. Just 22 at the time, Lady Bird did not accept, but Johnson was persistent even neglecting his legal studies until his wife eventually said yes ten weeks later.
The pair wed November 17, 1934, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas. Though they hoped to start a family right away, Lady Bird suffered three miscarriages until the first of their two daughters were born. Both Lynda Bird and Luci Baines spent their teen years in the White House under the scrutiny of the media. They also both had White House weddings.
The Johnsons were married until LBJ’s death from a heart attack in 1973.
Next: This president met his wife at a dance before World War II.
9. George H.W. and Barbara Bush
- Married from 1945 -2018
Barbara Pierce met George H.W. Bush, who would become the 41st President of the United States when she was just 16 years old. The pair met at a dance at Round Hill Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut during Christmas vacation. Bush was a student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. The pair dated for a year and a half and eventually became engaged.
Shortly after their engagement, Bush was shipped off to War War II where he was a Navy torpedo bomber pilot. He returned on leave and on January 6, 1945, and he married Barbara at the First Presbyterian Church in Rye, New York. The pair would go on to have six children, including 43rd United States President George W. Bush.
The duo remained married until Mrs. Bush’s death in April of 2018.
Next: This president and first lady were America’s sweethearts.
10. John F. and Jackie Kennedy
- Married from 1953 -1963
John F. Kennedy was the 36th President of the United States. He met his bride, Jackie Bouvier when she was a young woman fresh from college and he was a Congressman. The pair met at a dinner party and were immediately taken with each other.
The pair wed in a lavish ceremony on September 12, 1953, at Hammersmith Farm in Newport, RI. Initially, the Kennedys had some troubling times at first as they struggled to conceive before having their daughter, Caroline, on November 27, 1957, and son John F. Kennedy, Jr on Nov. 20, 1960. Though their marriage wasn’t perfect, the duo had a tremendous amount of respect for one another, and they shepherd the United States in to a more liberal and youthful direction.
The remained married for ten years until JFK was assassinated in Nov. 1963.
Next: This president’s wife was more than a little controversial.
11. Gerald and Betty Ford
- Married from 1948 -2006
Elizabeth Anne Bloomer aka Betty Ford was a dancer and fashion coordinator who married Gerald Ford a year after divorcing her ex-husband, an insurance salesman named, William G. Warren. When Betty met Ford he was a lawyer and World War II veteran who was campaigning for his first term as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Though the two were deeply in love, Ford asked his bride-to-be to delay the wedding until just before the elections since she was a divorcee and ex-dancer. The Fords had four children together and were the first executive couple since the Coolidges to openly share a single bedroom. It was quite a scandal at the time.
The first lady famously clapped back, saying, “I guess when you’re president, you’re supposed to be a eunuch.”
The first lady publicly struggled with painkillers and alcohol dependencies, but the Fords remained united and were married for 58 years until the former president’s death in 2006.
Next: This president and first lady were a Hollywood glam couple.
12. Ronald and Nancy Reagan
- Married from 1952 -2004
Before they were a political power couple, the Reagans were the talk of Hollywood. Nancy Reagan was known as Nancy Davis, an actress who starred in a slew of films in the 1940s and 1950s. She also dated many actors, including Clark Gable, Robert Stack, and Peter Lawford. The young actress met the man who would become the 40th President of the United States on November 15, 1949. Ronald Reagan was the president of the Screen Actors Guild and the young actress needed his help because she had been confused with another actress and had been blacklisted in Hollywood.
The pair began dating shortly after that, but Reagen who had had a previous tumultuous marriage was reluctant to tie the knot again. For three years, they were the talk of Hollywood before finally marrying in on March 4, 1952. The wedding as simple and put together quickly since they were trying to stay under the radar of the press. The Reagans had two children together, and Nancy was the stepmother the children from the former actor’s first marriage
When the then-president was shot in 1981 in a botched assassination attempt, the first lady nearly crumbled. She began obsessively consulting astrologists to determine the best dates and times for the president’s appearances. If the astrologist said it wasn’t a good idea, then President Reagan didn’t go.
President Reagan’s death in June 2004 ended what Charlton Heston called “the greatest love affair in the history of the American Presidency.
Next: This president’s scandal almost ruined his presidency.
13. Bill and Hillary Clinton
- Married from 1975 -present
Bill and Hillary Clinton met in the summer of 1971 when they were both law students at Yale. They lived together until they graduated in 1973, at which point the 42nd President of the United States prosed marriage. Hillary Rodham declined. She was not sure that she wanted to tie her future to his.
The former Secretary of State finally agreed to marry her beau in 1975, and the pair were wed October 11, 1975, in a Methodist ceremony in their living room. Initially, the former first lady decided to keep her maiden name which greatly offended conservatives. From 1978 until they entered the White House, the former senator had a higher salary than her husband. She gave birth to the couple’s only child, Chelsea in 1980,
The couple is still married to this day, but their relationship has been rocky at times. Clinton is a known lady’s man, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal of 1998 put a significant strain on their marriage.
Next: This president called marrying his wife, the best decision of his life.
14. George W. and Laura Bush
- Married from 1977 -present
School teacher and librarian Laura Welch met her husband George W. Bush in July 1977 when mutual friends invited her to a backyard barbeque. The pair were engaged by September and married by November. Bush said his choice to marry Laura as the “best decision of [his] life.” He also credited his wife with his decision to stop drinking in 1986.
On November 25, 1981, Laura Bush gave birth to fraternal twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna. Their births were a momentous occasion for the Bushs who struggled with conceiving.
Since she has been such a steadfast and warm spirit, the first lady is credited with having a stabilizing effect on her husband’s private life.
Next: This former president and first lady are still obsessed with one another.
15. Barack and Michelle Obama
- Married from 1992 -present
Former President Barack Obama met Michelle Robinson when he was employed as a summer associate at her Chicago law firm, Sidley Austin in 1989. The Princeton graduate was assigned for three months as Obama’s adviser at the firm. For months the former POTUS asked his now-wife out on dates and she continually declined until one fateful summer day that ended with an ice cream cone and a kiss. You can watch their love story in the film, Southside With You.
The pair became engaged in 1991 and were married on October 3, 1992. They have two daughters, Malia Ann, and Natasha “Sasha” Obama. The couple has been open about their love including their ups and downs, and they continue to be loving and affectionate to this day.