This Day in History… June 2, 1886

Only Presidential White House Wedding 

U.S. #693 from the Series of 1926-31, which are considered some of the most perfect U.S. stamps.

On June 2, 1886, President Grover Cleveland married Frances Folsom in the White House, making him the only U.S. president to be married in the executive mansion.

Grover Cleveland was the second U.S. President to begin his administration as a bachelor. He would become the only one to begin his term as a single man and end it married. For the first fourteen months of his term, his sister Rose Elizabeth served as the official White House hostess.

Described as a private and somewhat abrasive man, President Grover Cleveland was a 49-year-old bachelor when he entered the White House. Mothers around the nation sought to introduce their daughters to the President. However, he had other plans, and would respond to questions about his marriage plans with, “I’m waiting for my wife to grow up.”

U.S. #827 from the 1938 Prexies.

The young woman he was waiting for was Frances Folsom, the daughter of his former law partner. She was 27 years his junior. When young Frances’ father died, Cleveland administered his estate and became her guardian. Cleveland’s intentions at that point were entirely innocent and fatherly, but as she reached adulthood, both developed romantic feelings. However, Cleveland was skilled at fooling the press, so for some time, they thought he was planning to marry Frances’ mother, Emma.

U.S. #809 was also issued as part of the Prexies.

President Cleveland then shocked the nation on May 28, 1886, when he announced that he would marry Frances at the White House within the week. Reporters soon followed Frances everywhere as she made wedding arrangements, and newspapers were filled with the smallest details about the nuptials.

On June 2, 1886, Grover Cleveland and Frances Folsom were married in the White House Blue Room, becoming the only President and First Lady to wed in the Executive Mansion. Family, close friends, Cabinet members and their wives were seated among an abundance of flowers. Crowds thronged the streets around the White House, John Philip Sousa led the Marine Band, church bells pealed across the nation’s capital, and ships blew their horns in celebration. The President and his First Lady then honeymooned in a private cabin at Deer Park Lodge, Maryland.

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Click here to view Cleveland’s handwritten invitation.

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