The White House: Three-Ring Wedding

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For her parents, at least, the marriage of Maria Hester Monroe was a huge success. That first wedding of a U.S. President's daughter in 1820 was confined so closely to the family that the ceremony was attended by only 42 guests and reported by the Washington press in 34 words. Subsequent White House brides from Elizabeth Tyler in 1842 to "Princess" Alice Roosevelt-who envisaged a "comparatively quiet family affair" and wound up with 1,000 guests in 1906—have sought with diminishing success to elude the tidal wave of publicity that inevitably...

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