Friday, March 3, 2017

White House Weddings: Tricia Nixon


Image result for ed cox and tricia nixonThe first White House wedding held outdoors was that of Patricia "Tricia" Nixon, 25, to Edward Cox, a 24-year-old Harvard law student, on June 12, 1971.

Two and a half years earlier, Tricia's younger sister Julie married Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of President Eisenhower, in a private ceremony in New York shortly after Richard Nixon won the presidency. Although the union blended two famous political families, the ceremony itself was small and intimate.

Many expected Tricia, a private person, to wed in a similar, quiet fashion. Instead, she wed in the White House to public fanfare, and her wedding was televised (you can still watch it on YouTube.)


Tricia's mother, First Lady Pat Nixon, was the one to suggest an outdoor ceremony. White House servants and staffers immediately warned the First Family that it might not be the best idea to hold the wedding outside, because summer weather in Washington DC is unpredictible and often rainy. However, the idea of a wedding in the beautiful Rose Garden was desired, so two weddings were planned: one in the Rose Garden and one in the East Room as a backup. 

Four hundred invitations were sent out (including to former White House Bride, Alice Roosevelt Longworth) and preparations were made. The wedding dress, a pearl and lace-trimmed silk organdy confection with a low neckline that supposedly shocked Pat Nixon, was designed in Boston by Priscilla Kidder, the designer of Julie Nixon's gown. According to Life Magazine, the gown had its own first class airplane seat to make sure it arrived in Washington unscathed. 

Rain fell on the wedding day, and apparently Tricia was given the choice to send guests to the East Room or two wait for a break in the weather. The president asked weather reports from the Air Force and learned the rain should let up around half past four in the afternoon, so Tricia decided to go with her original plan. Right on time, the rain stopped, the staff removed all the plastic coverings from the chairs in the garden, and President Nixon walked his daughter down the aisle. 
Image result for tricia nixon wedding details
from Wikipedia Commons
Afterwards, a buffet was served in the State Dining Room. Among the delicious-sounding offerings were Shrimps in Coconut, Kebobs, Alaskan King Crab, Smoked Salmon, Rolled Roast Beef, Eclairs, and Neopolitans.
Image result for tricia nixon wedding details
The Bridal Party
The rest of the reception was held in the East Room. The White House pastry chef, Heinz Bender, produced a six-tiered, seven foot tall cake to feed the guests as well as the 600 journalists covering the event. The bottom layer was decorated in sugar turtle doves and the couple's initials, P and E. The flavor: lemon. (The recipe is available here!)
Image result for tricia nixon wedding cake
The bride and groom cut the cake in the East Room
By all accounts, the wedding was a beautiful, elegant affair. Many watched the ceremony on television and enjoyed learning all the details.
Picture

Tricia and Ed Cox currently live in New York. Tricia was a stay-at-home mother for their son, Christopher, and she serves on the boards of the Nixon Library, the Richard Nixon Foundation, and several medical research institutions. Ed is a corporate attorney and chairperson of the NY Republican State Committee.

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YOUR TURN: Do you love Tricia's dress as much as I do? It's stunning!

BIO:

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning author of almost a dozen historical romances who's seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher's Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, genealogy, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. 

Her newest release is The Reluctant Guardian.


19 comments:

  1. My grandfather was one of those folks who attended the wedding. I'm not sure how he knew the Nixons or Eisenhowers, but the photo of him and my grandmother with the wedding party hung with pride in his office for years. Great post. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Linda! How amazing that your grandparents attended the wedding! What a fantastic experience it must have been. I can't imagine attending a White House wedding! WOW!

      Thanks so much for coming by and sharing your family's story! That's so neat.

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    2. Love that story. I lived in D.C. when I was in 8th grade and got to visit the White House when Truman was President. How wonderful for your grandparents, and what a great story to pass on to future generations.

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  2. I should remember this, but seeing as I was a teenager and in school, I honestly don't recall the publicity. How nice to relive something so beautiful!!!

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    1. Hi Connie! I love weddings because they are so hopeful and lovely. Truly worth celebrating! Thanks for sharing in my enjoyment. Hope you're having a great day!

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  3. Love the post, Susanne! I remember watching the wedding and as a young teenager, dreaming of my own wedding one day. Thank you for stirring the memories!

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    1. Hi Melanie! How fun that you watched the wedding! These things sure can impact us, can't they? I got up at 2 am to watch Diana marry Prince Charles, and it was so much fun to see that amazing ceremony and dream about my wedding someday.

      So glad you could come by today!

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    2. Suzanne, I got up and watched Diana and Prince Charles as well. Oh what girls will do!

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  4. I remember the wedding being on TV. Her dress is indeed gorgeous! I got married in 1969 so I might have been in Virginia then or on Guam( Navy guy).

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    1. Hi Paula! I love her dress, too. You were a newlywed when this wedding happened! Wow!

      Thanks for coming by today and for your husband's service!

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  6. Sorry about that...

    Yes, the dress is gorgeous as I love the lines and lace. However, I'm having a hard time with the realization that the cake is as high as my Christmas tree and is racing through my head with the line... "Do you want a piece of me? Huh? Do you?" Ha!

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    1. Ha! I know what you mean about the cake! Did they have to get a ladder to serve the top layers? It's huge!

      LOL

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  7. I remember this wedding well. I was a homemaking teacher and the mother of three sons. I yearned for a daughter for whom I could plan a wedding. The only ones I planned were for the Home and Family Living classes I taught. I loved her dress and saw a picture of the cake from a different angle than yours. It was beautiful, but I'm sure glad I didn't have to serve it.

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    1. I'm with you, Martha--I wouldn't want to serve that cake! Then again, I'm a little klutzy.

      Was wedding planning part of the course curriculum? What a great idea. Students would have to apply budgeting skills and creativity!

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    2. Yes. The first semester was on building relationships for marriage and ended with a mock wedding, including a class elected bride and groom, wedding party, ceremony, reception, and a budget with which they had to plan everything.One of the rental places loaned us gowns and tuxes. We had a lot of fun with it.

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    3. Oh wow, that's fascinating! What a great opportunity to learn budgeting, too.

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  8. I vaguely recall this wedding as I was still in school at the time. Beautiful dress and thanks for sharing this amazing event at our Capitol.

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    1. Hi Marilyn! I love the dress, too. It looks like something that might be worn today, doesn't it? Very classic. :)

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