Kennedy Weddings by Jay Mulvaney

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This book combines two of my favorite topics, the Kennedys and weddings! It was a very intimate family album of 3 generations of Kennedy weddings spanning from 1914 until 1998.  I would consider myself an avid Kennedy family and I haven’t even seen some of these pictures.

I’ve read a lot of books about the Kennedys and I’ve only seen two with the family tree laid out. There is one in here that is great. This book was published in 1999 and as of that time there were 9 Kennedys from the second generation, the children of Joe and Rose Kennedy, then 28 grandchildren, and 48 great grandchildren! That’s a whole lot of Kennedys, and that’s not even counting the husband and wives.

The Kennedy dynasty all started when Rose Fitzgerald, daughter of Boston Mayor  Honey Fitz, married wealthy banker Joe Kennedy back in 1914.

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“The family they created would contribute immeasurably to the welfare of the country, and at time even inspire the whole world, in the decades to come.”

It is amazing to get a glimpse inside each of the weddings, from the bride’s dresses, the table settings, the bridesmaid’s dresses, the invitations, and the gifts.

The first Kennedy to get married in the second generation was Kathleen, lovingly referred to as Kick. She married Billy Harrington from England in a civil ceremony in 1944. Their love story was tragic with resistance from her parents due to religious differences, her husband was killed by a sniper a mere 4 months after they were married, and she died 4 years later in a plane crash.

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Seven of the nine Kennedy children’s (sister Rosemary was mentally retarded, and eldest brother Joe was killed in a suicide mission during the war) weddings were covered in this book, with the most details and coverage on JFK and Jackie’s wedding. Ted was the only one to divorce and remarry and both his weddings were included.

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1973 marked the year of the first Kennedy wedding of the third generation. Kathleen Hartington Kennedy (named after her aunt Kick) was Bobby and Ethel’s eldest daughter of their eleven children, and like her aunt married first of her generation. Ted stepped in to escort the bride down the aisle, taking the place of his late brother Bobby, father of the bride. It was the first of many weddings that Ted had to step in for both Bobby and John’s children, 13 between them.

The weddings varied in size with some more private and intimate and others were large and publicized like that of Maria Shriver and Arnold Scwarzenegger and former first daughter Caronline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg. Many weddings were on the lawn of family matriarch Rose Kennedy in Hyannis Port.

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One of the last weddings featured is that of JFK Jr and Carolyn Bessette who were a very private couple and opted for a small wedding of just group of close family and friends, on the small Cumberland Island. Their marriage ended in tragedy with the plane crash piloted by JFK Jr on a foggy night off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard just three short years after they were married.

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Although the Kennedy name is linked to the past and often times to the so called Kennedy Curse, it is nice to catch a glimpse of this historic family in happy times celebrating love and life, just like the rest of us. The Kennedys have captivated me over the years and continue to. This book is so fantastic and I loved every page of it!

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