When school groups tour the White House,
a fragrant scent greets them as they enter the Blue Room. An
eye-catching arrangement of fresh flowers rests on a marble-top
table, which was purchased by James Monroe in 1817. Flowers
have long added a special touch to this beautiful oval room
regardless of the occasion.
Tulips, orchids and white
narcissus filled the Blue Room like a fragrant perfume on
a very special day in 1886. The White House gardener spent
hours on June 2, 1886 decorating the tables with hundreds
of potted plants and swags of greenery. Flowers covered the
chandelier, and fresh blooms of roses, ferns, lilies and pansies
At 7 p.m. that evening, the clocks in the White House chimed
and church bells rang throughout the city. From the east corner
of the Cross Hall, John Philip Sousa signaled the Marine Band
to begin playing the Wedding March. Soon President Cleveland
and Frances Folsom emerged from the staircase, crossed the
hall and walked into the candle-lit Blue Room. The bride,
who was 27 years younger than the President, wore a satin
gown, an India silk drape trimmed with real orange blossoms
and a 15-foot train.
Within a few minutes, President Cleveland became the first
and only President to exchange wedding vows at the White House.
After the ceremony, the couple led their guests from the Blue
Room, through the Green Room and into the East Room for a
receiving line. They hosted a dinner in the State Dining Room
and returned to the Blue Room for a send off to their honeymoon.
The Blue Room is the center of the State Floor of the White
House. Over the years, the Blue Room's oval shape and breath-taking
view of the South Lawn of the White House has captivated many
visitors. The Blue Room has been the traditional place for
presidents to formally receive guests. From entertaining kings
to shaking hands with the masses, the business of democracy
and the social graces of diplomacy have taken place in the Blue
President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair discussed the war on terrorism in this room before the
President gave his historic address to Congress and the nation
on September 20, 2001. The Blue Room was visible in the background
when President Bush proposed the Department
of Homeland Security in a televised address to the nation
on June 6, 2002.