Stephen Douglas and Adele Cutts were married in Washington in November 1856. Adele immediately took over the management of the Senator's household, accepted the two Douglas boys as her own, and, with Douglas's approval, had Robert and Stephen, Jr., raised and educated as Catholics.
Marriage once again turned Douglas's thoughts to improving his residential quarters. In 1857 Douglas, Vice President John C. Breckinridge, and Henry M. Rice, the Minnesota territorial delegate, decided to build three adjoining houses in what became known as Minnesota Row. Under Adele's direction, the richly decorated Douglas mansion became the setting for some of the most spectacular events on the Washington social calendar. A gala housewarming party in January 1858 attracted as many as 2,000 visitors. A year later, a "grand ball" at the Douglas mansion left nearby streets so jammed with carriages that guests had to walk several blocks to reach the front door.