1996 – Carolyn Bessette & John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Date: September 21st, 1996Location:

Whenever the couple comes to mind, that is the picture that will always remain in my mind – Carolyn in her modest, graceful gown with her attractive new spouse gently kissing the back of her hand. John F. Kennedy, Jr. And Carolyn Bessette had such an incredibly close wedding. I greatly respected Carolyn.

Credit: Instagram by kennedysera

Shall we explore the notion of embracing the philosophy of “Less Is More”? A group of 40 people. A quaint wooden chapel lit up by flickering candles. Is there a need for me to provide more details?

Credit: Dennis Reggie

There are numerous theories surrounding this ring. It seems that this simple gold wedding band, which was rarely photographed on her finger, was the only ring she ever wore. Carolyn Bessette, her partner for life, never associated the word “bling” with her and she rarely wore anything flashy. There are only a few pictures of her wearing it, but it appears that she didn’t wear bling. The ring is referred to as the “Swimming Ring,” though it is consistent with what Jackie Kennedy wore on her 10th wedding anniversary. It is believed to be a gift from Maurice Tempelsman, Jackie’s final life partner and jeweler. Yes, this ring has numerous theories surrounding it.

According to one source, the ring that John’s mother wore at the time of her engagement to Anthony Radziwill, a friend of Jackie Kennedy-Bessette and a journalist for “Vogue,” was reportedly a platinum band with round-cut diamonds and sapphires. However, it is important to note that this ring is not actually the same as Jaqueline’s.

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Definitely not accustomed to being the sexiest bachelor in the world, he made Carolyn wait for three weeks after he proposed a fishing trip to Martha’s Vineyard to agree to marry him, reportedly. The actual engagement was another story altogether.

Photo credit: Robin Platzer/Twin Images/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

The Dress.

This iconic style established the standard for wedding dress styles for many years. Jackie’s hair accessory and her embellished satin Manolo Blahnik sandals were hardly noticeable. The sophisticated, understated appearance was complemented by the accompanying long sheer gloves that matched her hand-rolled veil. The striking draped look showcased her exposed back. The rear of the gown was equally breathtaking. It was a plain, floor-length sleeveless slip-style dress crafted from silk-crepe material with a graceful, low-draped neckline. However, despite being typical of minimalist Carolyn, the gown was not what one would typically associate with a Kennedy bride. It was designed by Narciso Rodriguez.

This was the finest I was capable of achieving. Therefore, I stumbled upon this, there simply isn’t a satisfactory photograph available that displays her gown in its entirety.


As Carolyn wore a sentimental hairpiece, JFK Jr. Donned his late father’s wristwatch. Accompanied by a white vest and a pale blue tie, he sported a single-breasted wool suit in midnight blue, designed by Gordon Henderson. Let’s not overlook the fact that he was the groom.

The Location.

Once owned in part by the Carnegie family, Cumberland Island is located off the southern coast of Georgia. It lacks Wi-Fi, telephone lines, paved roads, and a bridge for access. This seventeen-mile island has protected salt marshes, dunes, and dense collections of oak trees that act as a natural barrier against the harsh saltwater. It also provides a nesting habitat for endangered Loggerhead turtles and wild horse fields.

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One of the most famous couples in the country managed to pull off this wedding without being caught by the paparazzi, which was a rare occurrence. The guests arrived by private planes, landing in grassy fields or being shuttled to a private dock by boat. Invitations were not given until four days prior to the Saturday event. All staff members and island residents had to sign confidentiality agreements, emphasizing the importance of secrecy to the couple. Although not your typical elaborate affair, this Kennedy wedding required high levels of security and seclusion.

Davis R. David, a gospel vocalist, performed “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Amazing Grace” without instrumental accompaniment, while passages from religious texts were recited by relatives and gospel songs were sung. The service included eleven worn pews and a wooden cross with a string at the front of the charming, painted white chapel. Oil lamps illuminated the interior, where the couple exchanged vows in the soft glow of candlelight. The ceremony took place in the small wooden Brack Chapel of the First African Baptist Church.


The island is considered a secluded romantic luxury getaway, known for its guided wildlife tours and cocktail hors d’oeuvres hour. Transportation to the island is provided by ferry, and all meals are included in the starting price of $695. The Inn, which was later turned into the Ferguson R. Lucy daughter’s sixty years later, was originally built by Margaret Carnegie in 1900. The reception for Margaret was held at Greyfield Inn.

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