carolyn bessette wedding

Over the course of planning my wedding, I’ve looked through countless images for inspiration (Pinterest is a bride’s best friend). From color palettes to dress decisions to the overall feel of the wedding, some visual aid is super helpful. Let’s be honest though: whether you’re a bride-to-be or not, looking at other people’s wedding is just fun. With that in mind, I thought we could all look at them together here with this new wedding series on the blog (think of it as my own version of the “Wedding Wednesday”).

What better way to kick it off than with one of America’s most stylish and iconic weddings – not to mention, one of my personal favorites. Carolyn Bessette married John F. Kennedy Jr. in October of 1996. Their small wedding (only 40 guests!) took place on Cumberland Island. The couple kept their wedding plans top-secret (fun fact: in order to keep things totally under the radar, their wedding planners actually told the staff on Cumberland Island that they were working on the wedding of designer Nicole Miller) from everyone so to make sure it remained a private affair. One of the things I love about this wedding is how intimate it feels. It’s not over-the-top in any way. Just simple. And how about her dress? That Narciso Rodriguez gown is absolutely iconic. Bessette’s entire wedding look mimics her everyday style: chic, understated, and effortless.

Thoughts? Is this one of your favorites?






(Images via Pinterest // Dress Sketch)


  1. Def one of my favorites. I got married in 2010 on Amelia Island. Very close to Cumberland. The Kennedy’s wedding on Cumberland was so secluded and serene. You can only get to the island by boat and there are actual wild horses living on the island. SO special and intimate. The setting truly fit the couple. I love attending a wedding and saying to myself “this is exactly what they wanted”, “this is so them.”

  2. Loved their wedding so much. I got married on Amelia Island, right next to Cumberland. Cumberland Island is so serene and secluded. You can only reach it by boat and there are literally wild horses running around the island. I always felt that their location fit their style and personalities so well. I love attending a wedding, looking around, and saying to myself “This is just what they wanted, it’s so them.”

  3. One of my favorite bridal looks of all time- she was truly an All American style inspiration. Those delicate gloves were the perfect touch. xx I’m sure you are going to be exquisite at your own wedding!!! xxx Sal

  4. Wow love these photos! I highly recommend the book “The Other Man” by Michael Bergin. He shares his amazing story of falling in love with Carolyn and how his heart was broken when she married JFK. There’s a lot more to it than most people know… it’s one of the best love stories I’ve read! And there’s spread of photos in the middle to get more visuals on their lives, together and apart.

    Good luck planning your wedding!! I’m sure you’ve seen but the recently released photos from Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds wedding are wonderful…

    Elle Lush

  5. Beautiful wedding. My soon-to-be Mother-in-law got me the new Vogue Weddings book at it is so inspirational. I love weddings and dresses and I hope you are simply having a blast planning yours! Will look forward to your wedding wednesday posts.


  6. So great you posted this!!! This was actually totally my wedding inspiration. My vendors probably thought I was nuts when I told them all their wedding was the vibe I was going for.. intimate, timeless, elegant, simple. I would even ask myself… what would Caroline do? For example… Wedding website? no. Ornate table scapes of flowers and bling? no. Our initials lit up on the wall? no. Haha! And I adored my wedding- I like to think Caroline would have too!

  7. I have looked at this wedding photo a million times it’s striking peeling paint wood rot Ted stairs a handsome groom and a beautiful bride. The dress is the most striking dress I have ever seen it’s plain with out fuss yet striking the bride nailed this one!!!!!!!!!!!!
    God bless these two people whose lives were taken far to soon and a beautiful sister who now sits with them watching angels

  8. This wedding sets the highwater mark for me. JFK Jr & Carolyn Bessette couple had all the money in the world at their disposal, and yet they chose to have a small, intimate, elegant gathering with just 40 of their closest family and friends. Sadly their untimely deaths just 3 years later reminds us that fame, beauty, prestige and money cannot protect us from tragedy.

    A small correction: the actual wedding date was September 21, 1996 – not October as stated in your post.

  9. What I find sad is that it was Christina Haag who introduced John to Cumberland Island and the little African church. This was Christina’s secret place: it was she who brought John here & shared it with him; you can read the details in Come to the Edge: A Love Story, her memoir of their fifteen-year friendship/relationship. How painful it must have been for Christina to learn that John had chosen their special place to hold his marriage to Carolyn Bessette, and to view the photo of him and his new bride standing on the same steps where Christina and John once stood.

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