Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy Was Late to Her Wedding to John F. Kennedy Jr.—And Her Iconic Gown Was to Blame

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The bride's slip dress needed a last-minute alteration, which delayed the ceremony.

<p>New York Daily News Archive / Getty Images</p>

New York Daily News Archive / Getty Images

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and John F. Kennedy Jr. got married in a top-secret wedding on September 21, 1996, which took place on Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia. Although the couple went to great lengths to make sure press had zero access to their special day, there was one dilemma that they didn’t plan for: The bride was actually late for the ceremony due to a wardrobe dilemma.

In CBK: Carolyn Bessette Kennedy: A Life in Fashion by Sunita Kumar Nair, which was published on November 7, 2023, hairstylist George Kyriakos explained that the bride didn’t arrive to the venue until the sun was just starting to set. The reason? Due to an unexpected fit issue, Carolyn needed a last-minute alteration—even though the bride had countless fittings with Narciso Rodriguez, the designer of her ensemble, prior to the celebration.

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Sasha Chermayeff, a wedding guest and one of John’s best friends, said the bride’s late arrival actually made the ceremony setting even more dreamy. “She was late to the wedding, perhaps in her nervousness of getting everything perfect,” Chermayeff reflected. “I always thought that it made everything perfect in a way because the evening sun was setting, and then, the wedding was candlelit. It was beautiful.”

<p>Arnaldo Magnani / Getty Images</p>

Arnaldo Magnani / Getty Images

For her big day, Carolyn donned a bias-cut silk crepe slip gown, paired with a silk tulle veil, long white gloves, and crystal-studded Manolo Blahnik shoes. The bride enlisted Rodriguez, her friend and former co-worker from Calvin Klein, to bring her vision to life. “She loved him,” friend and colleague Paul Rowland said in the new book. “She wanted the best for him, as she did for everyone. She always championed the underdog, and we all were in some way. That’s what made her so special.”

According to People, the designer and his team created three different versions of the $40,000 dress—each in a different fabric. The silk crepe material was the one that caught her eye. “Carolyn knew exactly what she was doing when she wore and chose that dress,” Nair wrote. The simple yet striking style went on to break boundaries in the bridal fashion space and spawned many copycat designs. "It was bold because the silhouette was radically different," Nair told People. "In fact, it's one of the best examples of how Carolyn would wear what she felt comfortable in. She always wore slip dresses, but now, she chose to wear it for her wedding dress."

Up Next: 12 Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy Inspired Wedding Dresses

Read the original article on Brides.