The History of Monograms

A monogram is usually created by combining or overlapping two or more letters. Monograms are frequently used for weddings by taking the first initial of the groom and bride’s names and combing them with the last name of the couple, this idea is still very popular in the southern states.  Major business companies use their initials to create an advertising symbol, a good example of this is the iconic double C used by the Chanel fashion design company founded by Coco Chanel.  In this post, I will discuss the history of the monogram and show several examples of historical monograms and the various ways that monograms can be used on household items, personal clothing or special celebrations.

The History of the Monogram

Centuries ago, the Greeks and Romans used monograms on clay coins as the barter system for purchasing goods and services which eventually led to a monetary system of trade.  During the Middle Ages, artisans would often use their monograms to sign their work and an example of this are the paintings of the famous Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn which can be identified to a particular period in his career by the monogram he used.  At the start of his career, he signed his pieces with a simple single letter R and in the following years as his career progressed he used the combined letters RH and then RHL.

Rembrandts monogram 2

Throughout the years, royalty and other members of the nobility have used monograms to mark their status in society.  Kings and Queens would use monograms to mark their personal property and household items, weaponry and armor, royal banners and coats of arms.

Shown below are several examples of these types of royal monograms:

Napoleon royal monogram on throne - France Percier et FontaineThe throne of Napoleon with his royal monogram

Queen Elizabeth II royal monogram on mailbox 1

The royal monogram of Queen Elizabeth II (ER II) on a British post box

Tsar Alexander III and  Maria Feodorovna royal  monogram on Main Gate at Hermitage

Tsar Alexander III and  Maria Feodorovna royal  monogram on the Hermitage gate in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Tsar Nicholas II royal monogram on Fabergé cigarette box

A Fabergé cigarette box that once belonged to Tsar Nicholas II with his royal monogram

Queen Victoria royal monogram on knickers 1

A monogram on a piece of clothing that once belonged to Queen Victoria

In the 18th century monograms were used to mark linens with the owner’s initials so as to properly retrieve the items from a laundering service in the larger cities or from a communal wash in the smaller villages.  The monogram was usually embroidered onto the item in white thread but red thread was also used since it was the most common and least expensive dye available, the dark color of the monogram made it easier to quickly identify.  Eventually more elaborate monograms were designed with flourishes and scrolls embroidered in beautiful colors of silver or gold thread used by the upper class.

Marie Antoinette royal monogram - goldwork

The embroidered goldwork royal monogram of Marie-Antoinette

In the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the more opulent and expensive monograms reflected a higher status, wealth and prosperity of the person.  It seemed that every household item from tablecloths and tableware to bed linens and towels to all variety of clothing could be monogrammed.  Royal wedding souvenirs also gained popularity during this time and items were monogrammed with the initials of the bride and groom, this started a popular trend for weddings which has continued into modern times.  

Prince William and Kate Middleton monogram on cake box

A cake box for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton with the intertwined initials of W and C

Monograms have also been used effectively by businesses and companies for marketing purposes throughout the years. The British Rolls-Royce Motor Company which manufactures high-quality vehicles is an example.  The Rolls-Royce logo consists of two letter Rs which represent the names of the owners, Charles Rolls and Sir Frederick Royce, who founded the company in 1906.

Rolls Royce

The Rolls-Royce Motor Company logo

Several companies have used a monogram incorporated into their logo and one of the first in the fashion industry was French designer Coco Chanel.  The Chanel logo was created in 1925 and consists of two interlocking and opposing letters C. 

Chanel logo

The iconic Coco Chanel logo on her classic handbag

Today, especially in the U.S. southern states, the tradition of monograms continues. Monograms are a great way to customize a variety of items from clothing and accessories to household items such as towels, napkins or bedding.  There are certain rules to keep in mind when purchasing monogrammed items.  In general the most common type is the three-initial monogram consisting of the last name initial placed in a large type at the center of the monogram, flanked by the first and middle initials in a smaller type.

Shown below are examples of monograms used on clothing:


A monogram used on the cuff of a man’s dress shirt

Boy shirt monogram 1

A monogram used on a boy’s shirt

Girl dress monogram 1

A monogram used on a girl’s dress

Shown below are some examples of household items with monograms:

Towels monogram 1

An example of a single initial monogrammed towels

Napkin monogram 10

An example of a monogrammed napkin

Monograms are also very popular for weddings and can be incorporated into many items such as invitations, aisle runners, reception, dance floors, wedding cake or perhaps even an antique handkerchief with a blue embroidered initial of the couple’s last name for the bride to carry as the “something blue”!  In general, for a monogrammed wedding item the first initial of the couple would be used with the groom’s first name located to the left and the bride’s first name to the right, the last name initial would be located in the center.  Monograms

Shown below are some examples of monograms used for weddings:

wedding invitation monogram 1 - Crane Engraved Royalty Alexandria Invitation with Gold Bevel

An example of a beautiful monogram on an engraved invitation

Cake monogram

A monogram of the bridal couple can be used on a wedding cake

Wedding reception monogram on dance floor 1

An example of a monogram used on a dance floor

Handkerchief monogram 1

A lovely embroidered handkerchief for “something blue”

Monograms can also be used for baby items or gifts for a christening or a special birthday celebration.  A monogram can be used for a birth announcement, a christening gown or various items of a layette such as a bib, diaper cover or other items of clothing.  A monogram can also be used on a silver spoon or silver baby cup with the child’s birth date also engraved on it and would make a very special baby gift.

Shown below are examples of monograms used for baby or christening items or gifts:

Baby announcement 1 - Crane Letterpress Monogram Birth Announcement with Border

An example of a monogram used for a birth announcement

Baptism gown with monogram

A monogram used on a christening gown

Silver baby cup with monogram

A monogram used on a silver cup makes a lovely baby gift

Decor – Framed Wedding Invitations

Since the month of June is customarily a popular time for weddings, I decided to share some ideas that can be used for a Framed Wedding Invitation.  As many of you know from reading my blog, my personal design style for home accessories is to create customized display items that are visual reminders of those important moments in our lives.  A wedding invitation specially framed would be a perfect example of this type of home decoration.

A wedding is perhaps one of the most important events that a couple shares in their lifetime and there is a wide selection of wedding invitations to choose from and sometimes the process of selecting one can take time because it will set the formality, style and colors of the wedding and reception.  No matter the size or shape of the wedding invitation that a couple has selected, a custom Framed Wedding Invitation can be designed to fit any room décor whether it will be hung on the wall, placed on a side table or bookshelf.

The first step in creating a Framed Wedding Invitation is to select a the perfect frame. There are numerous choices that can be found in retail and craft stores ranging from a flat frame to a shadowbox and there are numerous varieties of finishes made of wood, different types of metal, resin or porcelain.  Depending on the style of the wedding invitation, you can decide if it should remain simple (just the frame and the invitation) or to create a more elaborate display with embellishments.

Shown below are two examples of floral embellished ideas for a Framed Wedding Invitation.  The first one was made with artificial pink flowers and ivy accented with two small white doves and the second one was made using several porcelain flowers.  All the items were glued directly to the double ivory photo mat and were found at my local craft store.

 Framed Wedding Invitation 1b  Framed Wedding Invitation 2a

The next example features a charming little Wee Forest Folk figurine of a bride and groom mouse couple that could have been used as decoration on the wedding cake. The frame that I used had a deep recessed area and I placed the figurine in the center and attached it with hot glue.  I think it is a cute way to display a wedding invitation with just a touch of whimsy.  

Framed Wedding Invitation - Wee Forest Folks 1

Sometimes the right frame can be hand made and the example shown below features a simple craft project that I made which uses two wooden pieces.  The bottom piece is a plain wooden frame and the top piece is one of the popular laser-cut frames that are currently available in any local craft store and this particular one features several hearts. To complete the project, I painted the bottom piece with bronze paint and the top piece painted in gold with a bronze border.  I then glued the two pieces together and embellished the top piece with golden crystals that added a little sparkle and were the perfect finishing touch.

Framed Wedding Invitation wooden pieces

Framed Wedding Invitation - final

Listed below are several additional ideas and suggestions for items that can be used to embellish a Framed Wedding Invitation:

  • In a shadowbox with a wedding invitation set inside a mat frame display a wedding garter, the groom’s tie, a lucky penny or sixpence, a dried boutonniere or flowers from a bridal bouquet.  Perhaps you can arrange the bridal veil into gentle gathers for a lovely background.
  • Another idea using items from the wedding is to set the toasting glasses inside a shadowbox along with the matted wedding invitation, perhaps add a small bottle of wine or champagne served at the wedding ceremony.  This type of Framed Wedding Invitation would look great displayed in a dining room or kitchen.
  • One more idea using items from the wedding is to set the cake topper and cake cutting knife inside a shadowbox along with the matted wedding invitation. Usually the cake knife is engraved with the names of the bridal couple and the wedding date white a cake topper is selected to fit the style and theme of a wedding.  So, instead of  being tucked away in a storage box think about displaying these items along with the wedding invitation.
  • Seashells for a beach-themed wedding or perhaps some sand if the ceremony took place on the beach
  • Resin or plastic snowflakes for a winter-themed wedding or a couple of sprigs of artificial pine branches or holly
  • Scrapbook embellishments for a Disney-themed wedding (click on a link to see a photo frame which was originally used for to framed vacation photos but could be easily adapted to hold a  invitation)
  • A resin wagon wheel, boots and a cowboy hat for a western/country-themed wedding (click on the link to see a photo frame which was originally used to frame vacation photos but could be easily adapted to hold a wedding invitation)
  • A resin or glass Eiffel Tower, London Bridge or other iconic ornament for a European destination wedding
  • A bamboo frame accented with an artificial orchid or flower lei for a Hawaiian destination wedding
  • Vintage glass wedding bell ornaments added to a Framed Wedding Invitation shadowbox for a simple classic style

As you can see, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!  

The Duchess of Windsor’s Jewels


In honor of Wallis Simpson’s birthday (born: June 19, 1896 died: April 24, 1986) this post will be about some of the items in her magnificent jewelry collection.  The story of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor has been written about extensively in the history books.  Wallis met Prince Edward the Prince of Wales in 1931 when he was the heir to the throne of England.  Though married to Ernest Simpson, the Prince and Wallis began a scandalous affair (the Prince was known to have an eye for married women).

The affair continued for several years and then in January 1936 King George V died and the Prince became King Edward VIII.  Wallis soon divorced Simpson and the new King’s intention was to marry her but there was strong opposition from the British government on a twice divorced women (she had almost been previously married to Earl Spencer) becoming Queen of England.  After reigning for only for 11 months, the King abdicated the throne on December 10, 1936.  

The new Duke and Duchess of Windsor were married on June 3, 1937 at the Chateau de Cande in France.  During their 35 years together the Duke gave Wallis many necklaces, bracelets, brooches and earrings which he often purchased from Van Cleef & Arpels or Cartier.  Many of the items were custom designed and given as gifts to commemorate special occasions often inscribed with personal messages from the Duke. 


After the death of the Duchess, her jewels were sold at auction by Sotheby’s.  The sale took place in April 1987 in Geneva, Switzerland bringing in $50.3 million dollars for the Pasteur Institute which is a hospital and research center located in Paris, France. This was a personal request of the Duchess prior to her death because she and the Duke felt the need to show their appreciation to the people of France where they had lived after being banished from England.

Sotherby's Duchess of Windsor Auction catulog

A few of the most important items from the Duchess of Windsor jewelry collection are listed below:

1. The Prince of Wales Brooch

Prince Edward gave Wallis the Prince of Wales brooch in 1935 and it is an important piece of jewelry which bears special meaning since is the symbol of his royal status as the Prince of Wales, the heir to the throne of England, and demonstrates his commitment to her and his intention to make Wallis his future Queen.  The brooch was specially commissioned by Prince Edward and features three pave-set diamond feathers accented with baguette-cut diamonds which are gathered together by a crown, the piece is set in platinum and 18k gold.

Prince of Wales Brooch  Prince of Wales Broch - Wallis

After the death of the Duchess, the Prince of Wales brooch was purchased by Elizabeth Taylor at the Sotheby’s auction for a price over $623,000.  Elizabeth and Richard Burton had been friends with the Duke and Duchess and she often admired the brooch during her visits.  When the brooch went on the auction block, Elizabeth intended to bid on the item for sentimental reasons since Richard Burton was born in Wales.  It is said that the brooch is the first piece of significant jewelry that she had ever bought for herself. Ultimately, upon the death of Elizabeth in 2011 the Prince of Wales brooch was once again sold at the Christie’s auction of Taylor’s jewelry collection for $1,314,500.          

2.  Cartier Cross Charm Bracelet

The Cartier cross charm bracelet was a gift from Prince Edward to Wallis in 1934.  The bracelet features a diamond bracelet with nine jeweled crosses engraved with various messages “handwritten” by the Prince.  The bracelet was one of Wallis’ favorite pieces of jewelry from the Prince and she wore it often, most notably she was photographed wearing it on the infamous and highly scandalous Nahlin cruise in the summer of 1936 which publicly exposed the relationship of Wallis and the Prince to the world for the first time.

Cartier cross charm bracelet

3.  Duchess of Windsor Engagement Ring

The engagement ring given by Prince Edward, known to his family and friends as David, to Wallis is a stunning 19.77 carat emerald ring by Cartier.  It is engraved with a personal message “We are ours now 27 X 36”.  This means that he proposed on October 27, 1936 which according to the date was prior to his abdication.  In 1958, the Duchess went back to Cartier to have the ring redesigned in a more modern style of yellow gold set with several diamonds.

Duchess of Windsor engagement ring - sketch

  Duchess of Windsor engagement ring  Duchess of Windsor engagement ring - Wallis Simpson

4.  Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby and Diamond Brooch

The Van Cleef & Arpels ruby and diamond brooch was given to Wallis from David for Christmas 1936, although they spent the holiday separately.  With his recent abdication on December 10, 1936 renouncing the throne of England as King Edward VIII, David went into exile in Austria and while Wallis was living in Cannes, France waiting until her divorce from Simpson was absolute.

Because of these complications, David wanted to send Wallis a special Christmas gift which two holly leaves, the flower of the holiday season.  The double feathered brooch was one of the first jewelry pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels to use an “invisible” setting for the rubies and baguette diamonds.  At the 1987 Duchess of Windsor auction, held after her death, the Van Cleef & Arpels ruby and diamond brooch sold for an amazing price of $806,000.   

Van Cleef Arpels ruby and diamond feather brooch  Van Cleef Arpels ruby and diamond feather brooch - Wallis

5.  Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby and Diamond Necklace

The Van Cleef & Arpels ruby and diamond necklace was originally commissioned by the Duke of Windsor for the Duchess and intended as a gift for her 40th birthday which would take place days after their wedding.  The clasp of the necklace is bears the inscription, “My Wallis from her David” and dated June 19, 1936.

Later, Wallis had the necklace redesigned by Rene-Sim Lacaze of Van Cleef & Arpels to incorporate the original rubies and diamonds plus the addition of a few more stones!  The new platinum setting featured rows of rubies and diamonds intertwined and ending in a spectacular cascade of rubies.  The Van Cleef & Arpels ruby and diamond Necklace sold for an astounding $2,603,308 at the 1987 Duchess of Windsor auction. 

Van Cleef Arpels Ruby Necklace sketches

Van Cleef Arpels Ruby Necklace  Van Cleef Arpels Ruby Necklace - Wallis and David

6.  Cartier Flamingo Brooch

The Cartier flamingo brooch was commissioned by the Duke of Windsor for the Duchess in 1940 as a birthday gift; he had collaborated with Cartier jewelry designer Jeanne Toussaint.  It was completed shortly before the couple had to flee the country during World War II as the Nazis invaded France.  The brooch was set in platinum and featured a whimsical flamingo perched on one leg, the flamingo’s body, head, neck and legs are pave-set with diamonds.  The flamingo has one sapphire eye and a yellow citrine cabochon and blue sapphire form its beak.  The tail feathers of the flamingo were a colorful array of emeralds, rubies and sapphires.  Wallis wore the brooch for the first time on a trip to Madrid in 1940 and it became one of her favorite pieces of jewelry and she wore it frequently.    

Van Cleef Arpels Flamingo Brooch sketch

Van Cleef Arpels Flamingo brooch  Van Cleef Arpels Flamingo brooch - Wallis


7.  Cartier Diamond and Onyx Panther Bracelet

The iconic Cartier diamond and onyx panther bracelet was custom-made for the Duchess of Windsor.  In 1952 the Duchess collaborated with the Cartier jeweler Jeanne Toussaint to create the unique design that allows the bracelet to gently wrap around the wrist instead of being rigid.  The beautiful and fully articulated body of the panther is set in platinum with diamonds and black onyx; the eyes of the panther are set with marquise-shaped emeralds.  At the 1987 Duchess of Windsor auction, held after her death, the Cartier diamond and onyx panther bracelet sold for $1.27 million.  Twenty-three years later, the bracelet again went on the Sotheby’s auction block in 2010 and was sold again for £4.5m.  

Cartier onyx and diamond panther bracelet Cartier onyx and diamond panther bracelet - Wallis

8.  Cartier Windsor 20th Wedding Anniversary Brooch

The Cartier brooch was made to commemorate the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s twentieth wedding anniversary in 1957 and was a gift to Wallis.  The brooch was designed to incorporate several meaningful symbols that were important to the couple.  The heart-shaped brooch is pave-set with numerous diamonds and measures approximately 34mm x 38mm x 10mm.  In the center are the intertwined initials W and E (Wallis and Edward) set with calibré-cut emeralds, beneath that are the Roman Numeral XX (20) set with calibré-cut rubies and at the top of the heart brooch is a coronet set with more calibré-cut rubies.

Cartier Windsor 20th anniversary brooch

Crafts – Bridal Gift Boxes

Something old, etc. box - finished

Several years ago I posted an article about the old wedding tradition of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence for the shoe”. The exact origin of the Old English rhyme is unknown but the custom can be traced back to the Victorian era.  Usually the items are given by the bridal couple’s family and friends or more recently the modern bride will collect some of these items herself.  This is a perfect opportunity to add special meaning to a wedding and the items used should be personal and sentimental to the bride and groom.

In this post, I created special decorative boxes that could be used to present the items in a beautiful way.  The previous Craft Post, Decorated Wooden Gift Boxes, are very similar in design and construction to the Bridal Gift Boxes but a set of paper mache stacking boxes are used instead of a wooden box.  To make the Bridal Gift Boxes I have included a list of the supplies needed and complete instructions.  Then at the end of the post, I will also discuss the meaning of each item from the old wedding tradition and offer suggestions and choices for selecting each item to give to the bridal couple.   

Bridal Gift Boxes – supplies

I found the paper mache boxes at a local craft store, the boxes came in a set of three so I had to add a fourth smaller bow.  I liked them because the boxes could be stacked with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on top which would resemble a wedding cake.  The embossed and textured scrapbook paper I selected also mimics the frosting of a wedding cake and the self-stick pearls seemed like the perfect touch.

Something old, etc. box - supplies 1

  • 4 paper mache boxes in graduated sizes
  • Scrapbook paper – amount would depend on the size of the boxes (wrapping paper can be another option to use)
  • Self-stick pearls – color determined by the scrapbook paper (crystals could be used as an option)
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick

Bridal Gift Boxes – instructions 

  • Measure the side of the box and then the bottom of the box to determine the size of the scrapbook paper.
  • Set the paper face down, place the box on the top and cut a diagonal slit at each of the four corners.
  • Glue the bottom of the box and attach the paper.
  • Fold the paper onto the sides of the box and glue in place, trimming the excess.
  • Repeat the same procedures to paper the top (lid) of the box.
  • To finish the boxes, add pearls (or crystals) to the sides.

Something old, etc. box - finished 1

Presentation of the “something old, etc” gift boxes

To start the gift presentation at the bridal shower or luncheon, explain the tradition of why the items are collected for a bride on her wedding day and what the meaning of each item represents.  Then, I would suggest that each item should be opened individually.  To make the presentation more meaningful, explain the story behind why that particular item was chosen which I think would be very interesting for the bride and the guests to hear.

The meaning of each item with ideas and suggestions

“Something old” represents a past link to the bride’s life or her family.  This is probably the easiest item of the four to acquire; usually a mother or a grandmother of the bride or the groom will have a special piece of jewelry that can be passed down from one generation to the next.  Sentimental items can be a first communion cross, a pearl necklace from the mother or a special locket from a grandmother, other pieces of jewelry could be a bracelet, earrings or a necklace.  An old rosary or an antique handkerchief or perhaps a button from an old suit of the bride’s father which can be sown into the bridal dress, or a piece of fabric from an old dress of the bride, mother or grandmother can be wrapped around the bridal bouquet are other ideas for something old.

“Something new” represents a hope for the future of the bride and the groom on the occasion of their marriage.  The obvious choice for most brides will be her wedding dress, headpiece or shoes.  Perhaps the bride’s future husband will have purchased a special piece of jewelry to mark their wedding, such as a pair of earrings, necklace or a charm bracelet with a special charm for the wedding day.  Another suggestion for something new could be simply a new bottle of a special perfume.

“Something borrowed” is traditionally an item that comes from a happily married woman who is letting the bride borrow some of her martial success.  The borrowed item could be something as sentimental as a wedding dress or veil that was worn by a parent or grandparent.  Another idea could be a piece of jewelry loaned from a family member, a parent, grandparent or even a great grandparent.  The important thing to remember is that the something borrowed needs to be returned after the wedding.           

“Something blue” represents fidelity and loyalty; this item can be a fun way to express the bride’s personality or her quirky sense of humor.  This item can be something that is hidden from sight or it can be used as a bold fashion statement of the bride’s style.  Traditionally, this item is usually a blue garter decorated with blue ribbon and white lace.  Another traditional idea is blue-stone jewelry, such as: sapphire, aquamarine or tanzanite.  A fun idea which is now popular with the modern bride are blue shoes or blue nail polish on her toes!           

The last optional item is the sixpence which represents good fortune and prosperity for the bridal couple.  The sixpence is traditionally an item carried by British brides and it is placed in the bride’s left shoe.  Today’s modern brides can have a sixpence or another special coin sewn into the hem of her bridal gown or she can carry it in the purse used on her wedding day.

Celebration – Two Kennedy Weddings

Caroline and Ed at the church 10  JFK wedding - the church 1

This post is about two Kennedy weddings … the first wedding is Caroline Kennedy to Edwin Schlossberg and ten years later the second wedding is John F. Kennedy, Jr. to Carolyn Bessette.  But, before we start, let’s briefly discuss the immediate family of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline “Jackie” Bouvier Kennedy (later Onassis).

Many readers will remember the children of President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline from when they lived in the White House.  At the time of their father’s inauguration in January 1961 the children were very young and tragically, less than three years later President Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963.  (I have a very vivid image of young “John-John” saluting his father’s casket).  Sadly, John-John would celebrate his third birthday on the day of his father’s funeral and Caroline would turn six years old a few days later.

Kennedy family in the White House  President Kennedy funeral

After leaving the White House and Washington D.C., Jackie moved her two children to New York City to raise them away from the glare of the public and the press.  Then five years later, with the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968 and Jackie’s subsequent marriage to Aristotle Onassis later that same year, the family would lead an even more closed life.  As the years passed, Caroline and John grew into well-behaved and responsible adults, graduating school and moving onto careers.

Sadly, Jackie lived to see only one of her children married.  Caroline wed Edwin Schlossberg in 1986.  The couple had three children; Rose born in 1988, Tatiana in 1990 and John in 1993.  In late 1993, Jackie was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and went through chemotherapy but the cancer spread to other parts of her body and she died on May 18, 1994.  Two years later, John Jr. married Carolyn Bessette in 1996.  Unfortunately, tragedy stuck the family again on July 16, 1999 when John Jr., Carolyn and her sister Laurel died in a plane crash.  Today, the last surviving member of the immediate family of President Kennedy is Caroline Kennedy who was most recently appointed as the ambassador to Japan in July 2013 by President Obama.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis funeral  John Kerry swears in Caroline Kennedy as U.S. Ambassador to Japa

Schlossberg family

Wedding of Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg

Date: July 19, 1986  Place: Church of Our Lady of Victory in Centerville, Massachusetts

Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg met in 1981 when both were working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York.  Caroline had a job in the Film and Television Department and Ed was working as an exhibit designer.  The couple dated for several years and became engaged in March 1986 with a wedding set a few months later with most of the planning to be done by Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the mother of the bride.

The couple was married at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Centerville, Massachusetts. on July 19, 1986. (which was also the groom’s 41st birthday)  Many of the details of the wedding were keep secret in order to protect the privacy of the bridal couple.  It is known that there were 400 guests invited to the ceremony and the reception which followed at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port located six miles away from the church.  In addition to the numerous Kennedy family members and Schlossberg family there were several former aides of the Kennedy presidential administration; such as Arthur Schlesinger, Theodore Sorensen, Dave Powers and John Kenneth Galbraith.

Security was tight on the day of the wedding and that morning a crowd of 2,000 people had gathered in the small town on the streets outside the church.  Caroline, who was 28 years old, arrived with Senator Edward Kennedy, her beloved uncle that would escort her down the aisle.  John Kennedy Jr., the brother of the bride, was the best man and Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger, her cousin, was the matron of honor.  (The photos below show the bridal party arriving at the church, one photo taken just before the ceremony was to start shows Caroline gestured for the crowd to be quiet!)

Caroline and John  Shushing the crowd 2

Caroline collaborated with Carolina Herrera to design her wedding dress.  The white silk organza dress featured a round neck, short sleeves, a full skirt flowing into a twenty-five foot train and a long bodice covered with embroidered white shamrocks, which were the bride’s sentimental tribute to her father’s Irish ancestry.  On her head the bride wore a large bow with a long tulle veil attached, she wore carried a small bouquet of white phaleonopsis orchids and she “borrowed” diamond and pearl earring which had original been a gift from her father to her mother.  The groom wore a Willi Smith navy blue linen suit, a silver tie and a boutonniere of stephanotis.  The matron of honor and seven bridesmaids wore white and lavender floral print dress with wreaths cornflower bouquets and more cornflowers in their hair and the two flower girls wore white organdy pinafore dresses with pale blue sashes, cornflowers were President Kennedy’s favorite flowers. The best man and ten ushers wore blue linen blazers, white linen trousers, gray linen ties and cornflower boutonnieres.  The mother of the bride looked lovely wearing a pale green crepe dress with long sleeves and a narrow skirt designed by Herrera and long white gloves.

Caroline and Ed at the church 1  Jackie Kennedy Onassiss and Ted Kennedy

For the wedding ceremony, the inside of the church was decorated simply with several potted bay trees behind the altar and around the church, as well as floral arrangements of delphinium, white lilies, cornflowers and Queen Anne’s lace.  Across the altar was a garland of oak leaves and small bunches of wild roses and honeysuckle were tied on the pews.  After the service, Caroline and Ed exited the church, briefly posed for photographs and then left for the reception in a silver limousine.  John Jr. blew his sister a kiss from the steps of the church and standing nearby Jackie held back tears as she clung onto the arm of Ted Kennedy.

The wedding reception was held at the oceanfront home of the bride’s 95 year old grandmother in Hyannis Port.  Under a large white tent decorated with blue pennants the wedding dinner menu included cold pea soup with mint, vegetable vinaigrette, roast chicken with rice, beef sirloin.  The wedding cake was a four-tiered yellow cake with a chocolate filling and white icing which was served with a vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream.  At the reception there were several toasts but perhaps the most poignant moment was when John Jr. raised is glass and said, “It’s been the three of us for so long … and now there is a fourth” and then he warmly welcomed Ed to the family.  To end the evening there was a wonderful fireworks display.  Later Caroline and Ed left for their honeymoon in Hawaii and Japan.  

(Shown below is a more recent photo of Caroline Kennedy and Ed Schlossberg)

Caroline and John10

Wedding of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette

Date: September 21, 1996  Place: Brack Chapel on Cumberland Island, Georgia

John F. Kennedy and Carolyn Bessette first met in 1992.  After they began dating in 1994, the good looking couple was photographed constantly and every detail of their relationship was reported in the press while the couple tried to live their lives quietly in the Tribeca loft that they had moved into in the summer of 1995.  By this time, John had left his job as a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office to begin a career as the co-owner and editor of “George” magazine.  John’s goal for the magazine, which would focus on politics, was to present topics in an entertaining way which would create public interest and subsequent involvement in the political process.  At the time that Carolyn met John, she had been working for Calvin Klein but she later left her position with the company shortly after their engagement.          

John managed to keep his wedding to Carolyn a complete secret from the intrusive press by marrying on the exclusive Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia on September 21, 1996.  The ceremony took place in the evening at the tiny wooden structure known as the Brack Chapel of the First African Baptist Church attended by only 40 guests who included the immediate families of the bridal couple and a few close friends, a reception immediately followed the wedding ceremony at the Greyfield Inn also located on Cumberland Island.

JFK wedding - the men

The wedding officiant was Reverend Charles O’Byrne who had traveled from the St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church in Manhattan to perform the ceremony.  Since the service took place in the evening and because the small church had no electricity, the inside was light by candles and kerosene lamps.  A small wooden stand served as the altar and it was decorated with greenery, the only other decoration was a cross made from two pieces of wood tied together with rope.  The ceremony was very short with several members of the bridal couple’s families giving scripture readings, also “Amazing Grace” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” hymns were performed by gospel singer David Davis.

wedding1  JFK wedding - the church 1

Shown on the right is the famous photo taken by Denis Reggie of the newlyweds leaving the church, John is gallantly kissing Carolyn’s hand as she beams with joy!

The beautiful bride worked with the relatively new designer, Narcisco Rodriquez, in creating a “pearl white” silk crepe biased-cut floor-length gown which she wore with a tulle silk veil and long silk gloves, she wore beaded sating Manolo Blahnik sandals.  Carolyn wore her hair in a simple bun at the nape of her neck and attached a tulle silk veil with a “borrowed” clip that once belonged to the groom’s deceased mother, Jackie Kennedy Onassis.  Carolyn carried a lily of the valley bouquet.   

The handsome groom wore a Gordon Henderson dark blue wool single-breasted suit with a white pique vest and a pale blue tie.  Much like his sister did 10 years earlier; the groom honored his father, President John F. Kennedy, by wearing his wristwatch.  Anthony Radziwill, the groom’s cousin, was the best man and Caroline Kennedy, the groom’s sister, was the matron of honor and she wore a navy blue crepe silk gown designed by Narcisco Rodriquez.  Jack Schlossberg, the groom’s nephew, was the ring bearer and Rose and Tatiana Schlossberg, the groom’s nieces, were flower girls and they wore tea-length white linen dresses.

After the wedding ceremony, the bridal couple and their guests went to Greyfield Inn for a reception.  The dinner menu featured shrimp, artichokes and grill swordfish.  The wedding cake was a three tiered whit cake with vanilla butter cream frosting decorated with flowers.  They couple later honeymooned in Turkey and had a ten day cruise on the Aegean Sea aboard the “Althea”.

In the years following the wedding, John and Carolyn were constantly scrutinized in the press and frequently photographed as a glamourous couple attending functions in both New York City and sometimes Washington D.C.  The fashionable Carolyn has a distinct classic minimalist style and she was often compared to her mother-in-law, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who she had unfortunately never met before the former First Lady’s death in 1994.   The photo below shows the couple in May 1999.

John and Carolyn

Sadly on July 16, 1999 John, Carolyn and her sister Lauren died in a plane crash over the Atlantic Ocean while on route to Martha’s Vineyard.  John had been the pilot of the small plane and it was later determined that the probable cause of the tragic accident was “pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during a descent over water at night most likely the result of spatial disorientation”.  The bodies were eventually recovered a few days later and on July 22 a memorial service took place aboard a Naval ship, USS Briscoe, and their ashes were scattered into the waters off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

In the end, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg is the only living member of President John Kennedy immediate family, the last link to the fabled modern day Camelot.

If you are interested in more detailed information on the wedding of John Kennedy and Jaqueline Bouvier, please click on the link.  Two other posts of interest are: Jackie Kennedy – her White House Dresses and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.