John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette were American royalty, making their 1996 wedding one of the most anticipated events in history. As one of the world's most sought after couples, they went to great lengths to keep the nuptials, held on Georgia's Cumberland Island, a secret.
The secret wedding was only attended by 35 guests and was held at night by candlelight, all to maintain the privacy of the paparazzi-hunted couple. It worked, with their wedding still remaining one of mystery and intrigue.
On the 20th anniversary of the plane crash that tragically killed both John and Carolyn, the world will finally get a look at Carolyn's wedding. John's best friend Billy Noonan had documented the fairytale wedding weekend on tape, and for over two decades, kept it hidden. Now, he's decided to release it as part of TLC's upcoming two-hour special, JFK Jr. & Carolyn's Wedding: The Lost Tapes.
A sneak peek at the footage, shown on the Today show, reveals an intimate look at the special celebration. In one clip, John gives a toast by candlelight. "Carolyn has changed my life in a way that I never thought was possible," he says, "and just made me, tonight, the happiest man alive."
The special is being narrated by Elizabeth McGovern. “As the leading destination for weddings, TLC is immensely proud to air this intimate look into the exclusive and historic wedding of ‘American royalty,’ which captivated and delighted the world,” TLC president Howard Lee said in a statement.
The humble chapel and intimate ceremony make for an unforgettable scene. As the couple's wedding photographer, Denis Reggie, previously described it to Town & Country, "No grandeur, nothing more than just what it was. The simplicity—that was the beauty."
The television special will also feature interviews with attendees, including Jodee Sadowsky, the event's caterer, and David. R. Davis, a gospel singer who performed that night. Passionate viewers will no doubt be excited to see inside the historic wedding, including the first dance, wedding cake, incredible small church, and of course, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy's wedding dress.
The influence of Carolyn's wedding is still seen today. Meghan Markle and her wedding dress designer Claire Waight Keller reportedly decided on the timeless design thanks to Carolyn. Markle took a cue from Carolyn Bessette Kennedy's Narciso Rodriguez wedding slip dress, previously calling it "everything goals."
JFK Jr. & Carolyn's Wedding: The Lost Tapes airs on TLC on July 13, 2019.
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This article originally appeared on InStyle Australia.