Mystery clouds Clinton wedding

2010-07-25 14:38

New York -The location remains semi-secret, but wherever it is that Chelsea Clinton gets married next Saturday, lots of people want to be there -- and lots will be disappointed.

With only a week to go and almost all details still under wraps, US media hype over the nuptials of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton's only child is verging on hysteria.

All that's sure is that Chelsea, 30, is to marry investment banker Marc Mezvinksy, 32, on Saturday and that her famous parents are excited.

The rest is speculation. Plenty of it.

The setting is expected to be luxury Astor Courts, modelled after France's Versailles palace, in Rhinebeck, a small town in upstate New York. But even that is unofficial.

Mystery dress

The dress remains a mystery, although Chelsea watchers have decided that Oscar de la Renta or Vera Wang will be the designer.

Mezvinsky is Jewish and Chelsea Clinton is Christian, so it's anybody's guess how the religious part of the ceremony will proceed.

And most intriguingly, the guest list - except presumably by now to the approximately 400 invitees - is still a total blank.

Hillary Clinton openly talks of the excitement and nerves she and husband Bill are feeling, but refuses to be drawn on the planning, explaining she's under "strict orders" to keep quiet.

President Barack Obama apparently will not attend, as first rumoured, according to his spokesperson, yet other big names including TV chat show empress Oprah Winfrey continue to be mentioned in the gossip pages.

The strain of waiting to hear whether they've been included is apparently getting to some in the vast network of Clinton family friends, connections, campaign donors and political allies.

People feel left out

The New York Times quoted insiders over the weekend complaining they felt left out.

"I'm good enough to borrow a plane from, but not good enough to be invited to the wedding?" lamented one connection who in the past had given his private jet and pilot to Bill Clinton, but has yet to receive a coveted invitation to the party.

A long-time Clinton acquaintance told the Times, "I'm sure there are some people who are lobbying discreetly."

The ones who make it "will ballyhoo it quietly, and if they're not on the list, their noses will be out of joint. I know some people whose noses are out of joint."

That fevered push for a seat at the wedding feast is in stark contrast to the modest profiles of the husband-and-wife-to-be.

Well-connected family

Unlike her ultra-ambitious, controversial parents, Chelsea has shown little desire for the limelight, for political office or the perks of coming from one of the most well-connected families on the planet.

Her husband, whom she met as a teenager at a retreat for Democrats, leaves an even smaller footprint.

Barely known to the public in his professional and adult private life, Mezvinsky is chiefly remembered as the son of a former Democratic congressman who began a five-year prison sentence in 2003 after pleading guilty to fraud.

Although the experience is not on the same level as the enormous 1998 Monica Lewinsky scandal that almost engulfed Bill Clinton's presidency, the shared trauma of having fathers brought low may fuel the publicity-shy couple's desire to be left alone.

The Washington Post rode to Chelsea Clinton's defence over the weekend, calling for her and the groom to be granted the privacy they gone to such great pains to secure.

"The prying reportage is beginning to smell of dumpster diving. Have we no shame? No, apparently, we do not," the Post article charged.

"If there is anything particularly noteworthy about Clinton - and this is a sad reflection on our pop-culture universe - it's that as the child of two public and controversial parents, she seems well-adjusted, intelligent and pleasant," the daily said. "This is how our culture rewards decorum."