Wedding 'should've been on TV'

2010-08-01 13:55

Rhinebeck - Chelsea Clinton married her longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky on Saturday at a heavily guarded wedding on a luxury country estate outside New York.

Former president Bill Clinton and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of their "great pride and overwhelming emotion" after their only child and the Wall Street banker tied the knot in rural Rhinebeck.

The nuptials, taking place on the picturesque Astor Courts estate in balmy summer weather, ended weeks of increasingly fevered speculation in response to a news blackout imposed by the Clintons.

"We could not have asked for a more perfect day to celebrate the beginning of their life together, and we are so happy to welcome Marc into our family," Chelsea's parents - one of America's most powerful couples - said in a statement after the ceremony.

Intrigue about the wedding reached a climax on Saturday as journalists and celebrity watchers flooded tiny Rhinebeck in hopes of spotting stars among the approximately 500 guests.

Sketchy details

They were reported to have included former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, top designer Vera Wang, who allegedly made Chelsea's dress, and Hollywood actor Ted Danson, although confirmations were still elusive.

Not spotted were some of the bigger A-list guests such as Hollywood mogul Steven Spielberg and talkshow queen Oprah Winfrey, who had been repeatedly reported by specialist celebrity news sites as being on the invite list.

Hillary Clinton's boss, President Barack Obama, wasn't there - he says he wasn't actually invited and that in any case two presidents would be one too many at a wedding.

Many other details remained sketchy, including whether the betrothed had an interfaith wedding, since Chelsea, 30, is a Methodist and Mezvinsky, 32, is Jewish.

According to The New York Times, an interfaith ceremony was indeed conducted by Rabbi James Ponet and Reverend William Shillady.

What's on the menu?

Security and secrecy were so tight that only journalists were allowed to approach the outskirts of the estate - and even then only if they were on foot.

From the pen erected to control journalists near the entrance to Astor Courts all that was visible were the speeding convoys of buses and black SUVs carrying the guests and the Clinton family to the party.

A no-fly zone was also imposed, to keep away paparazzi, and enforced by a police helicopter that buzzed noisily over the idyllic, wooded area.

A short distance from Astor Courts in the town of Rhinebeck, throngs of well-wishers gathered at the main crossroads.

"This is exciting. There's so much trouble in the world but this Saturday everything stops just for this wedding," said Anne McConnell, who'd secured a strategically placed bench opposite the 18th century Beekman Arms hotel in hopes of seeing members of the Clinton family.

"It's just a shame it's not on TV," she said. "This should be live on TV like Princess Diana's wedding."


Local resident Chris Madden posed the same question as many others: "I want to know what dress Chelsea's wearing - and Hillary too."

"I want to know what's on the menu," said Walter Mullin.

Reports from gossip websites such as TMZ and tabloids like New York's Daily News painted a picture of an extraordinarily lavish occasion likely to cost three to five million dollars.

Given the secrecy, however, that could not be immediately confirmed.

Among the few guests to talk ahead of the wedding were Danson and his wife Mary Steenburgen.

Steenburgen, a longtime Clinton friend from the president's home state of Arkansas, said Chelsea's parents were experiencing "pure joy" for their daughter.