A regal wedding for an American princess
Thursday, Jul. 29, 2010 Globe & Mail
When Chelsea Clinton weds Marc Mezvinsky on Saturday, it will be the culmination of a long and largely private courtship. the two first met as teenagers at an elite retreat in South Carolina favoured by Ms. Clinton’s parents. Sparks didn’t fly, apparently. Both went on to attend Stanford University and then started dating a few years ago. Like Ms. Clinton, mr. Mezvinsky knows what it’s like to grow up in a prominent political family and survive a brutal public scandal. mr. Mezvinsky’s mother and father were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; his father, Ed Mezvinsky, later spent five years in prison after being convicted of fraud. Once the nuptials and honeymoon are over, the newlyweds will return to new York, where mr. Mezvinsky, 32, works for a hedge fund and Ms. Clinton, 30, is pursuing a master’s degree in public health at Columbia University.
The “ClintVinsky” wedding, as some have dubbed it, is the biggest thing to happen to the hamlet of Rhinebeck since the place was founded by Dutch settlers in 1688. Situated on the eastern bank of the Hudson River about two hours north of Manhattan, the town – population 8,000 – is already overrun with media sniffing around for details of the weekend’s festivities. While small, Rhinebeck has long attracted an upscale crowd. Annie Leibovitz, Liam Neeson, and Bette Midler are among the celebrities who have homes in the vicinity. some wedding guests will be staying at the Beekman Arms Inn, which claims to be the oldest continuously operated hotel in America. (Not to fear, all guest rooms were renovated in 1995.) the hotel has an impeccable presidential pedigree: George Washington slept there during the Revolutionary War and Franklin Roosevelt was a frequent visitor.
For America’s equivalent of a royal wedding, there is an appropriately regal venue. Astor Courts was built as a sporting retreat in 1902 by millionaire John Jacob Astor IV and modelled after the Grand Trianon pavilion at Versailles. Set back from prying eyes among 20 hectares of wooded fields, the building originally included guest bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, two squash courts and a shooting range. Helicopters have been spotted flying over the venue in recent weeks, according to locals. for the rehearsal dinner, the setting is no less grand. It’s reportedly being held at Grasmere, an estate built in 1774 encompassing a Georgian manor and Edwardian stone barns set in hundreds of hectares of farmland.
The Bruised Feelings
After a lifetime in politics, the bride’s parents have accumulated a universe of friends, donors, and hangers-on. the wedding’s guest list, however, is restricted to an inner circle of about 500, with the bride and groom reportedly insisting that they know each person themselves. Those who made the cut include Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg and Ted Turner, reports say. As for presidents, only one – the father of the bride – will be in attendance. President Barack Obama wasn’t invited, he revealed this week. (“Hillary and bill properly want to keep this as a thing for Chelsea,” he said magnanimously.) Also not coming: former vice-president Al Gore. And of course, what’s a wedding without a little family drama? the groom’s uncle, Norton Mezvinsky, who had a falling-out with his nephew, didn’t receive an invite.
The tab for the Clinton-Mezvinsky extravaganza is a source of intense speculation among wedding planners, who put the price tag at upwards of $3-million, according to the New York Daily News.