By now you’ve heard the big news: Chelsea Clinton and her beloved, Marc Mezvinsky, are getting hitched this Saturday, July 31. Why do we care? Because they’ll recite their vows in good old Rhinebeck — right in our backyard!
Of course, this is all speculation — the Clinton family is keeping its lips sealed when it comes to the wedding’s exact details. Some even say it’s all a conspiracy; Rhinebeck may be a decoy while the two lovebirds jet to Martha’s Vineyard for the real deal. Regardless, locals are certainly buzzing about the possibility that it’s happening. Here’s what we’ve heard through the rumor mill:
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The bride-to-be, Miss Chelsea Clinton
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Chelsea Victoria Clinton, 30, is best known as the only child — dubbed “Energy” by the Secret Service — of former President Bill Clinton and current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. But her fame doesn’t end there: An avid academic, Clinton graduated from Stanford University, where she majored in chemistry and medicine (and later, history). She earned her master’s at Oxford (coincidentally, where Dad studied government and played rugby as a Rhodes Scholar), and now studies health management at Columbia University’s School of Public Health.
Our smarty-pants also serves on the board of the School of American Ballet and extensively supports her parents’ political efforts — she’s co-chairperson for Dad’s Clinton Foundation, and made appearances to over 100 college campuses on behalf of her mother’s presidency campaign. Currently, she lives in Gramercy Park on Manhattan’s East Side.
Our groom-to-be, Marc Mezvinsky
Marc Mezvinsky, 32, is the son of former Iowa congressman Edward Mezvinsky and former Pennsylvania Representative Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky. The groom-to-be, once an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, now works for the hedge fund 3G Capital. He met Clinton at Stanford, where he majored in religious studies and philosophy, and the couple became engaged in November 2009 just before the Thanksgiving weekend.
Mezvinsky joined his future father-in-law during the Haitian earthquake crisis this past January, delivering medical supplies and offering support. The former president says of the hubby-to-be: “He is a great human being.”
The parents of the bride: President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton and 42nd U.S. President William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton are no strangers to the Valley. When not talking politics in D.C. or peacemaking around the globe, the Clintons have been known to take a day trip or two to our area: In 2008, we spotted them moseying around Woodstock in search of a good cup of coffee, and they laughed it up with the cast of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival last summer. Bill practices his swing every now and again at Trump National Golf Club. And don’t forget, their Chappaqua home is in northern Westchester County — and only an hour-and-a-half away from Rhinebeck.
Valley venue: The Astor Courts estate in Rhinebeck is the rumored location of the Clinton-Mezvinsky wedding on Saturday, July 31
Photograph courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
Designed by architect Stanford White of the renowned firm McKim, Mead & White, Astor Courts (also known as Ferncliff Casino) sits on a picturesque 50 acres just off the Hudson River in Rhinebeck. The estate, which features a prominent, 1900s Beaux-Arts style mansion, seems the perfect location for a high-profile wedding; not only are the grounds secluded, but the mansion itself has plenty of space — 40,000 square feet, to be exact — for the couple and their guests to hide away in celebration. Plus, the Clintons have ties with the owners. Cha-ching!
Other facts about the Astor Courts: It was owned by John Jacob Astor IV, the famed millionaire who met his fate during the sinking of the Titanic. Originally part of a much larger piece of property and used as a guest house and sporting pavilion in Astor’s heyday, the mansion currently contains five bedrooms, 15-foot ceilings, a marble indoor pool, an indoor clay tennis court, and two wings — connected by a huge 35-by-60-foot main hall. But it wasn’t always this way; after Astor’s death, a slew of new owners did away with the elegance, lowering ceilings, adding tacky linoleum over the marble floors, and painting the walls in ugly pastel colors. At one point, it was even used as a convent and nursing home by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York — not exactly known for lavish décor. Thankfully, current owners Arthur Seelbinder and Kathleen Hammer smartly decided to return the estate to its Gilded Age glory, and in 2005, they employed Sam White — Stanford White’s great-grandson — to man the restoration. Last year, the duo placed the home on the market for $12 million.
» Still not convinced of the Clinton-Mezvinsky shebang? Hudson Valley News reports that white tents have recently sprouted on the Astor grounds
Miss Clinton at the Broadway premiere of Promises, Promises on April 25.
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Not much is known about the rock on Miss Clinton’s finger, except that it made its first public appearance this spring during the opening night of Broadway’s Promises, Promises. It wasn’t too hard to miss; after breaking her heel (due to a yet-unknown cause), Clinton arrived for the show on crutches — baring a sizeable diamond on her left hand. (Yes, she’ll be crutch-free by the time she walks down the aisle.)
For many brides, it’s not the bling that takes center stage — it’s all about the dress. Plenty has been suspected about Miss Clinton’s gown, including the designer: Will she wear a piece by wedding gown queen Vera Wang, or Oscar de la Renta (her mom’s fave fashionisto)? While some are convinced of the latter, we can’t deny the obvious — just yesterday, the Clinton ladies were reported sneaking in to Wang’s salon. (Then again, they stopped by the de la Renta showroom as well.) According to the Washington Post, the bet is on both: Hillary will wear Oscar, and Chelsea’s snagged Vera.
» Inspired by Chelsea’s style? Our Sale of the Week takes its cues from our bride-to-be
According to TheWeek.com, catering will be handled by Blue Ribbon Restaurants, St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, and Olivier Cheng Catering and Events. Chelsea is vegan, so the menu will most likely vegan-friendly dishes. Floral arrangements by designer Jeff Leatham (of Four Seasons Hotels) and Boston-based Winston Flowers will adorn the grounds.
And for the guests? The Beekman Arms Inn, located just a few minutes from the supposed ceremony venue, is “booked solid” for the weekend. And further solidifying speculation that something big is in the works for the town, a local news source reports that town officials have approved $2,500 worth of extra police coverage for the area.
A-list guest list: From left: President Barack Obama; Barbara Streisand; Oprah Winfrey; Steven Spielberg
The Guest List
Four- to five-hundred A-listers, family, and friends are expected to attend the ceremony. On the invite list: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama; TV queen Oprah Winfrey; Barbara Streisand; Steven Spielberg and his leading lady, Kate Capshaw; and media mogul Ted Turner. Some doubt the Commander in Chief will attend — as a guest on The View, which aired this morning, President Obama himself claimed that he hadn’t been invited. “You don’t want two presidents at one wedding!” he jokes. “All the secret service, guests going through [metal detectors], all the gifts being torn apart… ” Hmm…
Of course, you can’t have a celebrity wedding without some drama. Two Norwegian journalists reporting for Verdens Gang, an Oslo-based newspaper, were arrested by state police on Wednesday for trespassing on the grounds of the estate (though their managing editor claims otherwise). And last week, one local bride — who’s getting married on the same day just a few minutes away at Clermont Historic Site — claims that “Chelsea Clinton has taken what was supposed to be a special day for me and turned it into hell.” Yikes!
Of course, none of this may be true (the Clinton wedding, that is). Chelsea and Marc really could be in Martha’s Vineyard right now, prepping for their big day. But with all the rumors swirling around Rhinebeck, it certainly seems doubtful that our favorite posh Valley town is just a “smokescreen,” as our local, disgruntled bride-to-be hopes.
What say you, Valley readers? Do the puzzle pieces fit into place, or do you think it’s all a magic trick? Share your thoughts — and any fun tidbits you might know about the wedding — in the comments box below.