Former President Bill Clinton accompanies daughter Chelsea down the aisle
RHINEBECK, N.Y. — Chelsea Clinton wed her longtime boyfriend under extraordinary security at an elegant Hudson River estate late Saturday.
Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton announced in a statement that their daughter wed investment banker Marc Mezvinsky after weeks of secrecy and buildup that had celebrity watchers flocking to the small village of Rhinebeck for the evening nuptials. The site of the wedding, a Beaux Arts riverside estate called Astor Courts, was sealed off from the general public.
“Today, we watched with great pride and overwhelming emotion as Chelsea and Marc wed in a beautiful ceremony at Astor Courts, surrounded by family and their close friends,” the Clintons said.
“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. On behalf of the newlyweds, we want to give special thanks to the people of Rhinebeck for welcoming us and to everyone for their well-wishes on this special day.”
The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
This is first verse of the poem by Leo Marks read at the wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky as their new lives began with the blessing of clergy from both faiths.
A press release from the family, reported in the New York Times, says Rabbi James Ponet and the Rev. William Shillady co-officiated for the Jewish groom and Methodist bride.
Photo By Barbara Kinney
The Jewish Daily Forward Shmooze column says Ponet, who led friends and family in Judaism’s traditional seven wedding blessings, is Yale’s Jewish chaplain and heads the university’s Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life where he taught a seminar on “The Family in Jewish Tradition,” with sexpert …Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
Shillady is executive director of the United Methodist City Society, described online as an social action agency supporting “church-managed education, daycare, outreach and fellowship programs for members and the surrounding community.”
So, finally we know the names, the blessings, the poems and all and the couple has joined the soaring category of religiously mixed marriages — about one in three U.S. couples according to recent surveys.
It is estimated that hundreds of guests gathered at the historic estate near the end of a near-perfect summer day of warm temperatures, blue skies and cottony clouds. The ceremony was conducted by a rabbi and a reverend as Chelsea Clinton is Methodist and Mezvinsky is Jewish. The couple read a poem by Leo Marks titled, “The Life I Have,” according to the family.
The wedding was a mix of high society and high security. The road to Astor Courts was blocked off Saturday — neighbors received bottle of wine for their troubles — and the sky above was declared a no-fly zone by federal aviation officials. Police and security guards fanned out around this usually sleepy town.
Consistent with Chelsea Clinton’s desire for privacy, the family had released no details of the wedding beyond the date. But the scope of the event became apparent when more than a half-dozen busloads of wedding guests — men in black tie, women in dresses — were transported from a hotel in the village to the riverside ceremony as gawkers looked on.
Celebrities spotted in Rhinebeck for the event included actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, fashion designer Vera Wang, Madeleine Albright, who was secretary of state during Bill Clinton’s second term as president and Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic National Committee chairman. The former president’s half brother, Roger Clinton, was spotted early Saturday afternoon with his son Tyler, picking up food at a restaurant.
Danson and Steenburgen said they were excited about the upcoming ceremony as they strolled through Rhinebeck toward one of the hotels being used for the wedding.
“I knew her since she was a baby so this is a big moment,” said Steenburgen, who wed Danson in 1995. “She’s a lovely, lovely girl.”
Reporters, who had been searching for celebrities in vain for most of the day, quickly zeroed in on the couple, prompting Danson to ask, “Are we the only celebrities in town?”
Celebrity seekers jockeyed with reporters for sidewalk space over most of the day too. Donna Vena drove 50 miles to Rhinebeck from her home of Mount Kisco, N.Y., in the hopes of spotting a celebrity.
“Why not?” she asked Saturday morning, a camera slung over her shoulder. “Big story. Maybe see Oprah.”
Nearby, two young women passed out slices of pizza with “I do” written in pepperoni.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the hotel where many of the guests are staying were rewarded Friday night when the Clintons exited a van arm-in-arm outside the Beekman Arms Hotel.
Shortly before 11 p.m., the former first lady, wearing a long green dress, waved to the cheering crowd waiting behind metal barricades and quickly went into the hotel. She left with the former president about a half-hour later.
Earlier Friday, Bill Clinton made an appearance around lunchtime, popping out of a car and walking a few blocks, greeting people on his way to a restaurant. Looking fit and relaxed in blue jeans and a black knit shirt, he gave easy answers to questions shouted by well-wishers and reporters.
Chelsea Clinton and Mezvinsky were friends as teenagers in Washington, and both attended Stanford University. They now live in New York, where Mezvinsky works at G3 Capital, a Manhattan hedge fund. Mezvinsky worked previously at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker.
Clinton completed her master’s degree in public health earlier this year at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.
Mezvinsky is a son of former U.S. Reps. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky of Pennsylvania and Ed Mezvinsky of Iowa, longtime friends of the Clintons. His parents are divorced.
SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY