The Chelsea Affair: A Perfect Wedding Day

Chelsea Clinton's wedding Saturday to Marc Mezvinsky in the bucolic Rhinebeck was a covert operation.

with contributions from Matthew Lynch
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Christopher Bailey

Photo By Matthew Lynch

Madeleine Albright

Photo By Rosemary Feitelberg

RHINEBECK, N.Y. — Talk about covert operations — Chelsea Clinton’s wedding Saturday to Marc Mezvinsky in this bucolic town nestled near the Hudson was just that. But as the Clintons know only too well from their days in the White House, nothing can stay secret for long.


By the time the guests of honor bid their good-byes at Sunday’s farewell brunch at an idyllic farm outside of town, a few details of the “wedding of the year” (and it’s only August), began to trickle out. For one, the wedding festivities at the Stanford White-designed Astor Courts rolled on well into Sunday morning, with some diehards sticking around until 3 a.m.

The bride double-dipped with Vera Wang, wearing an ivory strapless gown by the designer with a raw-edged laser-cut silk organza skirt for the interfaith ceremony and a silk tulle cross-back Grecian gown with a narrow grosgrain black belt for the reception. The former first daughter also tapped Wang, who was among the 400 guests, to design the bridesmaids’ dresses, strapless bias-cut lavender chiffon gowns with a side drape and a contrasting plum bow. It was a big weekend for Wang who also dressed Alicia Keys, who wed Swiss Beatz Saturday.

Clinton and Mezvinsky’s good friend Christopher Bailey of Burberry suited him up, and did the honors with the shirts and ties for Bill Clinton and the groomsmen. While Mezvinsky turned to two of his brothers, Andrew and Vu Pham, to be his best men, his bride relied on her longtime friend Nicole Davidson Fox as maid of honor. After dining on farm fresh salad, risotto, beef short ribs and grilled fish, guests amidst the all-ivory decor tucked into what was described by one as an “amazing” multitiered cake. But the real treat were the toasts provided by Hillary and Bill Clinton. The former president warmed up the crowd with the well-worn punch line of how he was “looking forward to having some company because I’m outnumbered.” Striking a more serious note and speaking on behalf of Hillary Clinton, he was said go on to tell the crowd, “Despite the fact that we have had interesting careers, we still consider the most important job we ever had to being the parents of Chelsea.” And they certainly paid a pretty penny to mark the wedding of their only child, with cost estimates ranging wildly from $1 million up to $5 million. As to who footed the bill for the extensive manpower of Secret Service and state and local police, that remained unclear Sunday.

The newlyweds are now off on a two-week-plus honeymoon to an undisclosed location (naturally).

The newlyweds held their own with a first dance that stole the show. “They were amazing. It was like watching ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” one guest said. “They definitely took lessons.”

The festivities kicked off Friday with a rehearsal dinner, although, serene as can be, Chelsea Clinton had the wherewithal to call it an early night, skipping the after party, essentially cocktails at the Beekman Arms. “Once the word was Chelsea-is-not-coming, the party was over. The bar cleared out by 11:30 p.m.,” according to one staffer.

On her wedding day, the bride’s elegant updo — much like the one she wore when spotted last week by WWD under an enormous straw hat en route to Wang’s showroom —only accentuated her lithesome frame from months of SoulCycle and Core Fusion exercises classes. (Her hair was said to have been done by Isabelle Goetz, who also did Hillary Clinton’s tresses). Her father also looked to be in tip-top shape, appearing to have made good on his promise to slim down before walking her down the aisle.

Contrary to the pre-wedding local buzz that churned out all sorts of inaccurate celebrity sightings including Oprah Winfrey, the guest list was relatively VIP-free. Madeleine Albright, Vernon Jordan, Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen and Steve Bing were among the exceptions. “It was relatively low-key. You had to really know Chelsea or Marc. There weren’t a lot of people who are splashed on the pages of People magazine,” one attendee said.

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