Chelsea, Marc have 'beautiful ceremony'

By GERRY HARRINGTON  |  Aug. 1, 2010 at 2:44 PM
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RHINEBECK, N.Y., Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton and U.S. investment banker Marc Mezvinsky were married Saturday at a secluded Hudson Valley estate, her parents said.

"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," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former U.S. President Bill Clinton said in a statement that ended weeks of extraordinary secrecy about the upstate New York nuptials.

"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," the statement said. "On behalf of the newlyweds, we want to give special thanks to the people of Rhinebeck (N.Y.) for welcoming us and to everyone for their well-wishes on this special day."

The outdoor interfaith ceremony was co-officiated by the Rev. William S. Shillady and Rabbi James Ponet, the family said separately. Clinton is Methodist and Mezvinsky is Jewish.

During the service, conducted under a gazebo of white flowers before sunset on the Jewish Sabbath, the couple read the poem "The Life That I Have" by the late British cryptographer, screenwriter and playwright Leo Marks.

The poem begins: "The life that I have / Is all that I have / And the life that I have / Is yours."

Up to 500 people were believed to have attended. The press and general public were kept far away from the 50-acre property and the road leading to the Beaux-Arts mansion, built for millionaire John Jacob Astor IV and his wife, Ava, in 1902-1904, was blocked by New York State Police.

The U.S. Secret Service issued a no-fly zone over the town, 90 miles north of New York City, and all wedding guests were forbidden to bring cameras, cellphones or mobile e-mail smart phone devices.

Throngs of the general public hoping to catch a glimpse of the rich and famous saw chartered buses and stretch limousines with dark-tinted windows and about two-dozen U.S. and foreign TV news crews, including from Italy, Japan and Australia.

United Press International spotted former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, longtime Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant Friday night and actors Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen Saturday.

Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg and former British Prime Minister John Major did not attend and were not invited, despite earlier reports they were, The New York Times said.

Chelsea Clinton, 30, wore a strapless, floor-length gown with a shimmering bejeweled waistband designed by Vera Wang, who attended the wedding, while Hillary Clinton wore a cranberry Oscar de la Renta with puffy shoulders and a tied waist.

Mezvinsky, 32 -- the son of divorced former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, D-Pa., and former U.S. Rep. Ed Mezvinsky, D-Iowa, who was released from federal prison in 2008 after serving time for fraud -- wore a slim black tuxedo suit with a narrow necktie designed by Burberry Chief Creative Director Christopher Bailey and accented by a small, white boutonniere on his left lapel. He also wore a black yarmulke skullcap and white tallit prayer shawl. Bill Clinton wore a black suit, tie and boutonniere that matched Mezvinsky's.

Catering was said to include vegan fare and a five-tier gluten-free wedding cake -- Chelsea Clinton is allergic to gluten -- and wine provided by the aptly named Clinton Vineyards of nearby Clinton Corners, N.Y.

Individual bottles of the vineyard's Seyval Blanc "Tribute" wine were also dropped off at homes near the estate by wedding planner Rafanelli Events. An accompanying note thanked the residents for their "patience and cooperation" during the road closures.

Blue fireworks lit up the sky over the estate Saturday night, onlookers told UPI.

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