America awaits super-secret Clinton wedding
During the 1990s, she was America's First Daughter. And for eight years, as she grew up, the world watched her every move. Now she's getting married!
According to reports, Chelsea Clinton, 30, the only child of former United States President Bill Clinton and current US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will marry her fiance and long-time companion and investment banker Marc Mezvinsky, on Saturday.
The tiny Rhinebeck village in New York state will be the site of the ceremony, which remains cloaked in secrecy. Reports in mid-July said the exclusive guest list could include US President Barack Obama, talk show magnate Oprah Winfrey, former United Kingdom Prime Minister John Major and filmmaker Steven Spielberg. But now those reports are falling into question, and it looks like the guest-list may emphasise family and close friends over international A-listers.
Because Chelsea was just 12 years old when her father became the US president in January 1993, she has lived under intense media scrutiny from an early age. Trying to avoid unwanted attention, she has always avoided the press, to the point of refusing all interviews. Her wedding has proven no different, leading to much speculation and little fact.
Image: Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former US President Bill Clinton, at the Mohammed Ali Mosque in Cairo
The power couple
Clinton and Mezvinsky first met at Stanford University, from where Clinton graduated in 2001 before heading to the University of Oxford in the UK for her master's degree in international relations.
In recent years, she's worked for consulting firm McKinsey & Company and a hedge fund in New York City. She has also worked for the Hillary Clinton 2008 presidential campaign, speaking at over 100 university campuses across the US, and introduced her mother at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
She has also recently completed a master's degree in public health from Columbia University, and is reportedly being groomed to take over her father's William J Clinton Foundation, which aims to 'strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence'.
Like Clinton, Mezvinsky grew up with parents in the political spotlight -- and not always for the right reasons. His mother is award-winning journalist and former US Congresswoman (Democrat, Pennsylvania) Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, while his father is Ed Mezvinsky, former US Congressman (Democrat, Iowa), who recently spent time in US federal prison for fraud.
Image: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with her husband Bill and daughter Chelsea
Photographs: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Two years ago, when then US president George W Bush's daughter Jenna got married at the family's ranch in Crawford, Texas, it was reported that the entire celebration cost just $100,000.
Meanwhile, early reports say that Chelsea's wedding could have a whopping $2 million+ price-tag. ABC News says that renting the rumoured venue for the event -- the Astor Courts estate in Rhinebeck, a 26,000 sq ft mansion inspired by Versailles in France -- costs between $125,000 and $200,000 alone, while CBS says the catering will cost $750,000, or $1,500 per guest!
Other big expenses include flowers, photography, music and entertainment, and security.
Image: Chelsea with her fiance Marc Mezvinsky
Photographs: Chip East/Reuters
Will she, won't she?
The marriage's inter-faith angle has also generated much discussion and speculation, because Clinton, like her mother, is a United Methodist Christian (Bill was raised in the Southern Baptist Christian tradition), while Mezvinksy, 32, was raised in Conservative Judaism.
Conservative Judaism disapproves of inter-marriages and does not allow Conservative Jewish rabbis to preside over or event attend interfaith wedding ceremonies unless the non-Jewish spouse converts.
So, the question is: Will she or won't she convert?
It's unclear at the moment, but it has been reported that father Bill is planning to walk his daughter down the aisle in the Christian tradition. In the Jewish tradition, usually both parents walk with their spouses.
It's also been reported that Chelsea will wear a Vera Wang wedding gown, while her mother will don a dress by Oscar de la Renta. The dress code for the wedding is strictly formal, black tie-style attire.
Image: Former US President George W Bush with the Clinton family
Gores to skip wedding
To keep the paparazzi off the scent, details about the wedding have been in short supply. In fact, no one was sure that Rhinebeck would be the location and that July 31 would be the date until just a few days ago.
There had been no news about the guest list until mid-July, when it was reported that the Clintons would play host to about 400-500 friends and family, and leaders from the worlds of business, politics and arts.
According to these reports, President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, actress Barbara Streisand, former UK premier Tony Blair and others would add to the event's celebrity quotient. But now it's not so clear if the Clintons want such a high-profile guest list, perhaps wishing to keep the ceremony a more private and intimate affair.
A representative for former US vice-president Al Gore and his estranged wife, Tipper Gore, confirmed that neither would attend the wedding.
Image: Chelsea Clinton walks across Stanford University with her parents
Clintons a 'nervous wreck'
While information has been hardly forthcoming, Secretary of State Clinton did give us a tiny peak into the preparations with a recent NBC interview. In Pakistan on work, Clinton revealed that the wedding was making the power couple "nervous wrecks".
"You should assume that if [Bill] makes it down the aisle in one piece it's going to be a major accomplishment," she said.
"We are both so emotional and the wedding is making us nervous wrecks," said the secretary of state.
Image: Chelsea Clinton