Chelsea Clinton wedding speculation heats up with report of New York nuptial site
Welcome to Summer 2010 -- time to start the Chelsea Clinton Wedding Watch, part II.
The former first daughter is engaged and preparing for a summer wedding to fellow political spawn Marc Mezvinsky. But following the current privacy protocols for celebrity nuptials, the family has not publicly announced where and when the happy event will occur. Even invited guests won't likely get the word on the locale until the last possible minute -- all in an effort to stem any leaks that would draw gawkers and paparazzi.
But speculation is running rampant, and late Thursday, the Hudson Valley News and the Associated Press cited sources saying the wedding will happen in scenic Rhinebeck, N.Y.
The AP story, citing a single anonymous source ("a local resident... [who] isn't authorized to divulge the information") simply says the wedding will happen at a "private mansion just outside the town." This may or may not dovetail with the Hudson Valley paper's claim that the ceremony is set for an estate built by turn-of-the-century titan John Jacob Astor IV.
True? The stories sound credible; but they also sound like a lot of credible-sounding media reports from last summer, based on knowledgeable sources, that Chelsea was going to wed on Martha's Vineyard in August 2009. A rep for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declined to comment about the new stories. (Last year, Clinton reps strongly denied the rampant reports of a 2009 wedding; this year they have been open in acknowledging a wedding is soon to occur, but stingy with the details.)
Experts agree: Astor Courts, also known as Ferncliff Casino, would be a great place for a couple of VIPs to get hitched. "It's a wonderful place for something like that," said Village Mayor James Reardon, who like other local officials said he has no knowledge of the Clintons planning an event there.
The 1902 Beaux-Arts mansion, designed by Stanford White, sits on a secluded 50 acres, on top of a bluff with river views -- the kind of place where you could easily, say, land a helicopter but also keep the media at a distance. Six years ago, it was purchased and meticulously renovated by Kathleen Hammer, a retired executive with Oxygen Media, and developer husband Arthur Seelbinder. She's a plugged-in contributor to Democratic causes, who has hosted a number of fundraising events there.
Hammer has told friends that she's hosting a big event there in July, cloaked in some secrecy. We asked her directly if she's hosting a Clinton wedding. "Like the family, we really have no comment," she said.
Some local officials expressed chagrin that they hadn't been looped in on an event that -- assuming it's actually happening there -- could put heavy demands on the region. But a law enforcement official said that if the wedding is on the date we've been hearing -- July 31, still four weeks away -- it's not unreasonable that they wouldn't have been briefed on it yet.
Meanwhile, it's not impossible that all this Rhinebeck talk is just a dodge to distract us from the real wedding location -- or that it's all just some big misunderstanding. The big Martha's Vineyard event preparations that had everyone in a tizzy of speculation? Turned out to be for a birthday party for Bill Clinton at the home of Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen.
The Reliable Source
July 2, 2010; 2:08 PM ET
Categories: Chelsea Clinton wedding
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