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Chelsea Clinton, Marc Mezvinsky wedding details: "Like a family wedding"

Bill Clinton, father of the bride, walks Chelsea down the aisle at Astor Courts in Rhinebeck, N.Y. See more Chelsea Clinton wedding photos. (Genevieve de Manio via AP)

(Updated: Yet another day of Clinton wedding details here.)

Few guests will ever forget the sight at a certain wedding in Rhinebeck, N.Y., on Saturday night: A former president and the current secretary of state beaming as they balanced precariously in chairs hoisted above the dancing crowd.

Other permanent memories: The bride, Chelsea Clinton, helping the minister remember the next line of verse when the breeze flipped his page over too soon. And then later, trading her silk strapless Vera Wang wedding gown for a slinkier little white number as she took the floor with her bridegroom, Marc Mezvinsky, for a cutely choreographed dance to "At Last."

The wedding party was formidable -- a dozen bridesmaids and nearly as many groomsmen -- and so too was security: Guests needed specially issued ID bracelets to board a bus to the ceremony. A few sharply dressed crashers who tried to blend in with the crowd were quickly rebuffed. The party raged until 4:30 a.m.

Marc and Chelsea, at the altar under their floral chuppah. (Genevieve de Manio via AP)

But otherwise, the wedding of Bill and Hillary Clinton's only child was noteworthy for being, you know, just a really nice wedding. Large? Definitely (about 400 guests). Lavish? Sure (though a longtime family friend scoffed at seven-figure estimates floating through the media). But not over-the-top, and not crammed with celebs.

"It felt like a family wedding," one guest said. "It didn't feel like a big extravaganza."

Efforts to keep wedding plans under wraps may have failed, with leaks drawing hordes of journalists to the small Hudson River community this weekend -- but even after the fact, the families kept a tight lid on most of the details.

On Saturday night, the Clintons released a statement expressing their happiness, along with five radiant photos of the bride in her white silk organza and tulle gown with a crystal-encrusted belt -- three with her groom, one of the couple with her parents and one of her dad walking her down the aisle. But that was about it. Want to see more of Hillary's plum-colored Oscar de la Renta dress? Sorry, absolutely no more pics. And none on Facebook: Guests had to hand over cellphones and cameras.

So we had to piece it together for ourselves from there.

Guests line up at the Delamater Inn to be checked on a list before boarding a shuttle for the wedding. (David Goldman/Getty Images)

The outdoor ceremony at Astor Courts was dignified but lighthearted, a guest told us. Neither of the two celebrants -- the Rev. William Shillady and Rabbi James Ponet -- gave a formal sermon. Marc, 32 (a hedge-fund trader), and Chelsea, 30 (who is now pursuing a PhD at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service), laughed throughout, once when Chelsea seemingly dropped her groom's ring. He broke a glass underfoot, in keeping with Jewish tradition, and they stood beneath an immense chuppah made of woven willow branches, white roses and hydrangeas.

The reception was held on the same property -- not inside the Beaux-Arts mansion, but in a solid tentlike structure erected for the occasion. An 18-piece ensemble from New York (the orchestra of Jim Valli, a Clinton rep confirmed) performed big-band music. Bill Clinton, with an adoring look on his face, danced with his daughter to "The Way You Look Tonight." Later the Clinton parents danced together, with no fanfare and little attention, looking as ecstatic as they did at the 1993 inauguration. And yes, they also did the hora, which put Bill and Hillary up in the chairs; up too went the groom's parents, ex-House members Ed Mezvinsky and Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky.

The dinner: Catered by the St. Regis Hotel in New York, it was "okay," a guest said -- short ribs, Atlantic char, a vegetarian option, and gluten-free rolls. The gluten-intolerant bride also selected a gluten-free cake from La Tulipe.

The flowers: roses and hydrangeas, all purpley-pinky-blue. It was a hue that corresponded with the attendants' gowns, which we're told were actually wedding gowns dyed a plummy color, after they couldn't find a traditional bridesmaid-style gown they liked.

Hillary and Bill arrive at an afterparty following the rehearsal dinner in Rhinebeck Friday night. (Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters)

The guests: C'mon, did you really think Oprah was going to be there? That's the stupidest rumor we've ever heard. She didn't even endorse Hillary for president, remember? And this was an insider's-insiders crowd. Terry McAuliffe. Madeleine Albright. Vernon Jordan. Lots from "Hillaryland": Melanne Verveer, Maggie Williams, Capricia Marshall, Kelly Craighead. One of Chelsea's ex-boyfriends from Stanford, Jeremy Kane, attended; however, her former beau Ian Klaus -- so popular with her parents that they toasted him at his book party long after their breakup -- was not in evidence. Only a few big donors -- Alan Patricof and Steve Bing, but not Ron Burkle or Denise Rich. Frank Giustra, the Canadian mining magnate who has become one of the biggest backers of the former prez's philanthropy, made the list. But no James Carville, no Paul Begala. And for all the Clintons' Hollywood connections, very few showbiz types: Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen were the biggest names. Barbra Streisand was not there; neither was Steven Spielberg.

After the band wrapped up, guests moved to an after-party on the tennis courts, where a DJ played '80s tunes and current Top-40 fare -- you know, typical wedding stuff. Bill was on the dance floor; so was Hillary aide Huma Abedin with her new husband, Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Bill gave one of the toasts, of course, saying that ever since his daughter had been old enough to formulate a thought, he had "been outnumbered" in his household, two to one. Now, with a son-in-law, he said, "the playing field is even. I have someone else on my side." The kind of welcome that any old dad might give, at any old wedding.

This story was updated Monday morning to reflect other guests at the wedding.

Updated Monday night: More wedding details here -- Presidential moonwalking, the gift bags, the friend's band -- and where'd that crazy Oprah rumor get started?

See an extensive gallery of Chelsea Clinton wedding photos.

Read more stories about Chelsea Clinton's wedding.

By The Reliable Source  |  August 2, 2010; 1:04 AM ET
Categories:  Chelsea Clinton wedding  
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Next: This just in...: Lohan out of the slammer, but not exactly a free woman


why doesn't reliable source try to figure out what obama's policies are...
seems America has seen little or no help towards unemployment and security...

Posted by: DwightCollins | August 2, 2010 5:34 AM | Report abuse

Uh . . .the wedding is over, the guests have gone home. You don't need to write about it anymore. We don't need to know about their honeymoon, or read any interviews from friends and family about the wedding.

Let it go. Leave Chelsea and her new husband alone. QUIT CALLING THE CLINTONS 'ROYALTY'!!!!!!

Posted by: momof20yo | August 2, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Great piece - thanks! I am a little disappointed that we don't get to see any more photos of Hillary & her dress, except for the one with the four of them and the one with her in the background as the newlyweds walk back up th aisle. She looked amazing!

Posted by: lydandy | August 2, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

YouTube has a beautiful musical slideshow about Bill's emotions on his daughter Chelsea's wedding. Must-see for all dads & moms out there!
To watch, Search "chelsea clinton slideshow" on YouTube or visit

Posted by: Rudy_Connor | August 2, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The news coverage for this non-event is absurd. Millions out of work, a marxist in the WH and the media focus is on the daughter of a pair of grifters marrying the son of a convicted felon. The media is indeed lost.

Posted by: somberjules | August 2, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

People, a wedding is a wedding. It is a joyous day in two people's lives and fun news in the wake of so many "down" things to read about in any newspaper these days. For those who found the coverage frivolous, well, skip over it and move on to articles that interest you more. For those who took the time to make ugly, negative comments or to somehow use this story as another, albeit inappropriate forum to state your political views about things that have nothing to do with the wedding of two people, all I can say is that your life must really suck and I would hate to have your life. Miserable people that you are.

Posted by: sassafrasnewport | August 2, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

This reminds me -- gotta take the dog to the groomer.

I look forward to WaPo's gushing coverage of Malia Obama's wedding in two or three decades. Paper'll probably be published in Spanish by then.

Posted by: gbooksdc | August 2, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Great Wedding-except the jews are angry because the children won't be jewish.

Posted by: asizk | August 2, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Wish them well. To bad they both have such sleaze bags for fathers.
Did Bill manage to keep his hands off the bridesmaids? Was Monica invited? Say Bill did you thank the taxpayer for providing you with the income you have derived from selling the Office? Anyway good luck.

Posted by: KBlit | August 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

why doesn't reliable source try to figure out what obama's policies are...
seems America has seen little or no help towards unemployment and security...

Posted by: DwightCollins

Still mad because he won huh? Its been 2 years now. Get over it. We dealt with 8 years of bad bush policy. I think you can deal with 4 of Obama based on where we were.

Posted by: ged0386 | August 2, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

With Chelsea's wedding arriving July 31st,

Hillary wanted to play the perfect Mom.

She asked Chelsea... "Have you had sex with Marc?"

Chelsea said.... "Not according to Dad"

Posted by: jahoby | August 2, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Like President Obama said ....When is enough enough? Haven't the Clinton's made enough money. Shouldn't they be spreading it around? Not giving a multimillion dollar wedding. That just shows you the difference in who is the elite and who is not. We private sector are NOT the public sector IS.

Posted by: ajmg1 | August 2, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I heard this affair referred to as "America's Royal Wedding" Seems appropriate as it was a union of the bride (daughter of the man responsible for the losing of many American jobs through NAFTA) with the groom (working for the bank that responsible for the losing of many American homes) A real Marie Antoinette moment!

Posted by: Bondservant1958 | August 2, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

@somberjules: No, YOU are lost, if you believe your own hateful garbage. Go spew your Glenn Beck poison among your own kind. The bride looked lovely, the wedding was well within the means of this family of high achievers (it's a core conservative principle to work hard and spend your money as you choose, by the way), and I wish this young couple every happiness. What a good example Chelsea Clinton is for true family values. Mazel Tov!

Posted by: greyK | August 2, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse has a few new details from west coasters attending. I love the coverage. Chelsea is a great role model and a beautiful bride. Love the dress and especially the belt.

Posted by: siren1 | August 2, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I hope Clinton did'nt leave any DNA on the bridemaids.

Posted by: CubsFan | August 2, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I am amazed that the Washington Post has given such extensive coverage on this wedding. One would think it was one of those brainless women's magazines. Such an opulent wedding, in these times of economic distress, demonstrates how out of touch and insensitive the Clintons are.How appropriate and tasteful it would have been to have a small wedding, instead of this lavish nuptial affair.
The Washington Post, by going ga ga over this wedding of two very privileged young people, is showing its true conservative side. You reporters at the Post might as well be back in the 50s, when a woman's highest aspiration was getting married. We have come a long way, but you guys haven't. How about a little less superficiality, and a little more substance

Posted by: annachris55 | August 2, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Laugh line: "the wedding was well within the means of this family of high achievers"

Please. "High achievers" who've created nothing, produced nothing, whose fabulous wealth derives entirely from so-called public service, whose staggering incontinence and depravity disgraced our highest constitutional office. Hillbilly trash incapable of shame.

Posted by: thebump | August 2, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations the tyhe new bride and groom. Wishing Chelsea and Marc much happiness in their new life together.
You'll never guess who Chelsea is related to? How many of them attended the wedding?

Posted by: familyforest | August 2, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to the bride and groom!

You guys are funny with your hateful comments... hope you know most people laugh at you because you moan and groan at every little thing... it was a wedding...not yours, Chelsea's-- who planned it like she wanted it. Go spend your money the way you want and enjoy your lives if you have anything to be happy about.

Congrats to the bride and groom and Hillary and Bill Clinton!

Posted by: shejoy | August 2, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

It is really nice to know, according to, Chelsea also invited butlers who had served in the White House when the Clintons were there.

Posted by: spspww | August 2, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

The American fascination with power and criminal activity, which made the Godfather such a national hit, can been seen in the hoopla over the Clinton wedding. The groom, Goldman Sachs escapee and hedge-fund hustler Marc Mezvinsky is the son of “Fast Eddie”, recently released from a five year federal stretch for fraud. Chelsea also worked at a hedge fund, has a mother famous for her banking shenanigans and a father whose radical deregulation cleared the way for the financial plunderers. Of course the Kennedy dynasty was founded by two of the worst Boston hoodlums ever - Patrick Kennedy and Honey-Fitz (Fitzgerald) – which is saying a very great deal indeed! The next generation produced the Prohibition racketeer Joe Kennedy and then the three disreputable Kennedy brothers – so the Clintons have some way to go.

Posted by: jucameron43 | August 6, 2010 5:55 AM | Report abuse

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