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Chelsea Clinton weds under tight security

MS CHELSEA Clinton married longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky at a heavily guarded  wedding on a luxury country estate in upstate New York.

Former president Bill Clinton and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary, spoke of their “great pride and overwhelming emotion” after their only child and the hedge-fund employee
tied the knot in rural Rhinebeck last Saturday.

The nuptials, taking place on the picturesque Astor Courts estate in balmy summer  weather, ended weeks of increasingly fevered speculation in response to a news blackout
imposed by the Clintons.

“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,” Ms Clinton’s parents – one of America’s most powerful couples – said in a statement after the ceremony.

Intrigue about the wedding reached a climax last Saturday, as journalists and celebrity  watchers flooded tiny Rhinebeck in the hope of spotting stars among the approximately 500 guests.

They were reported to have included former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, top  designer Vera Wang and Hollywood actor Ted Danson, although confirmations were still elusive.

Not spotted were some of the bigger A-list guests, such as Hollywood mogul Steven  Spielberg and talkshow queen Oprah Winfrey, who celebrity- news sites had reported as being on the invite list.

Mrs Clinton’s boss, President Barack Obama, was not there – he said that he was not  invited and that, in any case, two presidents at a wedding would be one too many.

Many other details remained sketchy, but it was reported that the betrothed had an  inter-faith wedding, since Ms Clinton, 30, is a Methodist and Mr Mezvinsky, 32, is Jewish.

The ceremony was officiated jointly by Rabbi James Ponet, a Jewish chaplain at Yale, and  the Reverend William Shillady, a Methodist minister from New York City, the reports said.

Ms Clinton wore a Vera Wang dress, and the couple exchanged vows under a gazebo of  white flowers. Security and secrecy were so tight that only journalists were allowed to  approach the outskirts of the estate – and even then, only if they were on foot.

From the pen erected to control journalists near the entrance to Astor Courts, all that was visible were the speeding convoys of buses and black sport-utility vehicles carrying the guests and the Clinton family to the party.

A no-fly zone was also imposed, to keep away paparazzi, and enforced by a police helicopter that buzzed noisily over the idyllic, wooded area.

A short distance from Astor Courts in the town of Rhinebeck, throngs of well-wishers  gathered at the main crossroads.

“This is exciting. There’s so much trouble in the world but this Saturday, everything stops  just for this wedding,” said Ms Anne McConnell, who’d secured a strategically placed bench opposite the 18th century Beekman Arms hotel in hope of seeing members of the Clinton family.

Reports from gossip websites such as TMZ and tabloids like the New York Daily News  painted a picture of an extraordinarily lavish occasion, likely costing US$3 million (S$4 million) to US$5 million.

Given the secrecy, however, that could not be immediately confirmed.

Among the few guests to talk ahead of the wedding were Danson and his wife, actress  Mary Steenburgen. Steenburgen, a long-time Clinton friend from the former president’s
home state of Arkansas, said that Ms Clinton’s parents were experiencing “pure joy” for their daughter.

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