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Chelsea Clinton’s wedding: An instant guide

chelseaBill and Hillary’s only child is getting wed (for real, this time). Here’s what’s known about the feverishly anticipated ceremony

Neither Chelsea Clinton nor her fiancé, Marc Mezvinsky, are speaking publicly about their plans to wed this weekend, and Chelsea’s tabloid-savvy parents have offered few clues. Yet, America being America, the internet has been abuzz with questions and rumors about Chelsea’s upcoming nuptials — and the first glimpse of her “sizable” engagement ring on April 25 (not to mention reports that Bill’s dieting) have only fueled the speculation. Here’s what’s been reported to date:

 When is the wedding?
This Saturday, July 31, according to multiple sources.

Where will the nuptials take place?
According the Hudson Valley News, the wedding will take place under a tent at the former estate of John Jacob Astor IV in Rhinebeck, N.Y. The mansion dates back to 1902 and boasts an indoor tennis court and white marble swimming pool, according to a release. The property is now owned by Kathleen Hammer, a contributor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential and Senate bids. Although the delivery of wedding gifts there last week and the building of tents there last weekend all but confirmed it as the location, the rumors were verified by the arrival of former president Bill Clinton in Rhinebeck on Friday.

Who’s catering the affair? What about flowers?
The catering job will be shared by Blue Ribbon Restaurants, St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, and Olivier Cheng Catering and Events, according to a Wall Street Journal source. “Chelsea is a vegan. The food will include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes, but there will also be grass-fed organic beef on the menu,” according to a source in Life & Style magazine, as quoted in Ecorazzi. It’ll reportedly be gluten-free complete with a vegan wedding cake. Both Boston-based Winston Flowers and Four Seasons Hotels’ floral designer Jeff Leatham will be contributing blooms.

Sounds expensive.
It is. ABC News estimates the total cost for the affair could reach $2 million, and other reports say that it could cost as much as $5 million. The flowers alone could cost $250,000. (Watch a CNN report about the wedding costs)

Hold on. Didn’t Chelsea already get married last August?
No. The persistent, decidedly false wedding rumors that flooded the media last summer (and also centered on Martha’s Vineyard) drove the Clintons to distraction. As The New York Times reported, “It got to the point where spokesmen for the Clintons even offered to bet any journalist’s source $1,000 that there would be no wedding (a wager no one took).”

Who’s the lucky groom?
Marc Mezvinsky, 32, is a Goldman Sachs banker (a Private Wealth Management associate, according to a listing in the Spoke directory). He’s known Chelsea since their teens. They met in Washington, D.C., and both went on to attend Stanford University. Mezvinsky is the son of two former congressmembers.

What’s Bill Clinton think about his future son-in-law?
He seems sanguine: “My daughter is happy. I like and admire my future son-in-law, so I couldn’t be happier about it,” he told CNN’s Candy Crowley in a January interview.

Is Bill helping mastermind the nuptials?
Yes, to a limited degree. Though Clinton told Ryan Seacrest in March that his role was limited to walking Chelsea down the aisle “and [paying] the bills,” as of April 19, he was telling NBC that his daughter had opted to tap his world-leader expertise: “Chelsea has been good enough to include me in the decisions…so I love that.” Still, Bill is making sure to keep the focus on the bride. “I am going to try not to cry because this isn’t about me, it’s about her. And if I am crying then it becomes partly about me and I don’t even want to be mentioned in the story except that I didn’t stumble walking down the aisle. So I am going to try but I may not be able to do it,” he said at June’s Fortune/Time/CNN global forum.

How have Chelsea’s parents been dealing otherwise?
As of April, Chelsea had put her father on a diet to shed 15 pounds and ensure he “looks good,” according to the New York Post. As for Hillary, when CNN’s Crowley asked her which is harder — negotiating Middle East peace or planning this wedding — Hillary replied with a smile, “Well, I’d probably call it a draw.”

Will the Clintons’ political supporters be present?
Only those who are also close personal friends, reports New York. With the invite list limited to 500 names, Chelsea has apparently “instituted a strict no-strangers policy: She must personally know every invitee.” Two people who definitely won’t attend? Al and Tipper Gore. “The Gores are not attending the wedding,” a spokeswoman said in a statement, quoted in the New York Daily News.

What celebrities will be attending?
Reports say
that Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, and Ted Turner are among the 500 guests. Originally, it was believed that President Obama would attend, but he reveals he wasn’t invited. Also attending will be various members of the Clinton “inner circle,” including former British Prime Minister John Major, former deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes, former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Democratic donor Denise Rich.

Are there photos of the engagement ring online?
Only a few members of Chelsea’s inner circle had seen the ring until April 25, when she flashed her “sizable diamond ring” at the opening night of Broadway’s “Promises, Promises.” The media duly disseminated photos of the bejeweled bride-to-be on crutches.

Crutches? What happened?
Chelsea broke her heel, claiming she has no idea how it happened; a source tells People that she’ll recover in time for her wedding.

Who designed Chelsea’s dress?
It’s a debate. “If family ties have anything to do with it, then all signs point to Oscar de la Renta,” says Jessica Flint in Vanity Fair. He’s Hillary’s favorite, and also a close personal friend of the Clintons. However, reports in June indicated that Chelsea may have selected a Vera Wang dress instead.

What did Hillary Clinton wear on her 1975 wedding day?
“A beige muslin-y, linen Jessica McClintock number” that Hillary bought off the rack at Dillard’s the day before her wedding, according to VF‘s Flint.

Will the ceremony be religious?
This is apparently a matter of debate. While Hillary is Methodist, Bill is Southern Baptist. Yet there’s Mezvinsky’s Jewish faith to consider. “The bride and groom have a range of choices, including conversion or a melding of their two traditions into one ceremony,” reports the Associated Press. After all, Chelsea was spotted last year attending Yom Kippur services with Mezvinsky in New York.

Has there been any fallout over the high-profile event?
Yes. A Brooklyn teacher is angry because her wedding coincides with the date and location of Chelsea’s wedding, making for traffic woes and security fears in the small town. “I know she’s not doing it on purpose,” Emm Haddad-Friedman told Yahoo’s Shine blog. “But Chelsea Clinton has taken what was supposed to be a special day for me and turned it into hell.” Security has already proven a problem as two Norweigan journalists were arrested and charged with trespassing for snapping photos at the estate’s gate. As a measure to ward off paparazzi photographers, Federal authorities ordered the closure of airspace over the estate this weekend.

Sources: CNN (2), The New York Times, Huffington Post, People (2), New York Post (2), Vanity Fair, Associated Press (2) (3), New York, Styleite, CBS, New York Daily News, Newser, Wall Street Journal, Radar Online, ABC News (2), Yahoo! Shine, Hudson Valley News, Ecorazzi, AFP, The Hill

Note: This story, originally published on April 27, 2010, was updated on July 30.

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