RHINEBECK - RHINEBECK — With the scenic Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River as the backdrop, former First daughter Chelsea Clinton married her longtime beau, Manhattan broker Marc Mezvinsky, in a sunset ceremony Saturday at a historic estate, capping a secrecy-shrouded, star-studded weekend that transfixed residents of this sleepy town located 90 miles north of New York City.
Former president Bill Clinton and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were joined by nearly 500 guests in a glass-door-enclosed white tent built on the beaux arts Astor Courts. Guests said the newly-wedded couple had their first dance to a beautiful rendition of Frank Sinatra’s classic “The Way You Look Tonight.”
“Today, we watched with great pride and overwhelming emotion as Chelsea and Marc wed in a beautiful ceremony at Astor Courts, surrounded by family and their close friends,” the Clintons said in a joint statement issued Saturday evening, adding: “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.”
Rabbi and reverend
The ceremony was conducted by a rabbi and a reverend as Chelsea Clinton is Methodist and Mezvinsky is Jewish.
The couple read a poem by Leo Marks titled “The Life I Have,” according to Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna.
Details of the wedding were kept close to the vest, with even shopkeepers, innkeepers, vendors and restaurateurs sworn to secrecy. But spotted returning to his hotel after the wedding Roger Clinton, the half-brother of the former President, said the ceremony was an emotional one for his brother, sister-in-law and niece.
Tour buses and limousines chauffeured guests in suits and dresses before the 6 p.m. ceremony up winding River Road, a stretch cordoned off by state police and the Secret Service.
Officials restricted airspace over the estate, and the area will remain a no-fly zone until 3:30 a.m. Sunday.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York's former junior senator, whisked by in a tinted-window van shortly before the ceremony's start.
In the days and hours before the wedding, celebrity spottings in town of the likes of fashionista Vera Wang, who designed the wedding dress, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, talk show host Oprah Winfrey, actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen and the 42nd president himself triggered a mania of camera flashes and scurrying starstruck crowds.
Chelsea Clinton and Mezvinsky were friends as teenagers in Washington, and both attended Stanford University.
Lots of inspired shtick
As it has been since word spread last week, the town center Saturday was once again a veritable easel for Clinton-wedding-inspired shtick.
A local Pizza Hut in nearby Kingston gave out free pizzas with "I Do" spelled in pepperoni; a couple gallivanted around town in Hillary and Bill masks; people even dressed their dogs in wedding attire.
"Hey!" snapped Jo-Ann Falanga at her hunt terrier Trixie who barked at a passing dog wearing a ruffly party skirt. "Nobody likes a mouthy bride!"
Near the start of the police barricades, 11 1/2-year-old Dean Crenshaw sold lemonade for a quarter to passing motorists.
"I'm already in the black," the 6th-grader said.
Earlier in the day, a dozen people stood across from the Beekman Arms, where a pre-wedding reception was held.
With little else to do, they watched a television crew from the syndicated entertainment show "The Insider" shoot take after take of its correspondent, Jill Martin, standing on a wooden box.
"The dress! The surprise guests! The first dance!" she said again and again and again as the crowd shot cell phone pictures of her.