Chelsea Clinton marries under a chupah

By Jennifer Lipman, August 2, 2010
Chelsea Clinton and Mark Mezvinzky

Chelsea Clinton and Mark Mezvinzky

It had been described as the wedding of the century and by all accounts Chelsea Clinton’s marriage to Jewish investment banker Mark Mezvinsky did not disappoint.

The daughter of former US President Bill Clinton and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton married under a chuppah at a ceremony presided over by both a rabbi and a Methodist minister.

The event was shrouded in secrecy from the earliest stage of planning, and security was so tight that guests were given identification bracelets before they arrived.

But despite there even being a no-fly zone, some details about the lavish affair, rumoured to have cost nearly £2 million, have been revealed.

The groom wore a tallit and kippah with his Burberry tuxedo, while the former "First Daughter" dazzled in an ivory Vera Wang dress.

The 30-year-old bride, who spent her teenage years in the White House, was escorted down the aisle by her father.

The couple tied the knot in front of 400 guests in the upstate New York village of Rhinebeck, at a mansion owned by a donor to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, Kathleen Hammer.

Guest watched as family and friends read the Shevah Brachot, during a ceremony officiated by Reform Rabbi James Ponet, a chaplain at Yale University.

A verse by the British Jewish poet, Leo Marks, was recited at the event. Its most famous lines are: “The life that I have is all that I have, and the life that I have is yours.”

Mr Marks worked as a high level codebreaker during the Second World War. He later became a filmmaker and composed the now famous line following the death of his youthful love, Ruth Hambro, in an air crash. His family's bookshop was at 84, Charing Cross Road, which later became the subject of a much-admired book and film.

Partygoers danced to Etta James’ “At Last " – the song that Barack and Michelle Obama danced to at Mr Obama's presidential inauguration – and Frank Sinatra.

Guests, who included Hollywood actress Mary Steenburgen, her husband actor Ted Danson, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, were also given gift bags with pretzels and wine.

Speculation has been rife for months about whether Chelsea would convert to Judaism before the wedding, a rumour fuelled by Mr Mezvinzky, the son of two former Democrat congress members, taking her to synagogue last Yom Kippur.

But at a ceremony combining Jewish and Christian tradition, according to one guest, bride and groom were glowing.

Last updated: 8:19am, October 6 2010