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Video: Clintons put final touches on wedding bash

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    >>> we are back at 7:43 with the latest buzz on the so-called wedding of the decade. chelsea clinton is just two days from her big day , about 90 miles north of here in rhinebeck, new york . today national correspondent natalie morales is there with more. natalie, good morning to you.

    >> good morning to you, meredith. yes, this is where many of the guests will be staying when they start arriving for that wedding between chelsea clinton and investment banker mark mezvinsky. as you can imagine a lot of talk here in rhinebeck . it's a wedding that's getting top billing that here it is really a very hard to keep things top secret . it's being called the wedding of the decade. an exclusive affair for chelsea clinton and mark mezvinsky in rhinebeck, new york .

    >> i think it's going to be a very understated, elegant, but befitting a royal wedding for the u.s.

    >> reporter: bill and hillary clinton have tried to keep a tight lid on details but final preparations are being made at astor court, an elegant 50 acre estate on the hudson.

    >> we've heard that it's going to be one kind of main office where when people get to rhinebeck they'll check in and they'll be told from there where the hotel will be and where they'll stay.

    >> reporter: with a price tag rumored to be between $3 million to $5 million, no expense will be spared. security alone is expected to cost more than $200,000. and it will be paid for by the clintons. plus they'll pick up the tab for transportation to and from astor court. once inside, guests can expect flowers by designer jeff latham.

    >> he's known for everything from madonna to lots of other celebs. he tends to do all single flower arrangements.

    >> reporter: tmz is reporting the clintons will even bring in swanky $15,000 port-a-potties. and as for party favors ?

    >> they're going to receive clinton vineyard wine, and that is a coincidence that it is their name, but it's not their own vineyard. i think she's tried to incorporate other local businesses.

    >> reporter: the bride-to-be trying to hide her identity stopped in for a reported final dress fitting at vera wang earlier this week. and where will the bride be spending her final night as a single woman ?

    >> chelsea is going to stay in a private home . which is the smart thing to do, because that's somewhere where she'll have the most privacy.

    >> reporter: wedding planners have gone to great lengths to try to make sure all eyes are on chelsea and mark this weekend.

    >> bill clinton has always been a huge personality every time he walks into a room, crowds swarm around him. but i think everybody involved in the wedding is making a deliberate effort to make sure that it is not a bill clinton circus.

    >> meanwhile, to keep the paparazzi from taking pictures from above, the faa is actually enforcing a no-fly zone over rhinebeck, new york , on saturday from 3:00 p.m . until sunday 3:30 a.m . and also as for president obama , we are told this morning, late confirmation, that he is not coming because he, quote, was not invited to the wedding . hillary and bill properly want to keep this thing for chelsea and her soon-to-be husband. so such an exclusive affair, meredith, even the president and first lady are not coming.

    >> me either, natalie. thank you very much.

    >> yeah. i'm going to go check in.

    >> good luck. bonnie fuller is the editor in chief of hollywood life dotcom and colin cowie is a wedding planner who is no stranger to multimillion dollar affairs.

    >> good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> so much speculation over this wedding from everything from the wedding gown to the port-a-potties. as of this morning what do we know for sure?

    >> well we know for sure that chelsea is going to be a beautiful bride. i would say it's almost certain that she is wearing vera wang . her bridesmaid, flower girls will be wearing vera wang , as well. and her mother will be wearing oscar de la renta .

    >> that we're sure?

    >> we're absolutely certain. and we know where it's located. it is definitely in rhinebeck, new york . the tents are going up. $600,000 worth of tents. apparently they've got glass walls and every last detail has been attended to.

    >> we know that this is being called the wedding of the decade, but chelsea is not the first first daughter to get married. in fact the last first daughter to get married, jenna bush , her dad was in office at the time. but all the buzz is about this wedding . why do you think that is?

    >> i think jenna chose to do it at home, in texas, and was done very quiet and purely a family wedding . and i think the clintons are doing something on a much grander scale, and clearly they've gone to a lot of trouble and preparation. you can see these tents are magnificent. i think they're really going to have an incredible wedding . this is also because of the guest list. it's going to be a really major guest list of all a-list celebrities. and i think there's been a tremendous amount of spotlight on rhinebeck .

    >> well, oprah, steven spielberg , barbra streisand , you have huge names.

    >> but not president obama . he was joking with the ladies of "the view" about that. he said you don't want two presidents at one wedding , all the secret service , guests going through metal detectors , all the gifts being torn apart . is it a faux pas not to invite?

    >> i don't think so. because it's not a state wedding . it's a personal, private wedding . and still the president and secretary of state clinton are friends but the majority of guests we have to believe are chelsea 's friends and people she grew up with. she grew up around the spielbergs and the streisands of the world.

    >> i disagree. i think it's always the right thing to invite your boss. especially when you know each other very well. these people have known each other for years. so i'm kind of shocked --

    >> shaking your head a little bit?

    >> i'm totally shaking my head.

    >> don't you think it would really change the whole idea of the wedding . imagine if the president was there. every gift would be ripped apart. it really would become -- he would become the focus of the wedding , and it's supposed to be about chelsea .

    >> i think it's one thing to have invited him, which i think would have been the right thing to do. perhaps he would decline in order to avoid that.

    >> imagine if he said yes.

    >> okay, listen we know he's not going. that we know. what about the price tag colin. you've done so many weddings. people are saying this is going to cost between $3348 and $5 million. people are raising their eyebrows. does that seem out of proportion to you?

    >> not at all. when we see the aerial pictures, the tents, air conditioning , port-a-potties and toilets and things, this is exactly what it takes to create a wedding of this sale.

    >> and from today on, last-minute preparations, what's happening?

    >> the countdown, the roses are being stripped, flowers are being put together. this is like a military procedure. all these elements to come together. you plan a wedding like this, it's like live television. there's no take two.

    >> think about what a fantastic stimulus this is for so many ways. for the fashion industry , you've got 500 guests dressing in fab lups clothes. the local town is going to have the influx of all of these gowns.

    >> you know the feelings of people in town.

    >> i think there's going to be so many people going to rhinebeck to check out the place to have events. and also people are going to want to do tours. let's see where chelsea got married.

    >> so it's part of economic stimulus ?

    >> absolutely.

    >> and it's all for success.

    >> bonnie, colin, thank you very much. coming up, jennifer hager takes us to a special place where dreams come true. first these messages.

    >>> just ahead, brace yourselves. the jersey shore gang is back and taking some heat, actually,

TODAY staff and wire
updated 7/29/2010 8:51:39 PM ET 2010-07-30T00:51:39

What's involved for Chelsea Clinton and her fiance, investment banker Marc Mezvinsky, in throwing the so-called wedding of the century?

According to estimates and reports, the $2 million to $5 million event on Saturday includes:

  • $750,000 for catering, according to Brides magazine deputy editor Sally Kilbridge
  • $11,000 for the cake, which is reportedly gluten-free
  • $250,000 worth of jewelry for the bride
  • $109,000 for the tables and crockery for around 400 to 500 invitees
  • $600,000 in air-conditioned tents, complete with glass walls
  • $200,000 in extra security, paid for by the Clintons
  • $15,000 in high-class toilets, according to online gossip site TMZ
  • $500,000 in flowers arranged by Jeff Leatham, who’s worked with Madonna and other celebrities
  • Wine as a party favor from Clinton Vineyards (which has no relation to the presidential family)
  • A Federal Aviation Administration-enforced no-fly zone from 3 p.m. Saturday to 3:30 a.m. Sunday over Rhinebeck, the small New York town that includes Astor Courts, a picturesque mansion that’s hosting the event and overlooks the Hudson River.

“It’s going to be very understated, elegant, but befitting a royal wedding for the U.S.,” wedding planner Claudia Hanlin said on TODAY.

Image: Astor Courts is seen in Rhinebeck, N.Y.,
Mike Groll  /  AP
Tents start to go up behind Astor Courts in Rhinebeck, N.Y., on Wednesday.

A longtime Clinton family friend denied that the wedding would cost more than $1 million. The friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with the family's desire for privacy, said the cost will not exceed six figures. Wedding experts told The Associated Press the wedding could cost $2 million to $3 million, while other outlets said it could hit $5 million.

Some of the biggest speculation — from both a cost and style standpoint — has revolved around Chelsea’s dress.

After widespread reports that her gown would be designed by Oscar de la Renta, the bride-to-be was was spotted outside Vera Wang’s New York City bridal shop Tuesday afternoon.

Clinton was attempting incognito in a large, floppy hat, but she and her mother, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, did not escape the notice of Women’s Wear Daily, which featured her on its front page Wednesday with the headline “Here Comes the Bride.” Appearing on TODAY Wednesday, WWD writer Rosemary Feitelberg said that it looks like Wang will be the chosen designer for the wedding of the century.

“All signs seem to point to Vera at this point, and we’ve also been told she’s doing the bridesmaids’ dresses and the flower girls’ dresses,” Feitelberg told Meredith Vieira.

Wang has become renowned as a leading wedding gown designer for the rich and famous, including Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Ivanka Trump and, perhaps most significantly, Karenna Gore — daughter of Al Gore, who was vice president during the administration of Chelsea’s dad, former President Bill Clinton.

Read more: Scoop: Obama not invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding

Multiple designers?
Adding intrigue to the situation, however, is news that Hillary Clinton has also been spotted at Oscar de la Renta’s Manhattan showroom — and observers have reported seeing both mother and daughter there in recent weeks.

The cover of WWD featured a shot of Chelsea Clinton, incognito in a floppy hat.

Feitelberg said she believes de la Renta may well be doing the mother-of-the-bride dress, along with other formal wear for what is planned as a three-day wedding affair. “There’s a rehearsal dinner, a brunch on Sunday supposedly, so there would be plenty of opportunities for wardrobe changes,” she told Vieira.

As this is the closest thing America has to a royal wedding, the former first daughter’s big day is the subject of avid attention, even in a summer in which such stars as Penelope Cruz, Carrie Underwood and Orlando Bloom have all tied the knot. Tabloids have breathlessly reported each morsel of information that comes out of the bride’s and groom’s camps.

Even though her father Bill has been out of the White House for 10 years, Feitelberg told Vieira the public still seems to feel attached to the only Clinton child. “It seems as though they know her,” she said. “Chelsea was only 12 when her father was first elected; they’ve seen her grow up through the years, become a confident young woman. And it’s a great gift to the country, to celebrate something.”

Wedding welcome
Rhinebeck, the tiny upstate New York town, with a population of a few thousand, is closing down more than a mile of its main thoroughfare to accommodate the wedding. But Feitelberg said the locals are far from irritated.

“The townspeople seem to be very excited; they’ve decorated their stores, they’re eager to welcome people to the community, and they hope it will have a residual effect down the road,” she told Vieira.

Mike Groll  /  AP
Townspeople and tradespeople of little Rhinebeck, N.Y., are welcoming the Clinton wedding and attendant hoopla with open arms.

Chelsea, now 30, first met her 32-year-old fiance some 14 years ago, and the pair attended Stanford University together. Mezvinsky, the son of former congressman Edward Mezvinsky and former NBC reporter Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, has been dating Clinton since 2007. The pair announced their engagement in November.

Chelsea's future father-in-law, who was convicted of fraud and sentenced to seven years in prison, told CBS’ “Inside Edition” that he’s a “proud papa.”

He says in comments to be aired on Thursday’s show that “the family’s excited.” He says Chelsea and Marc have a sensitivity about life and a warm regard for family.

He tells “Inside Edition” he has rebuilt his relationship with Marc and Chelsea since his release from prison in 2008.

For their part, Chelsea and her politician parents have been tight-lipped about the wedding. But the former president did speak about his future son-in-law during an appearance earlier this year.

“It’s a great thing because they really do know each other,” Bill Clinton said. “It’s the best kind of relationship — it’s a warts-and-all deal. Not only do I like him, I admire him. I really caught a break.”

Chelsea’s lavish ceremony is a far cry from her own parents’ wedding. Bill and Hillary married in 1975 at the modest brick house Bill had purchased as their first marital home. Hillary wore an off-the-rack cotton dress she bought just the day before the wedding.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive

Photos: Chelsea Clinton’s ‘royal wedding’

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  1. The happy couple

    Marc Mezvinsky and Chelsea Clinton wed at an outdoor ceremony at the Astor Courts estate on Saturday, July 31 in Rhinebeck, N.Y. The wedding took place on a near-perfect summer day of warm temperatures, blue skies and cottony clouds.

    The Clinton-Mezvinsky wedding has been characterized by wedding planners and other observers as a "royal wedding for the U.S." (Handout / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Father and daughter

    Former President Bill Clinton walks his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, down the aisle. "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," he and Hillary Clinton said in a statement after the ceremony. "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." (Genevieve De Manio / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. An interfaith ceremony

    Mark Mezvinsky and Chelsea Clinton made sure their wedding ceremony honored both Jewish and Christian traditions. Mezvinsky is Jewish and Clinton is Methodist. (Genevieve De Manio / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Family portrait

    Former President Bill Clinton, far right, and wife Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, second from left, are pictured with their daughter Chelsea Clinton and Chelsea's new husband, Marc Mezvinsky, far left. The bride wore a gown designed by Vera Wang, and the mother of the bride wore Oscar de la Renta. (Barbara Kinney / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Husband and wife

    In this handout image provided by Barbara Kinney, Marc Mezvinsky and Chelsea Clinton pose at their July 31 wedding at the Astor Courts estate in Rhinebeck, N.Y. Clinton and Mezvinsky were friends as teenagers in Washington, and both attended Stanford University. They now live in New York, where Mezvinsky works at a Manhattan hedge fund. (Handout / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. All dressed up

    Wedding guests wait for a shuttle ride to Chelsea Clinton's and Marc Mezvinsky's wedding in Rhinebeck, N.Y., on Saturday, July 31. (Mike Groll / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Sneaking a peek

    Spectators try to see wedding guests as they load into a shuttle bus before the wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky on Saturday, July 31 in Rhinebeck, N.Y. (Bryan Bedder / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Coming through

    A wedding guest makes her way through the press as she walks toward a shuttle bus on the day of Chelsea Clinton's nuptials in Rhinebeck, N.Y. (Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Height of fashion

    Fashion designer Vera Wang avoids questions from the media in downtown Rhinebeck, N.Y., on Saturday, July 31. Chelsea Clinton was spotted outside Wang’s New York City bridal shop on Tuesday afternoon -- leading to speculation that Wang was designing her wedding gown, not Oscar de la Renta as expected. (Andrew Gombert / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Excited onlookers

    People stand outside the Delamater Inn waiting for guests to emerge in Rhinebeck, N.Y., for the wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky on Saturday, July 31. (Mike Groll / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Celebrities arrive

    Actor Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen arrive at the Delamater Inn. "I knew [Chelsea] since she was a baby so this is a big moment," said Steenburgen, who wed Danson in 1995. "She's a lovely, lovely girl." (Mike Groll / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Strolling through Rhinebeck

    Real estate developer and movie producer Steve Bing walks around Rhinebeck the morning of the wedding. (Andrew Gombert / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Proud parents

    Bill and Hillary Clinton leave a party in honor of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky on Friday night, July 30, in Rhinebeck. Instead of one of her signature pantsuits, Hillary Clinton wore a flowing, printed caftan. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Crowds converge

    People gather outside the Beekman Arms Inn to catch a glimpse of guests arriving for a party in honor of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky on Friday, July 30, in Rhinebeck. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Heads of State

    Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright waves as she leaves a party for Chelsea Clinton in Rhinebeck, N.Y., on Friday, July 30. (Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Guests' digs

    An American flag is unfurled at the Beekman Arms Inn on July 30, in Rhinebeck, N.Y. Many Chelsea Clinton wedding guests are rumored to be staying there. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Father of the bride

    Former President Bill Clinton walks down the streets of Rhinebeck, N.Y., on July 30, 2010, the day before his daughter Chelsea's wedding. (Andrew Gombert / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Well-wishers

    The day before Chelsea Clinton's July 31 wedding to Marc Mezvinsky, children in Rhinebeck, N.Y., wave from a bus decorated with a sign congratulating the bride- and groom-to-be. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. A gala affair

    The town of Rhinebeck, N.Y., has been preparing for the biggest social event of the year. The wedding took place at Astor Courts, a Beaux Arts riverside estate that was sealed off from the general public on the big day. (Bruce Buck / for The New York Times) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Picture perfect

    The Astor Courts estate is located on the Hudson River near the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, about two hours north of New York City. (Bruce Buck / for The New York Times) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Paparazzi-proof?

    To ensure privacy on the big day, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary no-fly zone for the area around Astor Courts. (Mike Groll / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Gorgeous views

    The former estate of John Jacob Astor IV has breathtaking mountain and river views and is situated about 70 miles away from the Clintons' family home in Chappaqua, N.Y. (Mike Groll / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. A town's excitement

    A man walks on East Market Street in Rhinebeck, where a sign hangs congratulating the couple. (Mike Groll / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. History and style

    The mansion on the Astor Courts property was designed by American architect Stanford White and completed in 1904. Its original owner, John Jacob Astor IV, died in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. (Mike Groll / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Home sweet home

    Astor Courts is home to Clinton supporters Kathleen Hammer and Arthur Seelbinder, and was listed for $12 million until it was taken off the market in July. (Bruce Buck / for The New York Times) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Breathing room

    The main living area of Astor Courts has five bedrooms and more than 15,000 square feet of space. (Bruce Buck / for The New York Times) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Amenities galore

    The entire estate is 40,000 square feet and boasts herringbone floors, an indoor pool and an indoor clay tennis court. (Bruce Buck / for The New York Times) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Furry fan

    A mascot from the Hudson Valley Renegades baseball team holds a sign on East Market Street. Locals have been abuzz about the wedding, which reportedly will cost between $2 million and $5 million -- although a longtime Clinton family friend denied that the wedding would cost more than $1 million. (Stan Honda / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Chelsea Clinton Marries Marc Mezvinsky In Rhinebeck, New York
    Handout / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (28) Chelsea Clinton’s ‘royal wedding’
  2. Donald R. Broyles / AP
    Slideshow (38) Chelsea Clinton then and now

Explainer: Presidential weddings

  • Image: "All the Presidents' Children" book cover

    White House weddings have come a long way from the modest affair of Maria Monroe, the first child to wed while her father was president. Her private nuptials, over 188 years ago, received very little press — just a 34-word mention in a Washington paper.

    Flash forward 21 presidential weddings later and Jenna Bush’s lavish nuptials at the Bush family’s 1,600-acre ranch was an event covered by nearly every outlet.

    Only nine were actually wed at the White House: Maria Monroe, John Adams, Elizabeth Tyler, Nellie Grant, Alice Roosevelt, Jessie Wilson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Lynda Bird Johnson, and Tricia Nixon — who had her wedding broadcast live.

    In his book "All the Presidents' Children," author and former George H.W. Bush aide Doug Wead expounds on the rich history of White House families.

    For a peek at portraits of the first children and their nuptials, click through our interactive.

  • Jenna Bush

    Image: George W. Bush and daughter Jenna Bush
    Shealah Craighead  /  Shealah Craighead
    Henry Hager, a former intern for Karl Rove, proposed to presidential twin Jenna Bush at Acadia National Park in Maine on August 15, 2007.

    The two met during President Bush’s 2004 presidential campaign, where they bonded over their love of the outdoors — a passion that influenced their wedding style.

    The couple got married May 10, 2008 at an informal, outdoor affair, at the Bush family ranch in Crawford, Texas.

  • Dorothy Bush

    Image: Dorothy Bush
    Bush Library
    The last child of a president to be married while her father was in office was Dorothy Bush, daughter of George Herbert Walker Bush.

    Married for the second time in 1992 to Robert P. Koch, a former aide to House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt, Dorothy was also the only presidential child to have her nuptials at Camp David.

  • Trixia Nixon

    Image: Trixia Nixon
    White House Photo file
    Patricia "Tricia" Nixon, daughter of Richard M. Nixon and his wife, Patricia Ryan Nixon, was married to Harvard law student Edward Finch Cox in the Rose Garden in 1971. According to Life magazine, the bride was escorted down the aisle by her father in a wedding "akin to American royalty."

    In fact, Nixon’s wedding was so extravagant that her father noted that they needed a seven-foot tall cake just to feed everyone, including the 600 journalists!

  • Julie Nixon

    Image: Julie Nixon
    Library of Congress
    Unlike her sister Tricia's large and elaborate White House Wedding, Julie Nixon opted for a small and private 15-minute ceremony with presidential grandson, Dwight David Eisenhower II.

    Julie's wedding was in December, just a few weeks after Nixon had won the presidency.

    Julie and Dwight met met at the 1956 Republican National Convention.

  • The Roosevelts

    Image: First lady Eleanor Roosevelt with her five children.
    First lady Eleanor Roosevelt is pictured with her five children.
    President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would serve as president for more than 12 years, dying in office after winning a record fourth term.

    All of his children would be married while he was in office, and Elliot would be married twice. Eventually, the five Roosevelt children would have 19 marriages between them.

  • Alice Roosevelt

    Image: Alice Roosevelt
    Library of Congress
    In 1906, Alice Roosevelt, the oldest child of Theodore Roosevelt, was married to Republican Congressman Nicholas Longworth in a White House wedding.

    A controversial figure, Alice was a wild and outspoken woman who smoked, partied and held the personal motto: “If you haven't got anything good to say about anybody, come sit next to me.”

  • Jessie Wilson

    Image: Jessie Wilson
    Library of Congress
    Jessie Wilson, left, daughter of Woodrow Wilson, was married in a high profile wedding. The groom was an hour late because the White House guards refused to believe his story and let him in.

    Eleanor "Nellie" Wilson, right, would marry a member of her father's own cabinet, William McAdoo, who in 1924, started as the front runner for the Democrat presidential nomination.

  • Nellie Grant

    Image: Nellie Grant's wedding
    Library of Congress
    In 1874, Nellie Grant, the only daughter of President Ulysses S. Grant, was married to Englishman Algernon Sartoris in the first high profile American wedding.

    Grant, who worshipped his daughter, had his eyes to the floor and wept throughout the ceremony.


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