Chris Jackson, Getty Images |Filmmagic.com
When Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, wed investment banker Marc Mezvinsky on July 31, 2010, it was dubbed the wedding of the year, the decade, the century even. But that was four months before Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton. So how does last year's "wedding of the century" compare to this year's "wedding of the century"?
How They Met
Chelsea and Marc first met as teenagers at a political retreat (Marc's parents are former Democratic members of Congress). They both went on to attend Stanford University, but did not begin dating until years later, after Chelsea ended her relationship with Ian Klaus.
Across the pond, William and Kate (a small-town girl from Bucklebury) met at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 2001. The college friendship developed into an eight-year relationship that included some break-ups along the way.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2009, Marc proposed to Chelsea in New York. The pair shared the news with friends and family via a low-key email: "We're sorry for the mass email but we wanted to wish everyone a belated Happy Thanksgiving! We also wanted to share that we are engaged!"
In October 2010, while on a 10-day trip in Kenya, Africa, William asked for Kate's hand in marriage. Clarence House officially announced the engagement with a flashy photo op and TV interview the following month.
The first-family wedding, which was held at Astor Courts, a private estate in Rhinebeck, New York, was described by townspeople as a "royal" event and the Clintons as our Windsor clan. "We love [Bill Clinton]... We wish them well. It's royalty. It's our royalty," New York state resident Arlene Newman told The New York Times.
The affair reportedly cost between $3 to $5 million. That hefty price tag included $750,000 for catering, $11,000 for a gluten-free cake (Chelsea's allergic), $15,000 for fancy toilets, $500,000 for flowers, $200,000 for extra security (paid for by the Clintons) and $600,000 for air-conditioned tents, among other expenses. Plus, a Federal Aviation Administration-enforced no-fly zone was in effect for the area.
William and Kate's nuptials take the wedding cake when it comes to expenses though. On April 29, they will say their "I do's" in Westminster Abbey, with a regal reception to follow at Buckingham Palace for the estimated princely sum of $34 million. The bulk of the cost is going towards security ($32 million), which British taxpayers will pay.
Officials have warned that a terrorist attack is "highly likely." The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is believed to be behind the alleged threats. But other groups, from Islamist militants to anti-capitalist protesters, have also threatened to commit acts of violence. The increased safety measures mean more man hours and added costs.
As for the remaining bills, two receptions come to $600,000; a fruity wedding cake, $80,000; flowers, $800,000 and clean-up, $64,000 (which will also be footed by taxpayers).
To help with some of the charges, the bride's parents forked over a six-figure amount, Vanity Fair reported.
For the ceremony, Chelsea wore a strapless Vera Wang gown with a raw-edged silk organza skirt, which featured a beaded waistband. For the reception, she switched into a silk tulle Grecian gown with a grosgrain black belt created by the designer (who also attended the wedding).
The details of Kate's dress are still a bit of a mystery. Sophie Cranston, Jasper Conran, Alice Temperley, Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen and Bruce Oldfield have all been named as possible dressmakers.
Chelsea enacted a "no-strangers policy" for her Rhinebeck reception, which was limited to approximately 400 guests. Celebrities were kept to a minimum. Oprah and Barbra Streisand were not invited, but long-time family friends Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen did make the cut, along with political allies, such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and the bride and groom's college and work friends.
As for this week's festivities, 1,900 onlookers will be in the Abbey pews, including David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John, lots of foreign royals and dignitaries and the couple's families and friends. Plus, two billion folks --a record-breaking number of eyeballs -- are expected to tune in to watch the first "people's royal wedding."
After their wedding, Marc and Chelsea headed to South Africa for a safari adventure. William and Kate's first trip as husband and wife will be to Jordan... or Australia... or Mustique... or Isles of Scilly.
As for privacy, well that's priceless.
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