New York, July 31 (ANI): Indian American New York hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal, who refers to the Clintons as family, will be one among the lucky 450 guests attending the high profile marriage and reception of Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former US President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Chelsea, 30, who is Methodist, is to marry her hedge fund manager beau Marc Mezvinsky, 32, a Conservative Jew, in a three million dollar (approximate cost) wedding in Rhinebeck, a quaint rural weekend getaway in New York's Hudson Valley.
A majority of Americans are describing the event as the "wedding of the century".
Chatwal told ANI on Saturday that he attended the rehearsal dinner on Friday, and added that he was the only Indian American present.
Chatwal told ANI on phone that a very select group of people have been invited to Chelsea's marriage, and added that the invitees were those personally known to Chelsea or Mark.
Going back in time, Chatwal said he had very fond memories of Chelsea's childhood.
"I have seen her growing. We celebrated her sixteenth birthday at my hotel-Bombay Palace fourteen years back, and now, she is thirty," he said.
"Chelsea is a vegetarian and was in India with her fiancee two years back, where they had dinner at the popular Bukhara Restaurant in Maurya Sheraton with the Chatwal family," Sant Singh told ANI.
"She has grown up like a very normal kid. She used to work in a bank and study in a normal American school," Chatwal added.
Chelsea and Mark are planning to visit South India in the coming winter.
"This is a great wedding. The Clintons are very happy, but at the same time they are giving their only daughter away. So, in that sense, they are emotional," Chatwal said.
The list of invitees is being kept confidential due to security reasons. The marriage venue has been declared a no-fly zone for several hours, while cell phones and Blackberrys have been banned at the wedding reception, Chatwal told ANI.
The media blackout notwithstanding, the frenetic inquisitiveness surrounding the event is mind-boggling, if reports are to be believed.
Ceremonies are reportedly taking place at the elegant and grandiose Astor Courts House in a wooded area near Rhinebeck. Tents have been erected near the white building to accommodate guests.
The place was commissioned to be built over a century ago by billionaire businessman John Jacob Astor IV, who died when the "unsinkable" Titanic sank in the freezing waters of the Atlantic in April 1912. The property is now owned by Kathleen Hammer, a key contributor to Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential bid and her earlier bid for the U S Senate.
The New York Daily News has reported that "A" list guests will be housed in the Beekman Arms Hotel, said to be the oldest inn in the United States. Hotel employees have been warned not to mention the name Clinton in conversation under threat of being fired. Guests have reportedly been asked not to disclose the invitation or its contents to anyone, indicating the degree of privacy attached to the nuptials.
Chelsea met Mark at a retreat for Democrats when she was a teenager. Mark is now a wealthy banker, but is more known as the son of a former Democratic Congressman. His father has served five years in jail for committing fraud on the American public.
Meanwhile, Jewish publications and bloggers are abuzz with news of Saturday's Chelsea-Mark nuptial, more so for it being an interfaith one and how, if at all, it will affect the Jewish American community.
Last month, the Free Press had reported that about half of marriages in the Jewish community in America are with non-Jewish spouses, suggesting concerns about a gradually shrinking community.
"This marriage will spark conversation in the Jewish world about two main issues: How inter-marriage affects the Jewish community; and, whether there is a double-standard in the Jewish community when it comes to the inter-marrying ways of celebrities," Rabbi Jason Miller of Tamarack Camps in Ortonville and Congregation T'chiyah in Oak Park wrote on his blog.
He added: "This high-profile wedding will bring many of the implications of intermarriage to a more public forum."
Reports have revealed that there will be two wedding ceremonies - one in the presence of a Jewish Rabbi and the other conducted with a Methodist minister co-officiating. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)