Here comes the bride. There goes the cash.
On Saturday Chelsea Clinton is set to marry her investment-banker boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky at a posh private estate 90 miles north of Manhattan.
The hotly anticipated, highly secretive affair has been called the Wedding of the Decade and of the Century.
Extravagant and notable events like that don’t come cheap.
Experts in all things nuptial ballpark the cost of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s little girl’s big day at anywhere from $3 million to $5 million.
That’s a lotta lettuce. And wedding cake.
“I don’t think we’ve seen a wedding with this much attention since Patricia Nixon,” says Donnie Brown, a wedding planner featured in “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?” on the Style Network.
“This will definitely be the biggest wedding of the year.”
At the more conservative cost of $3 million, that’s a half-million behind Liza Minnelli and David Gest and a cool $1 million ahead of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
But this is different from your garden-variety superstar wedding, experts concur. This union includes world leaders and, well, Oprah.
“It’s bigger and more important than a celebrity wedding,” according to celebrity event planner Diann Valentine. “It will certainly be the most influential of setting trends. If anything becomes public knowledge it will immediately set a trend.”
As such, no expense will be spared.
If you’re crunching the numbers, at a budget of $3 million and with 500 of the former First Family’s nearest and dearests in attendance (that’s the anticipated count), it comes out to $6,000 a head.
It’s not called a Big Day for nothing.
On the plus side, Bill and Hillary Clinton can afford it. Between 2000 and 2007 they earned a reported $109 million.
If you’ve ever planned a wedding, costs accumulate faster than you can say “I promise to love, honor and obey.”
That fact is multiplied many times over when it’s a celebrity wedding, where the bride’s dress must be designer, the flowers must be exotic and the table service A-plus to pamper the privileged palates.
And don’t forget the luxe air-conditioned tents where the guests will chow and party down. They’re estimated to cost about $600,000 for this Clintonfest.
Another factor is something mere mortals don’t have to think about when tying the knot: security. Wedding crashers at celeb weddings are legion — from reporters looking for scoops, paparazzi seeking snaps and, well, nutjobs looking to get in on the action.
Security at Saturday’s wedding on the grounds of Astor Courts — a private, French-style mansion on 50 acres overlooking the Hudson — could cost $200,000 because of all the high-level politicians and global celebrities.
There’s “access by land, water and air,” says Sharon Stimpfle, spokeswoman for TheKnot.com. “Someone’ll be monitoring air traffic.”
Indeed, don’t be surprised if the Clintons may need to pony up extra dough to shut down air space (paparazzi in helicopters are drawn to celeb weddings like bees to honey) or to pay overtime to local cops who’ll monitor traffic near the nups.
Upscale wedding planner Claudia Hanlin notes that “certain elements make it add up very, very quickly. One, having a venue that costs a bundle. That could be one that’s privately owned, or it could be buying out a hotel, it could be being in Italy and buying out a villa.
“And food and booze are already expensive,” she continues, “but the Clintons are reportedly hiring multiple vendors, which is one reason the food estimate gets so high.”
Even little details push the price tag up, up, up. Like place settings for the lucky 500. New York caterer Peter Callahan says that at Chelsea and Marc’s wedding they could go can go for $100 apiece.
“The bride goes through to select things and it’s like a candy store,” he says, “‘I’ll take this, I’ll take that.’?”
Brown says they’ve probably spent more than $150 apiece for the invitations. “The aisle runner is probably hand-painted,” he says.
It’s been said before – money can buy you almost anything.