Shh! Here come the Clinton nuptials ...

Rhinebeck, New York, is under siege as the world's press descends for the (secret) wedding of the year

Charles Derbyshire, owner of Old Mill Wine and Spirits, is trying to take delivery of some cases of white, but the distractions keep coming. A foreign reporter is commandeering his counter, and through his window he watches CBS News setting up. "I'm ready for it to be over," he confides.

We are in the small, chintzy town of Rhinebeck, two hours north of Manhattan – it has a cinema specialising in artsy films, an organic bakery and fancy restaurant in a retired church – and the "it" he refers to would be the storm of rumour about a wedding that may take place within its bounds next Saturday; a wedding with a bride who goes by the name Chelsea Clinton.

It has perhaps been Rhinebeck's misfortune that Ms Clinton, 30, put discretion before pomp as she laid out her wedding plans. No one was to leak the location to the press – even her 400-odd guests were not due to be told before yesterday – and even the date was to be more secret than the code to the nuclear suitcase (once held close by her dad, former president Bill Clinton). But the upshot of her passion for privacy should have been predictable: it has turned press interest into press hysteria.

Three weeks since Rhinebeck surfaced in social columns as the likely venue – specifically, a villa just outside town built for John Jacob Astor IV – nothing has been the same. On Friday, the police arrested two reporters from Norway for trying to photograph the entrance to the estate.

But the town residents have questions. Where will the guests stay? Will Barack Obama come? Who is doing Hillary's hair? Who is the caterer? And so on. Friday seemed to offer relief with a town councillor coming forward with the news that Rhinebeck is indeed the town where Chelsea and her financier fiancé, Marc Mezvinsky, will tie the knot. But everything else remains a mystery. So the nervous chatter goes on.

"I can confirm we are not the caterers," says Bryan Roberts of the Terrapin Restaurant (with the stained-glass windows). He has already said too much, even if no light has been shed. "No, not us, but we hear the Terrapin is doing it," offers Tara Glenn, the bartender at Gigi next door. A waitress at Gigi has heard about people renting out their homes to wedding guests but doesn't know any of them personally. Glenda Connors, a stylist at Trendsetters, just off Montgomery Street, would like it known that if Mrs Clinton, the Secretary of State, needs a last-minute do, she may be able to clear her appointments book. "Oh dear God, how I would like to get my hands on Hillary's hair, give it a sexy bob."

Entirely calm amid the brouhaha is Kathleen Cornelske Dionne, an estate agent whose office is opposite the biggest hotel in town – the Beekman Arms (no comment there) – and doubles as an art gallery. The Clinton family, she reports, have been visiting both Rhinebeck and Woodstock, on the other side of the Hudson River, for months, so it should be no surprise that they chose it for Chelsea's big day. "They obviously found out what we knew already."

Chelsea, she reveals, has been seen in recent weeks at a winery not far from here that happens to be called Clinton Corners. The place itself is Clinton Vineyards. Her intelligence has it that this is the wine they will be serving at the reception.

Mr Derbyshire is not impressed. "They can't serve that," he says with disdain. "I have heard there will be bottles of Clinton wine on display. But only on display."

And is Obama coming? Yes. No. It depends which report you read. The White House will say nothing.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor