Clinton wedding was picture perfect

Former president Bill Clinton walked his daughter, Chelsea, down the aisle for her wedding on Saturday, July 31, 2010, in Rhinebeck, N.Y. (AP Photo/Genevieve de Manio Photography,Genevieve de Manio) Former president Bill Clinton walked his daughter, Chelsea, down the aisle for her wedding on Saturday, July 31, 2010, in Rhinebeck, N.Y.
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
August 2, 2010

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What was all the fuss about?

Chelsea Clinton, the only child of former president Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, married her longtime boyfriend Saturday and in the end the super-secret wedding in Rhinebeck, N.Y., went off without a hitch.

“Quite honestly, a couple of things went really right, which made the experience even better,’’ said Bryan Rafanelli, the Boston-based event planner picked by the Clintons to orchestrate the day.

One, he said, was the weather, which was spectacular all weekend. And another were the folks in Rhinebeck, who’d been kept in the dark about the Clinton wedding. Rafanelli admitted yesterday he wasn’t certain how the hubbub might be received.

“But everyone was really great, including the neighbors,’’ he told us.

It probably helped that Rafanelli went door to door before the wedding delivering bottles of wine to the neighbors, handing out 17 in all. He chose a crisp, light white produced by the nearby Clinton Vineyards. (Established in 1977, the vineyard is unrelated to the bride or her family.)

“I do that whether I’m in Marblehead or Chatham,’’ Rafanelli told us. “That’s what we do. We want to be gracious to our clients’ neighbors as well.’’

Chelsea wore Vera Wang while her beau, Marc Mezvinsky, was decked out in a tux designed by Burberry’s Christopher Bailey. The couple was married at sunset at Astor Courts estate, a sumptuous spread in Rhinebeck. Hundreds of guests, among them Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, D.C. influence peddler Vernon Jordan, and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, were seated in rows of chairs on a lush green lawn overlooking the Hudson River.

Rafanelli, who logged 53 room nights in Rhinebeck before the big day, and several more in New York City, said he was initially anxious about handling the wedding of a former first daughter. (Rafanelli, whose partner Mark Walsh once worked for Hillary Clinton, has done several fund-raisers and parties for the family in the past.)

He said the bride and groom, along with Chelsea’s mom and dad and grandmother, were “totally running the ship’’ during the planning process, which began in December.

“They articulated to me what they wanted — they wanted it outside, they wanted a tented wedding — and we went from there,’’ said Rafanelli, who arranged everything from the flowers (Boston’s Winston Flowers) and photographers (Boston’s Gigi de Manio was one of two) to the food, tent (Peterson Party Center of Winchester), linens (Boston’s Be Our Guest), music, valet company, and security.

The wedding had been the subject of media interest for weeks. Security was extremely tight and a no-fly zone was imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration for several hours Saturday. Rafanelli said he and his vendors were bound by strict confidentiality.

“I didn’t do anything with this family that I don’t do with all the other families I work with,’’ he said. “At the end of the day, people want their guests to experience how beautiful the flowers are, how great the music is, for the first time.’’

In addition to the covert Clinton affair, Rafanelli has put together three other high-profile weddings this summer: He handled the opulent Marblehead wedding of Elizabeth Lynch, daughter of longtime Fidelity executive Peter Lynch; the wedding of New York congressman Anthony Weiner and Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide, Huma Abedin; and the Cape Cod nuptials of Boston attorney Jennifer Berylson, whose grandparents founded the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, a Chestnut Hill-based charity that doles out $10 million in grants annually.

What’s next?

“I have another event Saturday, and then I’m going down to the Cape for a while,’’ Rafanelli said. “I haven’t been all summer, which is because this has been the most exciting summer of my life.’’

Ireland Fund honors Delahunt

Lesley King and Bart Grenier hosted the American Ireland Fund’s Nantucket Celebration at their island home over the weekend. The 200-person guest list included US Senator John Kerry, Bank of America’s Anne Finucane and her husband, Mike Barnicle, and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and his wife, Kathleen. The party honored US Representative William Delahunt, who is retiring.

Freeze frames

Peter Wolf dropped by Chelsea’s Pearl Street Gallery the other night to check out “Hard Drivin’ Men,’’ an exhibit of celebrity shutterbug Joe Greene’s pics of the J. Geils Band. Also there were Edison Beer owner Rhonda Kallman, Jeff Gates of the Aquitaine Group, Cantor Fitzgerald’s John Talanian, and city manager Jay Ash.

Pitching and singing

“Glee’’ co-creator Brad Falchuk, a graduate of Beaver Country Day School in Brookline, threw out the first pitch at yesterday’s Red Sox-Tigers game. Miss Rhode Island Julianna Strout, who’s a pal of Ocean State “Project Runway’’ designer Jonathan Peters, sang the anthem.

Ring of untruth

Newton-bred actor-director Eli Roth isn’t engaged. At least he doesn’t think he is. After a number of gossip websites reported that the “Inglourious Basterds’’ star and “Hostel’’ director had proposed to his socialite girlfriend, Peaches Geldof, Roth tweeted, “It’s a good thing I follow myself on Twitter or I’d have never known I was engaged. I had no idea. Congrats?’’

Affleck faces 2d suit

For Casey Affleck, it’s now two against one. The locally bred actor-director, whose resume includes “Ocean’s Eleven,’’ “The Killer Inside Me,’’ and, of course, “Good Will Hunting’’ and “Gone Baby Gone,’’ has been hit with a second sexual harassment lawsuit, this one filed by Magdalena Gorka, a cinematographer who worked on Affleck’s soon-to-be-released mockumentary about his brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix. Gorka’s $2 million-plus suit claims that Affleck got into bed with her during the film shoot, propositioned her, and declined to pay her for work on the project after she rejected him. Affleck was sued a week earlier by Amanda White, a producer on the film who made similar sexual harassment claims. Affleck has said that White’s case is extortion, and has hired big-shot lawyer Marty Singer, who also represented “Bones’’ star David Boreanaz in an extortion case. Affleck, who is married to Summer Phoenix, recently sold “I’m Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix,’’ to Magnolia Pictures, which plans to release the film this fall. Affleck was spotted with his family at OM in Cambridge just a few days before the first lawsuit was filed. . . . Meanwhile, Casey’s brother Ben was seen having family quality time on the West Coast over the weekend. The older Affleck brother was spotted watching his daughters play soccer on Saturday afternoon. Later that night, he had a romantic dinner with wife Jennifer Garner at Nobu in Malibu.

Here and there

D-listers got ridiculous at local casinos over the weekend. Former ’N Sync-er Joey Fatone was at Mohegan Sun, where he jumped onstage at Patrick Lyons’s pub the Dubliner and sang a rendition of “Sweet Child o’ Mine’’ with local band Red Light. Meanwhile, at Foxwoods, “Mini Me’’ Verne Troyer was at Shrine at the MGM Grand. He hung with a mostly female entourage until closing. Troyer was spotted at Gretchen Monahan’s MGM-based G Spa before his night out. . . . Back in Boston, Sox ace Jon Lester dined at Bricco. And in Hingham, former Maple Leafs star Tie Domi and his girlfriend, “Nip/Tuck’’ actress Kelly Carlson, were spotted at Paul Wahlberg’s restaurant Alma Nove. Wahlberg is expecting some big names at his restaurant this week for a screening of his brother Mark’s film “The Other Guys.’’ . . . Michael Rebholz and Cindy Stumpo of HGTV’s “Tough as Nails’’ were at the Kowloon over the weekend to see performances by Jimi Jamison and John Ford Coley. Former Boston members Sib Hashian and Barry Goudreau joined former Survivor frontman Jamison onstage.

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