For one newly-wedded couple, the familiar phrase JUST MARRIED doesn't quite convey the full nature of what they, their families and countless onlookers have just experienced. Our Tracy Smith spent the day yesterday in Rhinebeck, N.Y.:
"Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. and Mrs. Marc Mezvinsky."
Perhaps you've heard: Chelsea Victoria Clinton, the only child of the 42nd President and the current Secretary of State, was married to her long-time beau, investment banker Marc Mezvinsky.
It happened last night at Astor Courts, a lavish estate on the east bank of the Hudson River, about 90 miles north of New York City.
In a statement, the family said they couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.
The groom is the son of two former Members of Congress, one of whom, Ed Mezvinsky, served time for fraud. That may raise some eyebrows, but then again, the bride has some experience with unwelcome attention.
"Everybody remembers her walking to the helicopter holding the hand of each parent in the days after her father confessed to an affair with Monica Lewinsky," said New York Times White House correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg. "And people wondered back then, how is this kid gonna turn out? And you know what? She's turned out really great. And she's a beautiful young woman. And I think it's a happy ending.
"And people like happy endings!"
It was also a very private affair: The information blackout here hasn't been lifted entirely yet, but here's what we know (or at least, think we know):
The bride wore a Vera Wang gown, her mother was in Oscar de la Renta. And dad sported a noticeably thinner frame.
"It turned out to be just exactly what the Clintons said it would be: a family wedding for Chelsea and Marc," said Millie Martini Bratten, editor in chief of Brides magazine.
No Oprah, no Barbra Streisand. No big celebrity names unless they were family friends.
So, what about the really important stuff - the dress?
"It makes perfect sense she'd wear a ball gown," said Bratten. "It's big, it's flowy, it's right for the space and perfect for her as American royalty."
But Chelsea's wedding might be remembered not so much for its grandeur, but for its secrecy.
How tight was security? "Very tight," said Hudson Valley News executive editor Jim Langan. "Confidentiality agreements with teeth that were not violated.
"For anybody involved in the wedding?" Smith asked.
"Anybody, anybody, under penalty of death. I don't know what they had in there, but it worked!"
In fact, security was SO tight it became almost comical:
"Hey, did you hear about this? They leaked a bunch of secret documents on the Afghanistan war, did you hear about that?" said David Letterman. "Yeah, yeah, but don't worry: The plans for Chelsea Clinton's wedding are still top secret. Mum's the word."
Of course, it IS possible to shut the media out entirely. In 1996, John Kennedy Jr and his bride Carolyn Bessette did just that - exchanging their vows in a Georgia church.
First Daughter Jenna Bush announced her location in advance, but kept the media at bay, releasing photos the next day.
A generation ago, First Family weddings were must-see-televsion. In 1966 even before Lucie Baines Johnson married Patrick Nugent, the press had every minute detail down cold.
In 1971, the Nixon family also played along with the media, but only to a point. The White House allowed cameras to shoot the elaborate decorations and the spectacle of a sitting president walking his daughter Tricia down the aisle.
But when the actual ceremony began, they pulled the plug.
"We can assume, and people do assume, that Richard Nixon was a very private person, and he didn't want to have anybody see him cry," said presidential historian Doug Wead.
And IF President Nixon teared up that day, he was in good company. When Nellie Grant got married in 1874, the war-hardened president was, as they say, a wreck.
"U.S. Grant was a great general, as you know he'd seen a lot of blood, entire tents full of arms and legs amputated," said Wead. "But when his daughter was married, he wept. He looked at the floor and wept throughout, and said he wouldn't make eye contact with anybody - looked at his shoes, his boots, and wept through the whole ceremony."
President Clinton said HE would try to stay dry-eyed as he walked Chelsea down the aisle. For those of us on the outside looking in, it's not yet clear if he succeeded.
The Clintons DID succeed at their primary goal: To give their daughter the wedding she wanted, with the people she wanted . . . and with the media at arm's length.
More on Chelsea Clinton's Wedding:
Crowd on VIP Alert at Clinton Wedding Site
Chelsea: Presidential Kid in the Public Eye
Washington Unplugged: Chelsea's Wedding - Simplicity, Streisand & Security
Chelsea Clinton's Wedding Day Details
FAA Bans Flights Over Wedding Venue
Rhinebeck Ready for Its Big Day
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