$5 Million Chelsea Clinton Wedding Will Be Nothing Like Mine

Wedding place settingWhen you can afford to spend $2 million on a wedding, heck, what's another couple of mil more to make it really something to remember, huh? Original reports put the Chelsea Clinton wedding at about $2 million, but some sources now say the price tag is closer to $5 million. FIVE!

Okay, so a lot of that is security, as you might imagine. The press, droves of curious locals, prospective party crashers, and assorted maniacs looking to get famous will be out in full force that day, so $200,000 for the Clinton protection effort seems justified.


Protecting against unwanted guests is one expense I did not have to worry about when planning my own wedding. I couldn't even get the people I invited to send back their RSVP on time. Oh, inflation. That was a decade ago and I bet the prices have gone up since then. I'm sure I could have secured a decent security force with surveillance and helicopters for the bargain price of $170K back in the day.

Other reasons the $5 million Clinton extravaganza will be drastically different from my $20,000 event ...

The Venue

Chelsea's air-conditioned tents on the grounds of the posh Rhinebeck, New York, inn will cost her $600,000 each. I didn't need to pay for air conditioning. My wedding was held in the winter so I could take advantage of off-season rates. It was snowing as I walked into the church with my sleeveless gown. Plus, the old house we rented for the reception, with its long sweeping staircase, fireplaces, and antiques, oozed with drafts as much as with charm.

The Bathrooms

Because it's an outdoor affair, the Clintons are renting port-a-johns for their guests at $15,000 a pop. These are supposedly nicer than most people's bathrooms at home, and I'm sure the door latches will work a lot better than the ones at my reception. My brother-in-law -- the best man -- got locked inside the loo for about an hour before someone rescued him. He was really bummed about missing those appetizers.

The Table Settings

My mother thought I was crazy for spending $150 per person to come and eat and dance at my wedding. "Can't you have something cheaper than pork? Do you really need raspberry sorbet AND cake?" I wonder if Chelsea got the same reaction when her mother learned she was spending $6,000 per person. That includes $1,000 on the table settings alone! Forks and knives, people. Napkins. Water glasses. And I don't know what she's leaving on the table as favors but I'm sure it's a lot better than a Hershey bar wrapped in a "Chelsea Loves Marc" wrapper.

The Transportation

I'm kinda guessing Chelsea is going to make a grand entrance. This was an expense I was willing to cut from the bottom line. Instead of paying $500 for limos, we decided to drive ourselves to the church. My husband packed his groomsmen into his beat-up Honda, and nearly ran out of gas on the way. I rode in the back seat of my dad's Toyota Camry, but I will say now that the crick in my neck from head-tilting the entire trip so as not to mash my ridiculously poofy updo into the roof was NOT worth it.


It was a perfect day and I wouldn't change a thing. Much. Except maybe the contents of wedding envelopes that we had hoped would make a nice down payment on a house. Change that to "deficit." Between all the bounced checks and salad spinners we received as gifts instead, we landed in the red by about $2 grand. Now that was an expensive party.

How was your wedding different from the Chelsea Clinton wedding?

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