Chelsea Clinton’s wedding this Saturday, July 31, in Rhinebeck is making headlines for its guest list (the ultimate gathering of VIPs), the complicated security arrangements (everything from the Secret Service to local police), and its price tag (an estimated $3 million). The ceremony will take place on the grounds of the Astor Courts, a private French-style mansion overlooking the Hudson River. Specific details are being closely guarded, but many wedding experts are weighing in with their opinions and guesses about everything from the cake to Chelsea’s gown (Vera Wang or Oscar de la Renta?)
Not to be left out, Woman Around Town asked Thomas Lewis, owner of The Floral Studio, whose stunning arrangements have graced every conceivable event for the rich and famous, from corporate events, rooftop parties, anniversary celebrations, and, of course weddings, to describe how he would handle flowers for Chelsea’s big day.
Approximately 400 guests will be attending so the space will be somewhat large. Therefore, there would be two options for table decorations. The first, a low floral centerpiece in a round, classy, silver container with five tall tapered candles around the centerpiece and, the second, a tall or high arrangement within a 30-inch tall silver candelabra with the flowers centered within the arms of the piece. I do not see this candelabra heavily decorated or ornate, but simple and elegant. Whichever piece is used, there should be a tall element, such as the candles, to accent the size and height of the space. For the flower selection for the centerpieces, I would suggest white Hydrangea, white garden Roses, white Lisianthus, and white Lilies.
From the time the guests begin to arrive by car or by limousine, the experience should begin when they enter the property. At the entry drive, there could be large urns of flowers, while along the drive there could be floral accents all the way to the dropping off point, most likely the entrance to the building. At the entry, there can be large florals greeting the guests as they enter and then an elegant arrangement at the greeting/sign-in table. .
Seeing photos of the reception hall, I would suggest something that has a “garden-like” quality to it. The architecture of the building is somewhat traditional and speculating that the guest list will include diplomats and dignitaries, a garden-like style would work well with all the details.
From there, the guests might proceed to the ceremony area or cocktail hour. The ceremonial area can be defined with a large canopied or garden arbor as the focal point along with simple florals along the aisle. I do not see this as a garish or gaudy floral theme, but something very elegant and classy.
I see Chelsea holding an all-white bouquet, perhaps all Lily of the Valley, a very elegant, sophisticated flower that displays “wealth and sophistication” but not being “showy” or “glitzy.” This flower was used at Jacqueline Kennedy’s funeral and Carolyn Bessette used it for her bridal bouquet for her wedding to John Kennedy Jr.
The bridesmaids might have white bouquets as well or perhaps white and lavender. If all white was used, I would suggest using white garden Roses along with accents of Sweet Peas and possibly a hint of Lily of the Valley.
Gardenias, a very classy, elegant flower that would complement Chelsea’s bouquet very well.
What colors would you choose?
I see an all-white theme or shades of white with greens. All white is very classy, a bit traditional, and would go very well if is a black-tie event. I do not see a lot of colors, because I am under the impression that Chelsea and her fiancé, Marc Mezvinsky, are a very private couple.
How much would you estimate the cost?
For the flower budget, I estimate about from $150,000 to $200,000. There will be a very large staff to place all the arrangements and then to remove everything afterwards. There probably will also be a staff on duty during the event, should any issues arise.
Making my suggestions, I considered the people attending the wedding—Chelsea Clinton, her parents, a former President and the present Secretary of State, and many politicians and celebrities—as well as the location, the Astor Courts, a historic building. For example, white Calla Lilies tend to be more contemporary and modern, which I do not think would work in this setting. Cost, I do not believe is a factor.
For more information on The Floral Studio, go to the website, www.floralstudio-ny.com