The quiet Main Liner who's marrying Chelsea Clinton

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The big day approaches for Chelsea Clinton and fiance Marc Mezvinsky.

The bride is an international celebrity, the daughter of the world's most famous political couple.

The groom, who grew up on the Main Line, not so much.

When Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky marry Saturday at the posh Astor Courts in Rhinebeck, N.Y., with up to 400 high-powered guests in attendance - think Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand - the least famous person at the nuptials may be the lanky, wavy-haired groom.

Who is this fellow who has won Chelsea's heart and the blessing of her notoriously overbearing parents?

Apparently, he's a real catch.

Even Big Daddy Bill Clinton approves.

"He's great. He's a great human being," the former president said when the couple got engaged last fall.

Mezvinsky, 32, is an investment banker at a hedge fund and lives in a $3.8 million condominium in New York's Flat Iron district.

Like his fiancee, he comes with a lot of parental baggage. Both his parents were in Congress and had their own dramatic political implosions.

His mother, Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, was an Emmy Award-winning reporter who worked at WCAU-TV from 1967 to 1971, then NBC until 1991. She adopted two children as a single woman in the 1970's, back when that was unheard of, and wrote a book about it. In 1992, she was elected to Congress from Montgomery County.

His father, Edward M. Mezvinsky, was a two-term congressman from Iowa who pleaded guilty in 2002 to swindling dozens of investors out of $10 million. He served five years in prison. The couple eventually divorced.

Ed Mezvinsky was released in 2008 but is still on probation. Whether he will attend his son's wedding is one of the big unknowns of the day, which is expected to cost $3 million to $5 million.

Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky lost her reelection bid in 1994 because she cast the deciding vote for President Clinton's tax bill, which was unpopular with her constituents. She founded and still runs the Philadelphia-based Women's Campaign International, a nonprofit dedicated to the political empowerment of women.

"She earned an honored place in history, with a vote she shouldn't have had to cast," Bill Clinton wrote in My Life, his 2004 memoir.

Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton's epic troubles, marital and otherwise, don't need repeating. Yet the powerhouse couple continue to shape world events with his philanthropic work and her job as secretary of state.

Some girls marry their fathers, but Chelsea, 30, who is Methodist, chose a nice Jewish boy who seems to shun the spotlight and likes to stick close to home, according to a recent profile of the couple in the New York Post.

He grew up in a 15-room home in Merion Station in a blended family of 11 children. The family belonged to Har Zion Temple, a Conservative synagogue, but resigned post-scandal in 2003.

With his mother in Congress, Marc attended Sidwell Friends School, the same elite, private Washington academy that Chelsea went to.

The interfaith couple met in 1996 when they were teenagers at the so-called Renaissance Weekend, a Democratic political retreat in Hilton Head, S.C., and became friends. He reportedly gave her a tour of Stanford, which he was attending, when she was choosing colleges in 1997.

Remember the picture from that time of a self-assured, dark-haired boy with an angular jaw and a shy, slim girl with corkscrew curls looking smitten next to him? Clues, people, clues.

At Stanford, he reportedly was a serious student who majored in finance. Chelsea and Marc were friends there, but it is believed they weren't dating.

After graduating, Chelsea went to Oxford University in 2002 to study international relations and had her first serious romance, with Rhodes scholar Ian Klaus. It was only when they broke up two years later and she was working at a management consulting firm in New York, that she and her teenage crush became an item.

Marc is known as confident and good-humored, according to the New York Times. He attends services at the Jewish Theological Seminary on the Upper West Side, sometimes accompanied by his fiancee. Although she occasionally goes to Shabbat dinner with him, no one is suggesting she may convert.

Will a rabbi, minister, or both officiate at the wedding? Will the couple honeymoon in Hawaii or some place more exotic? Will they be able to escape the shadow of their families?

Time will tell, but for now, mazel tov, Chelsea and Marc. Here's hoping you do better at love than your parents.

 


Contact staff writer

Kathy Boccella at kboccella@phillynews.com or 610-313-8123.