07/30/2010 AT 9:00 PM ET
The town of Rhinebeck, N.Y., is abuzz with preparations and news outlets are clamoring for details, but what’s really going on when it comes to the Saturday wedding of former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton and fiancé Marc Mezvinsky?
PEOPLE tracked down some of the juiciest rumors and burning questions:
1. Could it really be costing $5 million?
Not even close. Sources close to the bride’s parents, who are paying for the wedding, cast recent tabloid “guesstimates” of a wedding budget between $3 million to $5 million as so grossly fabricated they are unworthy of comment. One longtime family friend said the wedding is not exceeding six figures – so in the hundreds-of-thousands dollar range, not millions.
2. Any chance the Clintons are getting freebies for the wedding?
Absolutely not. As Secretary of State, the mother of the bride would be guided not only by what is appropriate, but by the strict ethics rules that prohibit all executive branch employees from accepting gifts of more than $20 in value. And no, there can be no parsing of the value. A single source can give no more than a total of $50 worth of gifts in each calendar year.
3. Which celebs are going?
The White House says that President Obama will not be attending, and Obama himself says that he didn’t even get an invite. Ditto Al Gore’s office, where a spokesperson said that President Clinton’s former VP would not be attending and neither would Tipper Gore. But, added the spokesperson, “They both wish the couple well and they share in the family’s excitement.”
As for all that buzz about Oprah Winfrey being among the celebrity guests, a spokesperson for Winfrey’s production company, Harpo, told a HumanEvents.com blogger earlier this month: “Ms. Winfrey has not been invited to the wedding.” As Hillary Clinton put it last week, “It’s a family wedding and the people coming are [Chelsea’s] friends and people who have been meaningful in her life, as it should be.” Our money is on longtime Clinton pals Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen.
4. What kinds of presents should the happy couple expect?
A toaster oven or latte maker just doesn’t seem appropriate. As for a bridal registry – it’s a Secret Service-style mission. The couple used a fake name under the gift registry, reports the Washington Post, so even the shopping locations are a mystery.
5. Could this all be a ruse to keep us away from the REAL wedding somewhere else?
According to Jim Langan, editor of the Hudson Valley News, “If it is, it’s worthy of the Manhattan Project and an appearance by Oliver Stone, and it would be the most expensive head fake in history.”