Why is Chelsea Clinton's wedding being called 'royal'? Because she is the daughter of a former US President and a serving secretary of state? Or because the Clintons ensured continuing media interest by imposing a gag order on the minutae of weddings -- guest list, dress designer, cake maker, flower supplier et al? There have been many, many White House weddings -- the last one in 2008 when Jenna Bush got married. No fuss was made about that. Maybe because the Bushes decided to genuinely play it low-key instead of pretending to be media shy.
As it turned out, the Chelsea-Marc wedding was disappointingly low on star power, so the Clintons really need not have made such a big deal about privacy. Who cares about Chelsea and Marc's Stanford classmates and well-heeled friends? So what if the bride wore Vera Wang instead of Oscar de la Renta, only Michelle Obama's sartorial choices influence buying patterns in the US these days... Hang on, is that the real reason why the Obamas were not invited?
In fact, no one who could attract more media interest than the Clintons were on hand any way. Going by our Indian celebrity (read political) weddings, both the setting and the guest list were rather mundane. The house may have belonged to the Astors but it would hardly have evoked a media frenzy had a no fly zone not been imposed. Considering the groom reportedly splashed out on a $1 million diamond engagement ring, a $2 million bill for the whole wedding was peanuts, given what the Clintons are worth.
The real big ticket Indian political weddings are truly private. Most famously, to date only one photo of Priyanka Gandhi's marriage has surfaced. Caterers, flowers, saree, jewellery, guest list.... nothing made it to the public domain but the Gandhi family did not make a public hoo-haa about secrecy either. When Rahul Gandhi went off to London for his 40th birthday -- and as speculation continues about his prolonged bachelorhood -- he is not making a public issue about his privacy.
It is also a telling commentary on realpolitik and the longevity of political 'friendships' that Bill's deputy through both his administrations was not there, but the Indian hotelier who shamelessly flaunted his proximity to the Clintons was... The reason given was that Chelsea wanted only those whom she knew personally. So, presumably, she accompanied her dad to Sant Singh Chatwal's Indian restaurant but never ever bumped into Vice President Al Gore in all her eight years in the White House.
The inescapable conclusion seems to be that her parents wanted to make the most of what Chelsea herself visualised as a private affair.