On the eve of his only daughter Chelsea’s wedding Saturday, former president Bill Clinton escaped all the hubbub of the preparations and grabbed a bite of lunch on his own at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck. He wandered the streets of town shaking hands and accepting congratulations — and set off a frenzy among the crowd.


Meanwhile, many out-of-towners were busy getting ready for Friday’s rehearsal dinner at the Pamela Newhouse-owned stone barn in nearby Grassmere, N.Y. Reached by phone in Rhinebeck, one guest, who (like other attendees approached by WWD) asked not to be identified, said, “I think people will be really surprised. It’s going to be more low-key than they expect.”


As for why the couple-to-be has been so hush-hush about the details, he said, “It was more a matter of them wanting it to be as normal as possible. They are both just really nice people. They really want it to be extremely personal and intimate.”

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