Chelsea Clinton prepares to tie the knot

Former President Bill Clinton made a long-anticipated appearance in the upstate New York village where his daughter is getting married this weekend.

The former president, looking relaxed in blue jeans and a black knit shirt, walked with security men not far from the centre of picturesque Rhinebeck to Gigi Trattoria, whose chef is reported to be catering for tonight's rehearsal dinner.

Asked how the family was, Clinton replied: "We're all fine.

"We love it here," he said. "Chelsea loves the area as well."

He said Chelsea was "doing well".

She is set to marry her long-time boyfriend, investment banker Marc Mezvinsky, at a ceremony tomorrow night attended by 400 to 500 people at the grand Astor Courts, an estate on the scenic east bank of the Hudson River.

Of his soon-to-be son-in-law, Clinton said: "I like him very much. I really do. I admire him."

He said his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chelsea's mother, a former first lady and US senator from New York, and the sitting Secretary of State in President Barack Obama's Cabinet, "feels the same way".

The VIP guest list is said to include such A-listers as TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey, filmmaker Steven Spielberg and some of the Clintons' powerful political allies, and the village was filling up with the curious hoping to catch a glimpse of an honoured guest.

Chelsea and Mezvinsky were friends as teenagers in Washington, and both attended Stanford University.

They now live in New York, where Mezvinsky works at G3 Capital, a Manhattan hedge fund, and Chelsea is pursuing a graduate degree at Columbia University's School of Public Health.

Mezvinsky worked previously at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker.

Mezvinsky is a son of former US Republicans Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky of Pennsylvania and Ed Mezvinsky of Iowa, long-time friends of the Clintons. His parents are divorced.

Ed Mezvinsky was released from federal prison last year after serving a nearly five-year sentence for wire and bank fraud.

Margolies-Mezvinsky served just one term in Congress before losing her seat in 1994 after voting in favour of President Clinton's 1993 budget, which was controversial at the time.

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