It was America's version of a royal wedding: lavish, complicated and at the centre of a huge security operation which ensured the crowds that turned out to cheer the happy couple were more likely to see shady-looking spooks carrying guns and wearing dark sunglasses than glamorous guests in big hats and posh frocks.

Chelsea Clinton married her boyfriend, Marc Mezvinsky, in a Beaux Arts estate near the village of Rhinebeck, on the upper Hudson River north of New York on Saturday afternoon.

The happy couple was surrounded by several hundred guests under an anti-terrorist no-fly zone that extended 48km.

Though the event was surrounded in secrecy, Bill and Hillary Clinton released photographs of the big day, together with a statement expressing their happiness that the "special" occasion had passed off according to their daughter's best-laid plans.

"Today, we watched with great pride and overwhelming emotion as Chelsea and Marc wed in a beautiful ceremony at Astor Courts, surrounded by family and their close friends," it read.

"We could not have asked for a more perfect day to celebrate the beginning of their life together, and we are so happy to welcome Marc into our family. On behalf of the newlyweds, we want to give special thanks to the people of Rhinebeck for welcoming us and to everyone for their well-wishes on this special day."

A family spokesman added that the wedding ceremony was conducted by both a rabbi and a reverend, since the Clintons are Methodists while Mr Mezvinsky, an investment banker, is Jewish. It included the reading of a poem by the English writer, Leo Marks, The Life That I Have.

Roads immediately surrounding the event were closed to traffic. Hundreds of well-wishers who travelled to the small town for the day were, however, rewarded with glimpses of at least six busloads of guests being shipped to the event, most of them in black tie.

Ms Clinton, 30, wore a Vera Wang gown, while her mother went for a fuchsia dress by Oscar de la Renta. The groom and Mr Clinton - who said he had had shed 7kg for the occasion - were less formally attired than most of the guests, choosing dark lounge suits. The couple said their vows under a gazebo made from white flowers.

In keeping with Ms Clinton's apparent desire not to turn the event into a celebrity circus, many of the famous people who had been tipped to show up were conspicuous by their absence. There was no Oprah Winfrey, the Obamas were not invited, and even Mr Clinton's former deputy, Al Gore, was otherwise engaged.

The biggest "names" the awaiting press corps got to see were Madeleine Albright, Clinton's former Secretary of State, together with the actor Ted Danson, who jokingly asked reporters: "Am I the only celebrity in town?"