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Archive for Sunday, May 11, 2008

Jenna Bush’s wedding low-key affair at ranch

A bus transporting wedding attendees and guests arrives at the security checkpoint for President Bush's ranch Saturday in Crawford, Texas.

A bus transporting wedding attendees and guests arrives at the security checkpoint for President Bush's ranch Saturday in Crawford, Texas.

May 11, 2008

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— Jenna Bush couldn't see herself getting married at the White House surrounded by antique furniture and oil portraits of presidents. She and Henry Hager said "I do" Saturday at President Bush's ranch in Crawford where the corn is thigh-high, roads are named Cattle Drive and the Texas flag is painted on the rooftops of barns.

The president and the bride picked "You Are So Beautiful" for their father-daughter dance, according to band leader Tyrone Smith of Nashville, Tenn. Smith and his 10-piece party band, The Tyrone Smith Revue, was asked to do "Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes" by Taj Mahal for the newlyweds' first dance. Smith, who promised the couple a "get down" party, talked to The Associated Press earlier in the week on condition that the information not be released before the wedding.

Smith, who witnessed the wedding ceremony, said afterward the groom was dressed in a dark blue suit with powder-blue tie and the bride wore a "very simple and elegant" white dress, but did not wear a veil.

Smith said Jenna Bush's paternal grandparents, President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, spoke during the wedding, though he could not hear their comments.

Away from the glare of television cameras that have beamed other first family weddings into American living rooms, Jenna's outdoor wedding at the ranch reflected her family's penchant for privacy and her preference for the casual over grandiose.

Even without the prying eyes of strangers, Jenna's marriage to her longtime boyfriend Henry Hager made presidential history. It will be remembered as an upbeat moment of Bush's two-term presidency beset by terrorism, war and the nation's current limp economy.

"This is a joyous occasion for our family, as we celebrate the happy life ahead of her and her husband, Henry," Bush said in his Saturday radio address. "It's also a special time for Laura who this Mother's Day weekend will watch a young woman we raised together walk down the aisle."

Jenna, 26, is the 22nd child of a president to get married while their father was in the Oval Office. Their ceremonies have ranged from Tricia Nixon's extravagant wedding broadcast live from the Rose Garden in 1971 to the 1992 Camp David wedding of Jenna's aunt, Dorothy Koch. That one was kept so secret that the press didn't find out about it until it was over.

"All of them are different. This one really reflects the personality of both Jenna and the George W. Bush family," said Doug Wead, a former aide to President George H.W. Bush and author of a book on presidents' kin.

"If they'd have gone on TV, the wedding would have been shown all over the world and Jenna Bush would have been an international celebrity - and she would have been a target. They're preparing the transition to private life, and they're not particularly interested in seeing Jenna Bush become a huge celebrity."

The media was not invited, but Jenna's wedding will be closely scrutinized - down to the matte beading and embroidery on her white Oscar de la Renta gown.

"The wedding details will be reported on for generations, influencing both present-day and future brides-to-be," says Millie Martin Bratten, editor-in-chief of BRIDES magazine and student of first family weddings.

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