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Published: Sunday, 5/11/2008

President Bush's daughter gets married in secluded ceremony

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Buses transport wedding guests across the wide Texas scenery to the ranch of President Bush and his family in Crawford. Buses transport wedding guests across the wide Texas scenery to the ranch of President Bush and his family in Crawford.
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CRAWFORD, Texas - 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" last evening at President Bush's ranch in Crawford where the corn is thigh-high 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, band leader Tyrone Smith of Nashville said.

Mr. 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.

The bride, Jenna Bush.
The bride, Jenna Bush.
J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE / AP Enlarge

Mr. 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.

Mr. Smith said Jenna Bush's paternal grandparents, President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, spoke during the wedding.

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

"This is a joyous occasion for our family, as we celebrate the happy life ahead of her and her husband, Henry," Mr. Bush said yesterday in his weekly 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."

The newlywed, 26, is the 22nd child of a president to get married while his or her father was in the Oval Office.

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.

Jenna's twin sister, Barbara, was maid of honor and 14 other women were in her "house party." Grandmother Barbara Bush wore a long, moonstone blue dress with a low-cut back. The women in the "house party" wore seven styles of knee-length dresses in seven colors that match the palette of Texas wildflowers - blues, greens, lavenders, and pinky reds.

The best man was the groom's brother, John "Jack" Hager. Also part of the "house party" were 14 ushers, who walked with the 14 women down the aisle to their seats, but did not participate in the ceremony.

More than 200 family and friends converged here for the nuptials on the 1,600-acre ranch where a tent was erected for the post-ceremony dinner and dancing.

The ceremony began about a half hour or so before sunset. The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston officiated.

The groom's father, John Hager, is the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party and is former lieutenant governor of Virginia and former U.S. assistant secretary of education. Henry Hager met his bride during her father's 2004 re-election campaign.

He graduated from Wake Forest University and worked as an aide to Mr. Bush's former top political adviser Karl Rove.

After the wedding, the couple are rumored to be honeymooning in Europe, although the White House would not comment.

After that, they plan to live in a two-bedroom, two-bath town house on the south side of Baltimore. She plans to return to teaching and he will work for Constellation Energy, a power supplier based in Maryland.



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