Monday, May 12, 2008
Jenna Bush Weds Longtime Boyfriend In Texas
It's official: Jenna Welch Bush wed Henry Chase Hager Saturday – making her the first daughter of a sitting United States president to marry in 16 years. The pair exchanged vows just before sundown in a lakeside ceremony threatened by a tornado watch at President Bush's secluded 1,600-acre Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas.
Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, of the Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, presided over the "I do's" before a 4-foot limestone cross and altar that were the president's idea for the occasion and will stand as a permanent landmark on the Bushes' property.
"This is a joyous occasion for our family, as we celebrate the happy life ahead of (Jenna) and her husband, Henry," the president said in his weekly radio broadcast Saturday morning. "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."
A source at the ranch told PEOPLE that the president alone, in traditional style, was escorting the bride to the altar. A White House spokeswoman said she did not know if Jenna planned to take the name Hager as her own. Dinner and dancing for the 200 guests – including family and only the closest of friends, including longtime presidential advisers Karl Rove and Karen Hughes – were being held under tents.
Jenna, 26, in an embroidered organza Oscar de la Renta gown, was attended by twin sister Barbara, the maid of honor, who wore a dress of moonstone blue shimmer with a silver sash. De la Renta, a close friend of the family, also designed First Lady Laura Bush's deep turquoise "mother-of-the-bride" gown.
White House spokeswoman Sally McDonough said the colors – from the dresses to the décor – were selected to mirror the "very natural" colors of the central Texas landscape: the blues of the lake where Bush fishes for bass, the greens of Mrs. Bush's prized buffalo grass (native grass that she restored to the property) and the lavendar, yellow and blue of the wildflowers.
Henry's brother, John, stood as Best Man. In keeping with Jenna's desire for an "organic and natural" feel to the wedding, the men dressed in suits – not black tie. And dancing was accompanied not by a fussy orchestra, but by Nashville-based wedding singer Tyrone Smith, otherwise known as Super T and a favorite at Southern frat parties.