Texas: U.S. President George W. Bush on Sunday declared the down-home Texas wedding of his daughter, held on his ranch and far from the prying Washington press corps, a “spectacular” affair.
“Our little girl, Jenna, married a really good guy, Henry Hager,” Bush told reporters with wife Laura at his side. “The wedding was spectacular, all we could have hoped for,” said the president before boarding Air Force One.
The outdoor ceremony was held at Bush’s 1,600-acre (650-hectare) Prairie Chapel Ranch, far from the pomp and publicity of the White House. Jenna, 26, and Henry, 30, were married on Saturday evening before some 200 relatives and friends -- including former president George Bush and wife Barbara -- in front of a cream-colored Texas limestone cross that the president had erected near a lake on the ranch.
Bush beamed as he offered brief comments about the wedding, the details of which were held close to the chest by the White House in recent weeks as the president and his wife prepared their first wedding for one of their daughters.
“The weather cooperated nicely and just as the vows were exchanged the sun set over our lake,” he said, adding “we’re mighty blessed.”
Jenna’s twin sister Barbara was her maid of honoyr and Hager’s brother Jack was best man. They were attended by 14 young female attendants and 14 male ushers.
In photographs released by the White House , the bride looked resplendent in an elegant hip-hugging Oscar de la Renta white gown with matte beading and embroidery.
The ring was a Hager family heirloom reset with sapphires, according to Laura Bush’s press secretary, Sally McDonough. A Houston minister, Kirbyjon Caldwell, officiated. Caldwell recently announced he was supporting Democratic Senator Barack Obama, a fierce Bush critic, for president in the November election.
A reception on the grounds followed, with the newlyweds cutting the four-layer wedding cake under a broad white tent. Far from the pomp of past White House nuptials, Jenna wed Henry wed less than a year after he proposed at dawn atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park on Maine’s coast.
Hager, who is set to receive his business degree in a few weeks, met Jenna during the president’s 2004 reelection and worked as an aide to Bush’s since-departed political guru, Karl Rove.
McDonough declined to confirm that the newlyweds would honeymoon in Europe before settling down in Baltimore, about 45 minutes drive from Washington and the most powerful father- and mother-in-law in the world.
“Neither one of us are nervous,” Laura Bush said Monday. “It’s a very interesting passage of life when you get to that time when your first child is getting married. And we’re getting, for us, our first son.”
Tiny Crawford -- population 751 -- was mesmerized by the wedding. Best wishes messages could be seen at a local church as well as some of the town’s souvenir shops, which were making the most of the attention, selling 11-dollar computer mousepads and 10-dollar coffee mugs adorned with the happy couple’s picture.