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Bush: Jenna's wedding was 'spectacular'

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: President Bush says wedding was "all we could have hoped for"
  • Bush's daughter Jenna married Henry Hager on Saturday
  • More than 200 guests invited to ceremony on Bush ranch near Crawford, Texas
  • Jenna's sister, Barbara, was maid of honor
  • Next Article in Politics »
From Elaine Quijano
CNN White House Correspondent
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CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- Against the backdrop of a stunning Texas sunset, near a lake on the Bush family's 1,600-acre ranch, President Bush walked his daughter, Jenna, down the aisle to her groom, the White House said.

Jenna Bush and Henry Hager say "I do" on Saturday. "We're mighty blessed," President Bush said.

Jenna, 26, married Henry Hager, the son of a well-connected Virginia Republican.

"The wedding was spectacular. It was all we could have hoped for," the president said Sunday before boarding Air Force One.

"We're mighty blessed." Video Watch scenes from the wedding »

Wearing a white silk organza Oscar de la Renta gown, the bride stood with the groom before a beige-colored cross and altar made of Texas limestone. Photo See pictures from the wedding »

The White House declined to release many details of the festivities, citing the family's wish for privacy.

Bush family friend Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Houston officiated as the couple exchanged wedding vows in front of some 200 family members and friends.

Bush said the sun set over the lake as his daughter and Hager exchanged vows. More wedding details »

The guests arrived in five coach buses and were waved through the ranch's checkpoint around 7 p.m.

The decor and the wedding party -- known in Texas as the "house party" -- were dressed in colors that reflected the hues of the landscape, including native Texas wildflowers: greens, blues, yellows and lavenders, the White House said.

Wedding facts

  • Bride: Jenna Welch Bush
  • Groom: Henry Chase Hager
  • Place: President Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch, Crawford, Texas
  • Guests: More than 200 friends and relatives
  • Attendants: 14 women known as members of the "house party," not bridesmaids
  • Bride's gown designer: Oscar de la Renta
  • Ring: The diamond, a Hager family heirloom, reset in a ring that also features sapphires
  • Maid of Honor: Jenna's twin sister, Barbara
  • Ceremony site: At a cross made of beige Texas limestone erected near a lake on the ranch
  • Engagement: August 15, 2007, at Acadia National Park in Maine
  • Source: The Associated Press

    Jenna's 14 women attendants wore chiffon dresses by Dallas designer Lela Rose, while the 14 men wore suits and light blue ties.

    Afterwards, under a tent nestled in a thick cluster of trees, the celebration included dinner and dancing to the music of the Motown-style band, the Tyrone Smith Review, the White House said.

    A CNN camera crew positioned miles from the wedding site saw a glimpse of the white tent, illuminated with what appeared to be strings of lights hanging from the ceiling.

    The president and the bride picked "You Are So Beautiful" for their father-daughter dance, band leader Tyrone Smith of Nashville, Tennessee. told The Associated Press. 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 witnessed the wedding ceremony, told AP 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.

    The AP reported the festivities began Friday with a bridal lunch, rehearsal dinner and post-rehearsal dinner celebration in Salado, a tiny tourist village, which used to be a stagecoach stop. Jenna, her sister and the first lady were in Salado, more than an hour's drive south of Crawford, all day Friday and the president arrived in the evening by motorcade.

    "I had to face some very difficult spending decisions, and I've had to conduct sensitive diplomacy. That's called planning for a wedding," Bush told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on March 12.

    Don't Miss

    Jenna Bush told CNN's Larry King on April 24 that the wedding would include "all relatives, our families, really, kind of big. So it's half-family and then half very close friends."

    Not all of her friends were expected to be on hand though.

    "The only information that I've received is that there are a number of Jenna's close friends who are not being invited to this wedding because, according to them, she would be afraid of their behavior," Doug Wead said.

    Wead is a former aide to President George H.W. Bush and author of "All the Presidents' Children."

    He says that unlike the pageantry of White House weddings past, such as Tricia Nixon's in 1971, the Texas ceremony would take place away from the media spotlight.

    "The Bushes are very private. It's a time of war; it's at a time of economic struggle. ... And this president has high negatives right now. ... It's much more of a low-key event," Wead said. Video Listen to President Bush's radio address on his daughter's wedding »

    Wead said another consideration for the wedding's location is "they know that they don't own the White House, that they can't go back.

    "It will belong to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or John McCain. ... But [Jenna and Henry] will always have Crawford. They won't even maybe have Kennebunkport; that hasn't been decided yet. ... But Crawford, Jenna and Henry can walk through the moonlight and hold hands and say, 'This is where we were married,' and it will always be theirs," Wead added.

    The first lady's office kept a tight lid on specifics. But the bride did reveal dress details to Vogue magazine, describing her gown as an Oscar de la Renta creation made of organza with embroidery and beading. Video Watch as the first lady details the wedding plans »


    Earlier this month, first lady Laura Bush already started joking about names for possible grandchildren.

    "George or Georgia ... Georgina. Georgette," she said.

    Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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