“Our little girl, Jenna, married a really good guy, Henry Hager,” Mr. Bush said, standing next to first lady Laura Bush at an airport in Waco, where he boarded Air Force One for his flight back to Washington. “The wedding was spectacular. It’s just — it’s all we could have hoped for.”
Unlike other first family weddings that have been broadcast live, the Bushes didn’t share their daughter’s nuptials with the nation. The day after, they briefly shared their joy.
“The weather cooperated nicely,” Mr. Bush said about the wedding at his 1,600-acre Texas ranch. “Just as the vows were exchanged, the sun set over our lake and it was just a special day and a wonderful day and we’re mighty blessed.”
A reporter asked the president whether he had been up late partying. Mr. Bush winked, then turned toward the plane, ignoring a second question about whether the wedding had given the slumping U.S. economy a boost.
In recent days, the White House has dribbled out details about the bride’s dress, the ring, the wedding attire and pre-wedding events. It was part of a carefully orchestrated communications strategy to disclose bits of information but keep the wedding from becoming a media circus.
Former President George H.W. Bush, who did a reading during the ceremony with former first lady Barbara Bush, moseyed back to the press section of the plane, but wouldn’t dish. He said he dutifully replied “Yes, sir!” when he was told not to disclose details.
The post-wedding party involved more than 200 family members and friends who were entertained by the Tyrone Smith Revue, a 10-piece party band from Nashville, Tenn. The musicians gave the newlyweds what Mr. Smith described as a “get down” party.
The bride and groom were reared in Republican families, but this was a bipartisan ceremony.
Officiating was the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, an influential minister from Houston and longtime spiritual adviser to the president, who has endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.
As the nuptials drew near on Saturday, tour buses loaded with wedding guests began rolling through downtown Crawford, past souvenir stores that earlier in the day had sold out of Jenna and Henry coffee mugs and computer mouse pads. An 18-foot rusty metal sculpture of an angel, a gift to the town after Mr. Bush’s re-election, was adorned with a white veil and bouquet of white flowers. Plastic geese ornaments on a lawn were dressed up with white knit hats and draped in tulle.
Wedding events were so closely held that even the chef who prepared the rehearsal dinner Friday night in a nearby town didn’t find out that he was working on the first daughter’s wedding until late Thursday night.