Latest News

Low-key, outdoor wedding for a president’s daughter

As one of the biggest events to hit Crawford looms — the wedding of President Bush’s daughter Jenna — area residents say they are trying to respect the first daughter’s wishes for a private wedding.

Jenna Bush bypassed a White House wedding in favor of the Crawford ranch, known as the Western White House, for her May 10 nuptials to Henry Hager.

“I was raised in Texas and it just felt right,” Jenna Bush said in an advance copy of Vogue obtained by The Washington Post. “It means a lot to Henry and me to be outdoors.

“We wanted something organic and low-key.”

Talk about the wedding is picking up in nearby McGregor and Waco as the big day gets closer, but many say they don’t want to intrude on the couple or their families.

“I think most of the people in a little area like this feel this is a private moment for them,” said Jane Cain, with the Weston Inn Suites & RV Park in McGregor. “We’re just waiting to see what happens.”

About 200 guests are expected for the wedding, Vogue reports, which will take place about 7:30 p.m., followed by dinner and dancing outside under a tent.

“It’s such an honor that the president’s daughter chose to get married in our county,” said Lesly Rascoe, vice president of communications for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. “It’s nice to have this very special, intimate family event here.”

The White House declined to release details about the wedding, but Women’s Wear Daily reported that Jenna Bush will wear a “simple and elegant” Oscar de la Renta gown — organza with embroidery, matte beading and a small train. No drawings will be released before the wedding to make sure the groom-to-be won’t see it.

Her bridesmaid will be twin sister Barbara, who will wear a “moonstone-colored shimmery gown” with a low-cut back. A house party of 14 attendants will wear knee-length chiffon dresses of lavender, blue, yellow or green, intended to resemble the colors of Texas wildflowers, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

The dresses were designed by Texas native Lela Rose, whose father, Rusty, was George W. Bush’s business partner with the Texas Rangers in the days before Bush sought political office.

Locals say they’ve heard that Dallas caterer Eddie Deen, who provided food for Bush gubernatorial and presidential inaugural events, will be in charge of food for the wedding and that White House florists will handle the flowers.

Local florist Kathy Sommerkamp, who has prepared arrangements for the Bush family, said her shop will be open May 10 if any last-minute needs arise.

“We’re glad she’s having it here,” said Sommerkamp, of Hewitt Florist. “The bluebonnets are out, and it will be a beautiful wedding.”

Waco restaurateur Sammy Citrano, owner of George’s near Baylor, said he probably will provide food for the White House press corps and some White House staff members.

“We don’t have anything to do with the wedding — that’s big time,” Citrano said. “When you’re talking about the president’s daughter’s wedding, they are going to be very, very picky.”

Privacy is key at the Bushes’ 1,600-acre ranch, where access is restricted when the president is in residence.

The ranch’s location, about 25 miles west of Waco, means visitors will drive in or fly to the nearby industrial air park once known as Waco Army Air Field.

So far, the wedding doesn’t appear to have affected Waco much.

There, hotels are about 70 percent booked despite the wedding and an annual conference of the Texas Technology Students Association that wraps up that day. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Central Texas is no longer scheduled for May 10. Officials moved it up a week to avoid conflicts with the conference and an American Heart Association fundraiser.

Kurt Krakowian, public relations chairman for the Central Texas race, wanted to have it during the Bush wedding because Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and a friend of Laura Bush’s, would have been in town for the wedding. “It would have been a great honor to have her at the race. But it just didn’t work out.”