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Jenna Bush Wedding at the White House

Friday, 17 August 2007 12:00 AM

Jenna Bush is making headlines after announcing her plans to wed former presidential aide Henry Hager.

The wedding promises to be a spectacular event, bringing together society, power, and politics.

Doug Wead, editor of White House Weddings (www.whitehouseweddings.com) and author of The New York Times best seller "All the Presidents' Children," spoke to NewsMax about the momentous occasion.

Wead: Well, the Bush family will try to keep it under control, but if history is any judge, it will be huge. There has never been a White House wedding during the age of cable television. The cable networks will end up in a major fight to own this story.

To give you an idea, the White House wedding of Alice Roosevelt took up the entire front page of The Washington Post — every column — and a song about her was the No. 1 hit in the country, and they named a color after her.

Wead: Only finding Osama bin Laden could do more. As the wedding approaches, the popularity ratings of the Bush family will soar. Women will follow this story and they are some of the most disenchanted by the War in Iraq. They will see the president as a father — and a good one at that — and it will give him a reprieve in the popularity polls.

The Tricia Nixon wedding was one of the most treasured moments in the Nixon White House.

Wead: Well, nine presidential children have been married in the White House, but all together there have been 17, including one president, Grover Cleveland. Two other presidents were married outside the White House during their time in office, John Tyler and Woodrow Wilson.

Tyler's wedding took place in New York City to a bride 30 years his junior and she became the first lady for the last eight months of his presidency.

Wead: Usually, but many have been married outside the White House during their father's presidency and some of these were spectacular social events. Fanny Hayes was married in Ohio; her father, President Hayes, had died but the sitting president William McKinley was in attendance, as well as his Cabinet. All came in on the president's train.

The wedding of Luci Baines Johnson was a national social event, even though it took place at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. And the small, private wedding of Julie Nixon, shortly after her own father had won the presidency, to Dwight David Eisenhower II, himself the grandson and namesake of a president, prompted widespread public interest and curiosity.

Dorothy Bush, daughter and sister to two presidents was the only presidential child married at Camp David.

Wead: Very common, like the rest of us, they marry whomever is around. Presidential sons and daughters have fallen in love with White House or congressional staffers and, in more recent times, military aides or secret service agents assigned to protect them.

Eleanor "Nellie" Wilson married Secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo, thus overnight becoming a Cabinet officer's wife in her father's own administration. You can understand how that became a huge story. Dorothy Bush, who is both a daughter and sister of a president, married a congressional aide of the opposing political party.

Wead: Very much. It's hard to trust newcomers into the power orbit. What are their motives? Quite a few of the earlier presidential children from Maria Hester Monroe to Betsy Harrison married their own first cousins.

President Grant came into the White House with a beautiful teenage daughter, determined to keep her away from the boys, so he sent her to Europe. She fell in love with an English aristocrat onboard the ship.

In fact there were two presidential daughters who fell in love on ocean cruises while their father served in office. Both had spectacular weddings and both husbands turned out to be womanizers and alcoholics.

Wead: Oh yes; it is very complicated, a convergence of society, power, and politics. One interesting tradition holds that you must invite the last bride of the last White House wedding, thus Maria Monroe was at the wedding of Elizabeth Tyler who attended the wedding of Nellie Grant who attended the wedding of Alice Roosevelt who attended the wedding of Tricia Nixon.

Lynda Bird Johnson was missed. So expect to see Tricia Nixon invited to the Jenna Bush wedding or see the chain broken.

Wead: Well, the first White House wedding was marred by murder. And the second was very complex. John Adams II was married in a private ceremony in what is now called the Blue Room of the White House. His two brothers were in love with the same girl and refused to come. One had also been engaged to the bride and he committed suicide six months after the wedding.

But most of these stories are examples of love transcending power and greed. They are truly romantic love stories but yes, very complex.

For more interesting facts on the wedding, visit


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Jenna Bush is making headlines after announcing her plans to wed former presidential aide Henry Hager. The wedding promises to be a spectacular event, bringing together society, power, and politics. Doug Wead, editor of White House...
Friday, 17 August 2007 12:00 AM
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