Courtesy of The White House
As the First Family revs up for Jenna Bush and Henry Hager's nuptials this weekend, we sat down with Doug Wead, author of "All the Presidents' Children" and former Special Assistant to President George Bush Senior to learn the history behind the weddings of first daughters and find out what is on hand for Jenna's big day.
The first rule in planning a White House wedding is that there are no rules. The first child to be married in the White House was Maria Monroe in 1820. Elizabeth Tyler invited Monroe to her White House wedding 22 years later, thus starting a long tradition that went strong until it was broken by the Wilson daughters when they got married in 1913 and 1914.
If the tradition were to be kept, then Tricia Nixon would be invited down to the Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch where Jenna Bush will be having her wedding, but Doug Wead doesn't think that will happen. "If the wedding were being held in the White House then maybe the pressure to keep the tradition going would be strong enough to yield an invite, but if she showed up in Crawford I would be real surprised," says Wead who will be covering Jenna's wedding from Texas for the Today show.
Good news for Jenna though. According to Wead, statistics show that the marriages of children of less popular presidents last longer than those of children of more well-liked presidents. Possibly because marrying into a thriving family can be very alluring, and might be done for the wrong reasons, while joining a less popular family is more likely to be for love.
As for the wedding details, Wead says that the Bush's will of course have the best in the country available to them, and the president and first lady are very indulgent of their children—but he also added that the Bush family is very private and understated, and especially in a time of terrorism and celebrity obsession, the First Family may try to make the affair as quiet as possible.
Jenna Bush knows a thing or two about breaking rules, so it seems we will have to wait and see what exactly her nuptials will entail—although we can be almost certain it is going to be one of the best American weddings of the year. Stay tuned for more details. —Cari Wolfert