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President Bush's Personal Recession: Jenna's Wedding

While President Bush acknowledged Tuesday that Americans are experiencing "very difficult economic times," he failed to mention his biggest personal financial woe: daughter Jenna's pending nuptials to fiancé Henry Hager.

Henry Hager and Jenna Bush. (White House Photo)

The cost of the first twin's wedding has become such a running joke at the White House that Fred Fielding, counsel to the president, recently gave Bush a piggy bank to help him save up for Jenna's May 10 wedding at the family's ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Fielding, a former father-of-the-bride who feels the president's pain, tells the Sleuth Bush thanked him for the piggy bank but joked, "Not big enough."

Poor Dad. The wedding would have cost him a lot less, of course, had Jenna decided to have it (on taxpayer-funded property) at the White House. Instead, she opted for a more intimate (200 people) and informal wedding on the ranch.

It'll cost many, probably tens of, thousands of dollars just for the bride's organza gown, which is being designed by Oscar de la Renta (read more on that from Vogue magazine), and for the short chiffon dresses that will be worn by the 14 attendants in her house party. Not to mention the food, the booze, the band, the flowers, accommodations, and everything else that goes into the making of a wedding fit for a president's daughter and the son of one of Richmond's oldest and most affluent families.

Fielding says he wasn't invited to the wedding. Few administration officials were. And the White House, in typical fashion, is not divulging any information about the wedding or the guest list, other than to say the event is "private."

"It is not to be a media event," says Sally McDonough, spokeswoman for first lady Laura Bush. (For the record: the Sleuth didn't ask to cover the wedding.)

McDonough wouldn't even say whether Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, were invited. And Cheney's spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride, wouldn't cough up any information either.

The Sleuth hears from good sources in the know that the wedding list was capped at first cousins. None of this "Hi, I'm the second-cousin-twice-removed-of-the-groom" business at the wedding.

But many of the family members and friends who didn't make the cut for Jenna and Henry's big day on May 10 will still get a chance to celebrate -- at the White House, no less!

Our sources say a White House celebration in honor of the couple is planned for the weekend of June 20. The Sleuth anxiously awaits an invitation... we'll let you know what happens.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  April 29, 2008; 5:45 PM ET
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