Former President George W. Bush may not have been a wedding crasher, but he nearly ruined his daughter Barbara Bush’s engagement.
Although the former first daughter’s wedding went off without a hitch, her father, the 43rd president, was “so excited” after his now son-in-law asked him for Barbara’s hand in marriage that he let the news slip to several close friends and relatives.
“Craig asked my dad for my hand in marriage, and my dad got so excited that he told everybody we were engaged, but we actually had not gotten engaged yet,” Barbara told PEOPLE.
“They had a really long, wonderful talk for 45 minutes,” she said, adding that her father and Coyne talked “about spirituality, and children, and all sorts of bigger-picture life things.”
“I started receiving texts messages from people congratulating me on the engagement,” she continued. “Then, in slow motion, 20 minutes later, I would receive a text message from that person saying, ‘Oops, sorry! I meant to send that to somebody else.’ And so I had a suspicion we would get engaged.”
Coyne eventually dropped to one knee in the same spot – on oceanside rocks behind the Bush family’s Maine house — where Barbara’s grandparents got engaged in in August 1943, almost exactly 75 years earlier.
“I didn’t know Craig had found out the history. Of course, I cried — and our cousins were spying from the windows taking pictures,” the former first daughter said.
Flash-forward five weeks, and the newly engaged couple were saying “I do” in an intimate ceremony in Kennebunkport, Maine on Sunday attended by 20 close family members, including the former president that almost ruined the surprise engagement, Barbara’s mother, former First Lady Laura Bush, her sister, Jenna Bush Hager, and former President George H.W. Bush.
The couple had decided to keep their engagement short to ensure that Barbara’s grandfather, who is 94-years-old and experienced a health scare in May, would be able to attend.
“He’s great — totally with it. He is, of course, 94 years old and misses my grandmother. We just thought, let’s try to do [the wedding] soon — a small wedding with just our family and my grandfather, here,” Barbara said. “That’s the one thing about waiting. You can have this great career and this great life. But, of course, the older you get, you lose people that you love.”
Barbara walked down the aisle wearing a custom ivory silk crepe Vera Wang gown. She paid tribute to her late grandmother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, by wearing a bracelet that her grandfather had given her on their 70th anniversary.