George W. Bush Revealed His Soft Side in Wedding Toast to Daughter Barbara

Barbara Bush’s wedding to Craig Coyne was followed by a touching toast from her father, former President George W. Bush.

Although her father, the 43rd president, nearly ruined her engagement by letting the news slip too soon, he more than made up for it after Barbara said “I do” in an intimate ceremony in Kennebunkport, Maine on Sunday. At the small wedding reception that followed the ceremony, which was attended by only 20 members of the family, the former president revealed his softer side during his toast to the newlyweds.

“As I was thinking about this toast in my studio, I was looking at the portrait I made of Barbara,” he said, according to PEOPLE. “I painted a beauty with dazzling blue eyes. In those eyes, I painted a compassionate soul who cares deeply about the less fortunate. I painted a woman who is daring and adventuresome — a woman who has fierce determination to make a positive contribution to mankind. I painted a kind friend and a highly intelligent person. I painted a loving person who loves man and cat alike. But most of all, I painted a woman who I love and for whom I have such great pride.”

Barbara’s father wasn’t the only family member to give a touching toast following the ceremony. The former first daughter’s sister, Jenna Bush Hager, who served as her maid of honor on the big day, gave a moving speech at the reception that include a special tribute to their grandfather and grandmother.

“I just told her and everybody how much she means to me. But I ended actually with a letter my grandfather wrote to my grandmother,” Hager told her Today colleagues. “Because I searched all the romantics and Shakespeare just wasn’t doing it. He was sitting right next to me as I read it.”


Barbara’s journey to her big day touted many moments calling back to her grandfather and grandmother’s love story. In fact, Coyne popped the question during an Oceanside stroll behind the family’s Maine house in August, the exact place where former President George H.W. Bush had asked former First Lady Barbara Bush to marry him almost exactly 75 years prior.

Paying tribute to her late grandmother, who passed away in April at the age of 92, Barbara’s “something borrowed” was the bracelet that her grandfather had given her grandmother on their 70th anniversary. She paired the accessory with her custom ivory silk crepe Vera Wang gown, with her “something blue” being earrings from her sister.