The fight song for the University of Texas – Jenna Bush’s alma mater – rang out accompanied by cheers through the quaint streets of Salado, Texas, Friday night, as the president’s daughter and fiancé Henry Hager celebrated at a rehearsal dinner and “Texas-sized” afterparty with their families and wedding guests.
The Secret Service closed down streets in Salado, about 50 miles south of President Bush’s ranch, where Jenna and Henry were to be wed at a lakeside evening ceremony Saturday night.
A source at the ranch tells PEOPLE that Friday was “low-key,” with no real frenzy of last-minute party planning. To wit, the bride spent all of Friday in Salado with her mother, First Lady Laura Bush, twin sister (and maid of honor) Barbara, and some two dozen girlfriends.
The group, most of them toting garment bags, lingered over a bridal luncheon at the Inn on the Creek before getting ready for the evening festivities, the rehearsal dinner – which doubled as a big 30th birthday party for Henry – hosted by the Hager family at the Old Salado Springs Celebration Center.
After that came the “Texas-Size Celebration” at the Salado Silver Spur Theater. All of the 200 or so wedding guests were invited to the party with a “Texas chic” dress code.
About 150 locals and tourists – some holding “W ’08” signs, others with American flags – lined the Salado streets, hoping for a glimpse of President Bush and the wedding party. One woman who said she spotted Jenna earlier in the day was nervous about giving her name to a reporter, given all the Bush family’s insistence upon keeping the nuptial celebrations private.
“Jenna looked at us … she was SO close, and smiled that beautiful smile,” the woman told PEOPLE. “We wanted to tell her congratulations, but we were afraid the Secret Service would come after us or something.”
Around 9 p.m., the UT fight song could be heard, along with raucous cheering. By 9:38, the president, an early-to-bed guy, was ready to call it a night and directed his motorcade home to Prairie Chapel Ranch.