5 Things You Need to Know About Craig Coyne, Who Just Married George W. Bush’s Daughter Barbara — Again!
"It's been a very sweet romance," Barbara told PEOPLE of her husband, whom she met on a blind date
Barbara Pierce Bush, the eldest twin daughter of former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, tied the knot with the screenwriter on Oct. 7 during an intimate ceremony held at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Barbara, 37, told PEOPLE that the ceremony, held in the backyard overlooking the ocean, was “very short” and “sweet,” with 20 family members from both the bride and groom looking on.
Also present for the happy day were former President Bush and Mrs. Bush, both 72, as well as Barbara’s twin sister, Jenna Bush Hager, and former President George H. W. Bush, Barbara’s grandfather, who passed away at 94 a few weeks later.
The nuptials came as a surprise to many, as Barbara and Coyne kept their 11-month relationship secret from all but some family and friends.
“We got engaged in Maine [in August] and that night had dinner with our family. And it’s so beautiful here. And it’s so simple here. And it’s everything I love, that inspires me, in terms of nature and family and love, and same for Craig,” Barbara told PEOPLE a few days before her wedding. “We just thought, Let’s try to do it soon.”
Here’s what you need to know about Coyne.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Throughout his career, Coyne — who hails from Atlanta — has acted in several films, such as the 2005 hit Jarhead, as well as independent films such as Look at Me and The Showtown Murders.
Coyne, who shifted his focus toward writing, previously sold a live-action half-hour program to Comedy Central called Doin’ Good, according to his agent’s website. He also created, wrote and directed an original Funny or Die series, Ask Play.
In a fateful if unintended nod to his future wife’s family, Coyne briefly worked in politics before moving to Los Angeles.
After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he served as a page in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to his agent’s website.
Blind Date Beginnings
Barbara and Coyne were set up by friends on a blind date in November 2017 — and Barbara’s sister was along for the ride.
“My friend knew his friend, so it was very blind,” Barbara told PEOPLE last year. Coyne had originally intended on taking her out in New York City but she was unavailable. Instead, they met up at her hotel bar while she was in Atlanta for her book tour. Jenna, her publicist and two friends joined them.
“It was a group first date, and they tried to give us our space but we were all seated at the same table. But it was so blind that I didn’t know what he looked like,” Barbara recalled in October. “And so I went up to two guys before him in the lobby, asking if they were him. And then, luckily, a really handsome guy walked in, and I thought, ‘Please, maybe this one will be him.’ And it was him. And so that was our first date, and he rolled with it.”
About a month after being set up by friends, the pair decided to make things official in time for New Year’s Eve.
Friend and author Emily Giffin, who is based in Atlanta, later shared a photo of the two on that first blind date. “So giddy that I have a photo from the night they met!!!” Giffin wrote on Instagram.
“I told them they needed to get a quick snapshot ‘just in case you end up getting married.’ And they DID!!! Ahhhh!!!” she added. “Here’s to forever!!!!”
For much of their relationship before marrying, the couple lived on opposite sides of the country.
“It’s just been a very sweet romance,” Barbara told PEOPLE. “And we’ve been long-distance for most of it — he’s been in L.A. and I’ve been in New York — but we’ve gotten to spend a lot of time together.”
On the same week they tied the knot, Coyne moved to Manhattan to begin his new life with Barbara.
“This has been a whirlwind,” she told PEOPLE.
In what may just be the sweetest detail of the couple’s love story, Coyne proposed on Aug. 25 in the exact same spot where Barbara’s grandparents got engaged 75 years earlier. During a family gathering at Kennebunkport, she and Coyne were walking together on the rocks when he got down on one knee.
Those family connections were felt at their Maine wedding as well.
For her wedding just outside the Bush home on Walker’s Point, Barbara accessorized her custom Vera Wang gown of ivory silk crepe with “something borrowed”: a bracelet that her grandfather had given grandmother Barbara Bush, her namesake, a few years earlier.
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A Family Affair
Of course, Barbara wasn’t the only one to want her family by her on their big day.
Coyne’s brother, Edward Coyne III, served as the best man during the wedding. Mom Darlene and sister Katie each gave a reading during the private ceremony and niece Emma joined Jenna’s daughters, Margaret and Poppy, as flower girls.
While Barbara’s grandmother had passed away six months before her wedding, Mrs. Bush was not absent from the special occasion.
“The second that it was announced that we were husband and wife, it started to rain,” Barbara later recalled on the Today show. “I thought, ‘That’s my grandmother. She’s with us, too.’ “
“Probably one reason that this is how we’ve approached it is because of the passing of my grandmother this year, and that feeling unexpected,” Barbara told PEOPLE in October.
“Doing as much as we can, while we have the time with people we love right now, is what’s most important,” she said.
• Reporting by SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL