Why Barbara Pierce Bush Had a Second Wedding 6 Months After Her First Ceremony

Barbara Pierce Bush and Craig Coyne threw a "big party" this weekend in Texas to celebrate their wedding with friends some six months after their surprise nuptials

Photo: Courtesy Bush Family

Barbara Pierce Bush‘s first wedding ceremony with husband Craig Coyne, last October, was a tight-knit family affair held just five weeks after their engagement — a rush, she told PEOPLE at the time, to ensure her grandfather George H. W. Bush could attend. (He passed away weeks later.)

“While traditionally we would have had a wedding in several months and taken a lot more time to plan, it’s all more pressing and more important to do it when we know that he is still with us,” Barbara said in an October interview days before she wed in front of 20 people.

Last weekend, some six months after those intimate secret nuptials and after her family had time to mourn her grandfather’s passing, Barbara and Coyne held another ceremony in Texas. This one, too, they kept hush-hush — at least for a bit.

“Barbara wanted to keep it pretty quiet,” a source tells PEOPLE, noting, “I don’t think they realized people would post about it.” (“She keeps a very low profile, and she has always been that way,” the source says.)

Indeed, while the Bushes are keeping mum about the ceremony, various guest and wedding staffers broke the news of the special day on social media — including posting photos of President George W. Bush, Barbara’s dad, in attendance.

According to the posts, the wedding appears to have been held at the Bush family’s ranch in Crawford. Among the 100-plus guests on Saturday, Page Six reported, were actress Megan Ferguson, T Magazine editor Isabel Wilkinson and fashion executive Alyssa Zachary. (A Bush family spokesman declined to comment.)

“My dearest friend, the gorgeous BB got married this weekend and we danced the nights away,” designer Prabal Gurung wrote on Instagram along with a photo of him and Barbara. “Love you B, congratulations to you and Craig.”

Of their second wedding, a source previously told PEOPLE, “They wanted to make sure her grandfather got to be there so they kept their first wedding small and intimate. This party was a chance for them to celebrate with all their friends and family as well.”

This source says the second wedding felt more like a “big party,” in contrast to the sentimental ceremony at the family’s home in Kennebunkport, Maine, where Barbara’s grandparents got engaged 75 years earlier.

“This time she got to include a lot of her friends,” the source says.

Barbara Bush and Megan Ferguson
Barbara Pierce Bush (left) at her second wedding with husband Craig Coyne in Texas. Megan Ferguson/Instagram

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Barbara said much the same in her interview with PEOPLE in the fall: “We’ll do at some point — and who knows when, when we have more time — a big party with friends and celebrate.”

But at the time, in the few weeks between her engagement and wedding, she wanted to keep her focus on what mattered most.

“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,” she told PEOPLE. “We just thought, Let’s try to do it soon.”

“We know we want to be married, we’ve already made that decision, so we don’t need months of an engagement,” Barbara continued. “And while certainly we wish that all of our friends could be here with us to celebrate, we didn’t have the time. And I think what’s most important to us right now is that we can be in the place that we love, with the people that we love, that we’ve gotten to know deeply in this place.”

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.

Six months before Barbara’s October wedding, her grandmother passed away at 92.

“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,” she told PEOPLE ahead of her first ceremony.

“Doing as much as we can, while we have the time with people we love right now, is what’s most important,” she said.

Updated by
Sandra Sobieraj Westfall
Sandra Sobieraj Westfall - PEOPLE

Sandra Sobieraj Westfall is the White House and National Political Correspondent for PEOPLE. She also writes for and occasionally senior edits the magazine's Crime section and the brand's Let's Talk About It mental health series. Westfall joined PEOPLE in 2003 as Washington Bureau Chief and specializes in bringing readers inside the personal experience of political life. She twice won the White House Correspondents' Association Merriman-Smith Award for excellence in presidential reporting under deadline pressure (for her inside-the-room election night exclusives on the "snippy" phone call between Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000; and the hear-a-pin-drop silent moment in 2008 when Barack Obama, holding his mother-in-law's hand, took in the news that he would be America's first Black president). Prior to joining PEOPLE, Westfall was a White House Correspondent for The Associated Press after beginning her career in Congress, where she wrote legislation on women's health, mental health, and domestic violence. A native of Rochester, New York, she received her Bachelor's degree in politics (with a certificate in Latin American studies) from Princeton University, and a Master's degree in journalism from Stanford University.

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