A Bush wedding is under wraps


Washington -- Dorothy Bush LeBlond, the president's only daughter, gets married tomorrow.

Not invited, huh?

But since taxpayers almost certainly will pay part of the tab, you deserve to know all we've dug up on this June bride's oh-so-special day.

For starters, it's the best kept secret in town.

"The stealth wedding!" says Diana McLellan, a columnist for Washingtonian magazine.

"All the friends are being very quiet," says Merrie Morris, society columnist for the Washington Times. "They're afraid that if they talk, they'll get ostracized."

"It's private," say representatives of both the President and first lady.

Her second. His first. And politically speaking, it's incorrect.

Doro LeBlond, a 32-year-old divorced mother of two, is marrying Bobby Koch, 31. Until he quit last week to become chief lobbyist for the California wine industry, Mr. Koch (pronounced Cook) was top aide to House Majority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat and frequent Bush critic.

"Like Romeo and Juliet," says Ms. McLellan.

Only 130 engraved invitations were sent out, mostly to family members, making this the hottest ticket around.

Not making the cut: Vice President Dan Quayle and his wife, Marilyn. "It's a family event," explains a spokeswoman for Mrs. Quayle. Among the invited: White House chief of staff Samuel Skinner, thanks to a close friendship between his wife, Honey, and Doro LeBlond.

This is not a White House wedding like the tulle and lace affair for Tricia Nixon in June 1971. Instead, it's being held at Camp David, the 143-acre, taxpayer-supported presidential compound in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains. (Hey, they never promised her the Rose Garden!)

The Bushes will hold a rehearsal dinner for about 75 people at the White House tonight, according to friends of Mr. Koch.

The President probably will reimburse taxpayers for that event as well as for any use of White House personnel (such as pastry chef Roland Mesnier) at Camp David tomorrow.

"The Bushes have never used public amenities for private gain," says Anna Maria Perez, Barbara Bush's press secretary.

However, the Bushes do not have to reimburse taxpayers for use of Camp David or the employees who could be on duty during the wedding, according to government rules. Renting a similar private, upscale site in the Washington area for a wedding costs at least $1,500.

As a warm-up, friends of Ms. LeBlond held a lingerie and linens shower for her in April at the home of a friend. Catering the little get-together for 50 was Mark Miller, owner and chef at Red Sage, the city's hottest new restaurant, a spokesman there confirms. (A catered luncheon for 50 costs about $5,000, he says.)

The wedding dress remains under wraps. Barbara Tanner, a spokeswoman for designer Arnold Scaasi, says the dress comes from his New York salon. As to hints about style and color: "Absolutely not!" she says.

Scaasi bridal dresses usually cost between $2,000 and $5,000, according to buyers at several Washington and New York salons. Typically, they're made of delicate peau de soie or nubby silk Shantung. "Beautiful fabrics that he manipulates into shapes," says Lisa Comegna of Brides magazine.

You can send a gift.

Ms. LeBlond is registered at Bloomingdale's. Based on a computer printout of her 67-item list, there's plenty left to choose from.

Prices range from a goose down queen comforter at $390 to a $12 paper towel holder (Copco White).

The china pattern is a girlish Lenox Orleans Blue, white with tiny blue flowers. The five-piece place setting goes for $150. So far, just two have been bought, although somebody did spring for a $220 16-inch platter.

Also purchased: the $199.95, 60-piece flatware set (Retroneu Bead), the $20 Gorham silver-plate lasagna server, two Lenox Laurel Gold wine goblets ($42 each) and a wok ($34.95).

Ms. LeBlond likes floral motifs. She wants two floral table lamps ($300 each, but now on sale for $239.95) as well as floral bathroom accessories in Andre Richard Floral Mayfair, a pattern of purple, blue, yellow and red flowers. The set includes a $25 waste basket, $20 matching tissue holder, $14 soap dish, two $14 glasses and a $16 toothbrush holder.

It's mint green sheets and a matching bed skirt for the bedroom. And for the kitchen, Ms. LeBlond wants a white Braun coffee maker, white electric can opener, Toastmaster waffle maker and a "natural wood" wine rack.

Ms. LeBlond's first wedding was to Billy LeBlond on Sept. 1, 1982. She was divorced in 1990 and moved to Washington. She lives with the couple's two children, Sam, 7, and Ellie, 5, and works in the special events department at the National Rehabilitation Hospital here.

She met Mr. Koch, a boyish-looking native Washingtonian with a slightly receding hairline, through mutual friends. "She was the one who saw him and decided to go after him," says one observer of the Washington society scene.

The ceremony is closed to the news media. No breaches in security are expected at the mountaintop retreat, which includes a small chapel, 10 cabins and a lodge with a spectacular view. Camp David is surrounded by a cyclone fence that is topped with concertina wire and patrolled by the Navy and Marines.

You can also forget those covert shots from tabloid-hired helicopters. Air space above Camp David is restricted. Any planes flying over could be shot down, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

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