President Joe Biden’s granddaughter Naomi Biden and Peter Neal married Saturday in the 19th wedding in White House history, exchanging vows on the lawn in unusually cold temperatures in front of dozens of family and friends.
It is the first White House wedding to feature a president’s granddaughter as the bride, and the first ever on the South Lawn.
Naomi Biden and Neal exchanged “I dos” in a spirited late-morning ceremony — temperatures were around 40 — in front of guests seated in white folding chairs. The south porch of the White House, overlooking the lawn and the Washington Monument in the distance, was decorated with wreaths and garlands of white flowers. There was no tent. Guests began arriving hours before the ceremony, and some women opted for open-toed shoes despite the cold.
The public doesn’t see any of the festivities, unlike some previous White House weddings. Naomi Biden and Neal decided to keep journalists out, even though the ceremony took place outside on the grounds of what the president and first lady call the “house of the people.”
Naomi Biden, 28, is an attorney in Washington. Her parents are Hunter Biden, the son of President and First Lady Jill Biden, and Kathleen Buhle, Hunter’s first wife.
Neal, 25, from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania law school. He works at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington. His parents are Drs. Mary C. and William “Bill” C. Neal of Jackson Hole.
The couple, who live in the White House, were set up about four years ago by a mutual friend in New York City and have been together ever since, according to the White House. Neal proposed in September 2021 near his childhood home in Jackson Hole with a ring that reuses the band from his grandmother’s engagement ring, the White House said.
After the over-20s officially became husband and wife, their families and the wedding party came out of the cold and headed back to the White House for lunch, which would be followed in the evening by a dessert-and-dance reception, according to a report. person who is familiar with the planning and was not authorized to discuss the wedding schedule publicly.
Some other details were released ahead of the ceremony.
To address public interest, the president and first lady planned to issue a statement and release photos after the first of their six grandchildren tied the knot, the White House said.
President Biden and the first lady were among those who attended Friday’s pre-wedding rehearsal dinner at the Renwick Gallery, just steps from the White House. Neal’s parents hosted.
The Biden family will pay for all wedding activities, White House officials have said.
“Naomi Biden and Peter’s wedding is a private wedding,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the president’s chief spokesperson, said Friday. “It’s a family event and Naomi and Peter have asked for their marriage to be closed to the media and we respect their wishes.”
There have been 18 documented weddings in the more than 200-year history of the White House. Nine involved a president’s daughter, most recently Richard Nixon’s daughter Tricia in 1971 and Lyndon Johnson’s daughter Lynda in 1967.
But nieces, a great-niece, a son and brothers and sisters of first ladies are also married there. One president, Grover Cleveland, also tied the knot at the White House while in office.
Some weddings were open to news media coverage, others not at all.
Journalists were admitted to Tricia Nixon’s wedding to Ed Cox, the first wedding held at the Rose Garden. Her wedding planner — a three-ring black binder in the offices of the White House Historical Association — contains extensive notes on the media plan.
But the May 1994 wedding of a brother of then-first lady Hillary Clinton and the daughter of then-US Senator Barbara Boxer—the first since Tricia Nixon’s marriage—was not open to the press. Clinton’s spokesperson commented afterwards and the White House released a photo.
The same was true of the October 2013 wedding of Pete Souza, President Barack Obama’s official photographer, and his longtime partner, Patti Lease. The White House announced the wedding in a statement after the small, private wedding in the Rose Garden.
The White House Correspondents Association, which advocates for press access to the White House and the president, said it was “deeply disappointed” that the White House declined its request for coverage of Naomi Biden’s wedding.
“Weddings at the White House have been in the press throughout history, and the First Family’s desire for privacy must be weighed against public interest in an event taking place at the People’s House with the president as a participant,” the WHCA said. board in a statement.
Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, said it’s important to remember that families are families first and foremost.
“Their privacy must be respected, their wishes must be respected,” he said.
The wedding is just half of a big weekend for the Biden family. The president turns 80 on Sunday and relatives in the city will celebrate at a brunch hosted by the first lady.