President Biden’s granddaughter Naomi ties the knot in 19th wedding in White House history
WASHINGTON DC — President Joe Biden’s granddaughter Naomi Biden and Peter Neal tied the knot in the 19th wedding in White House history on Saturday, exchanging vows on the lawn in unusually cold temperatures in front of dozens of members of the family and friends.
It’s the first White House wedding with a president’s granddaughter as the bride, and the first-ever on the South Lawn.
Naomi Biden and Neal exchanged “yes” during a late morning ceremony – temperatures were in the 40s – in front of guests seated on white folding chairs. The South Portico of the White House, facing the lawn and the Washington Monument in the distance, was decorated with wreaths and garlands bearing white flowers. There was no tent. Guests began arriving hours before the ceremony, with some women opting for open-toed shoes despite the cold.
The public does not see any of the festivities, unlike some past White House weddings. Naomi Biden and Neal decided to keep reporters out, even though the ceremony was held outdoors on the grounds of what the president and first lady call the “people’s house.”
Naomi Biden, 28, is a lawyer in Washington. His parents are Hunter Biden, the son of President and First Lady Jill Biden, and Kathleen Buhle, Hunter’s first wife.
Neal, 25, of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He works at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington. Her parents are Drs. Mary C. and William “Bill” C. Neal of Jackson Hole.
The couple, who live in the White House, were created by a mutual friend about four years ago in New York and have been together ever since, the White House said. Neal proposed in September 2021 near his childhood home in Jackson Hole with a ring that repurposed the band from his grandmother’s engagement ring, according to the White House.
After the 20-year-old officially became husband and wife, their families and the wedding party emerged from the cold and returned inside the White House for lunch, which is to be followed in the evening by a reception with dessert and dancing, according to a person familiar with the planning who was not authorized to publicly discuss the wedding schedule.
Few other details were released ahead of the ceremony.
To address public interest, the president and first lady planned to release a statement and post photos after the first of their six grandchildren got married, the White House said.
President Biden and the first lady were among those who attended Friday’s 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 said.
“Naomi Biden and Peter’s marriage is a private marriage,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the president’s spokeswoman, said on Friday. “It is a family event and Naomi and Peter have requested that their wedding be closed to the media and we respect their wishes.”
There have been 18 documented marriages in the White House’s more than 200-year history. 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 grand-niece, a son and the siblings of the first ladies also got married there. A president, Grover Cleveland, also married at the White House while in office.
Some of the weddings were open to media coverage, while others were not at all.
Journalists were allowed to attend Tricia Nixon’s wedding to Ed Cox, the first wedding held at the Rose Garden. His wedding planner — a black three-ring binder in the offices of the White House Historical Association — includes detailed media plan notes.
But the May 1994 wedding of a brother of then First Lady Hillary Clinton and the daughter of US Senator Barbara Boxer – the first since the marriage of Tricia Nixon – has been closed to the press. Clinton’s spokesperson commented afterward, and the White House released a photo.
The same was true for the October 2013 wedding of Pete Souza, official photographer to President Barack Obama, and his longtime girlfriend, Patti Lease. The White House announced the wedding in a statement following the small private wedding at 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 had refused its request for media coverage of Naomi Biden’s wedding.
“White House weddings have been covered in the press throughout history and the first family’s desire for privacy must be weighed against the public’s interest in an event taking place at the House of the People. with the president as a participant,” the WHCA board of directors said in a statement.
Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, said it’s important to remember that first families are families first.
“Their privacy should be respected, their wishes should be respected,” he said.
The wedding is only half of a big weekend for the Biden family. The president’s 80th birthday is on Sunday and family members in town will celebrate him at a brunch hosted by the first lady.
Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.