It’s wedding day at the White House.
President Joe Biden’s granddaughter, Naomi Biden, and her fiance, Peter Neill, were set to marry Saturday in what would be the 19th wedding in White House history.
Naomi Biden and Neil exchanged ‘I do’s’ during a ceremony scheduled for 11am – with temperatures forecast to be in the 30s – on the South Lawn, which has been converted into a wedding venue for the first time. It’s also the first White House wedding with the president’s granddaughter as the bride.
Dozens of white folding chairs dotted the South Lawn Friday and rental trucks were parked in the driveway as event planners began setting up. The South Portico of the White House, facing the lawn and the Washington Monument in the background, was decorated with wreaths and garlands bearing white flowers.
The public will not see any of the festivities, unlike some past White House weddings. The bride and groom have decided to keep reporters out, although the ceremony will be outdoors in what the president and first lady call the “people’s house.”
Naomi Biden, 28, is a lawyer in Washington. Her parents are Hunter Biden, son of President and First Lady Jill Biden, and Kathleen Boule, Hunter’s first wife.
Neal, 25, of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s law school. He works at the 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 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 changed the band of his grandmother’s engagement ring, according to the White House.
After the 20-somethings officially become husband and wife, their families and wedding party will escape the cold and return to the White House for lunch, followed by a dessert reception and dancing in the evening. according to a person with knowledge of the planning, who was not authorized to discuss the wedding schedule publicly.
Few other details were released before the ceremony.
To meet the public interest, the president and first lady planned to issue a statement and release photos after the wedding of the first of their six grandchildren, the White House said.
President Biden and the first lady were among those who attended the wedding rehearsal dinner Friday at the Renwick Gallery, steps from the White House. Neil’s parents hosted.
The Biden family will pay for all wedding activities, White House officials said.
“Naomi Biden and Peter’s wedding is private,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the president’s chief spokeswoman, said Friday. “It is a family event and Naomi and Peter have asked that their wedding be closed to the media and we respect their wishes.”
There have been 18 documented marriages in the 200-plus year history of the White House. Nine involved the daughter of a president, most recently Richard Nixon’s daughter Tricia in 1971 and Lyndon Johnson’s daughter Linda in 1967.
But nieces, a granddaughter, a son and the brothers of the first ladies have also married there. One president, Grover Cleveland, was also married in the White House while in office.
Some of the weddings were open for media coverage, while others were not at all.
Reporters were allowed at Tricia Nixon’s wedding to Ed Cox, the first wedding to take place in the Rose Garden. Her wedding—a black three-ring binder in the offices of the White House Historical Association—includes 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-U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer — the first since Tricia Nixon’s wedding — was closed to the press. Clinton’s spokesman commented afterward, and the White House released a photo.
The same thing happened at the October 2013 wedding of Pete Souza, President Barack Obama’s official photographer, and his longtime partner, Patti Lacy. The White House announced the marriage 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 denied its request to cover Naomi Biden’s wedding.
“White House weddings have been covered by the press throughout history, and the first family’s desire for privacy must be balanced with the public’s interest in an event taking place in the People’s House with the president as an attendee,” the board said. of the WHCA in a statement.
Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, said it’s important to remember that first families are families first and foremost.
“Their privacy should be respected, their wishes should be respected,” he said.
The wedding is only half of a long 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.