Naomi Biden nuptials mark return of the White House wedding

This is the first White House wedding since 2013.

November 20, 2022, 4:15 PM

President Joe Biden's eldest granddaughter, Naomi Biden, married Peter Neal on Saturday on the White House's South Lawn in front of some 250 guests.

It's the first wedding celebration at the White House since 2013 -- and just the 19th time in history the executive mansion has been the site of nuptials.

"It has been a joy to watch Naomi grow, discover who she is, and carve out such an incredible life for herself," President Biden and first lady Jill Biden said in a statement after the ceremony. "Now, we are filled with pride to see her choose Peter as her husband and we're honored to welcome him to our family. We wish them days full of laughter and a love that grows deeper with every passing year."

The Bidens hosted a wedding luncheon for family and the wedding party in the State Dining Room. A reception with dessert and dancing was also held at the White House later in the day.

Photos taken by the Associated Press show Naomi Biden, in a long-sleeved white dress and white veil, walking to the ceremony that had been accessorized with bountiful white florals.

Naomi Biden was walked down the aisle by both of her parents, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was a private event. The bride wore a Ralph Lauren wedding dress and changed into a Reem Acra dress for her reception. Neal wore a three-piece Ralph Lauren suit for the ceremony and a Ralph Lauren tuxedo for the reception. 

"Peter and I are endlessly grateful to my Nana and Pop for the opportunity to celebrate our wedding at the White House," Naomi Biden, a 28-year-old attorney, tweeted in April. "We can't wait to make our commitment to one another official and for what lies ahead."

Naomi Biden is the daughter of Hunter Biden and ex-wife Kathleen Buhle. She's politically active, posting frequently on social media about issues like gun control, reproductive rights and often pushing back against Republican officials.

Both the president and first lady gave toasts at the post-wedding festivities on Saturday, as did other family members, according to the source.

The source said that Naomi Biden and Neal have been living at the White House "for a few months." (Such arrangements aren't unheard of: Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama's mother, also lived there.) 

PHOTO: President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden attend the wedding of Peter Neal and Naomi Biden Neal, on Nov. 19, 2022, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden attend the wedding of Peter Neal and Naomi Biden Neal, on Nov. 19, 2022, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C.
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Naomi Biden and Neal met years ago after being introduced by friends, and Neal proposed in September 2021 near his childhood home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the first lady's office previously said. The two are both attorneys: Naomi Biden an associate at the firm Arnold & Porter and Neal a lawyer at Georgetown University.

President Biden often speaks about his relationship with his grandchildren, saying he talks to them every day. Naomi Biden called a family meeting in 2019 in which the grandkids urged Biden to run against Donald Trump.

The White House kept mum about many of the details of the wedding. Pressed by ABC News White House Correspondent MaryAlice Parks on Friday about why journalists were not allowed to cover some of the wedding, as has been allowed in the past, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said they were respecting the couple's request that the event be closed to the news media.

"These are two young people who've decided that they want to spend the rest of their life together, and the president and first lady are going to be able to participate in their first grandchild's wedding," she said. "But here's the thing, here's the reality -- the wedding of Naomi Biden and Peter is a private one."

The Biden family covered the cost of the reception, the White House previously said, as is customary for first families and similar events at the White House.

Trucks were seen arriving at the South Lawn on Friday ahead of the festivities and some decorations were visible.

PHOTO: Trucks arrive on the South Lawn of the White House, Nov. 18, 2022. Naomi Biden, 28, granddaughter of President Joe Biden, will marry Peter Neal, 25, on the South Lawn.
Trucks arrive on the South Lawn of the White House, Nov. 18, 2022. Naomi Biden, 28, granddaughter of President Joe Biden, will marry Peter Neal, 25, on the South Lawn.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

"It is a joyous occasion, we all want to celebrate them," Jean-Pierre told reporters on Friday. "This is their wish and we should be, we should be thrilled and happy for them in making this really important step in their lives.

It wasn't the only high-profile political wedding this month. Tiffany Trump, Trump's youngest daughter, got married at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, last weekend.

White House weddings date back more than 200 years

Naomi Biden and Neal joined 18 other couples who've tied the knot at the White House, according to the White House Historical Association.

"White House weddings go back more than 200 years to 1812," said Sarah Fling, a historian at the White House Historical Association. That year, first lady Dolley Madison's sister, Lucy Washington, married Thomas Todd at the executive mansion.

This weekend was the first time, according to Fling, that a presidential granddaughter had been wed at the White House.

"The large majority of these White House weddings has been close family members. Otherwise, there has been one instance of a close family friend and then two White House staff weddings throughout history," Fling said.

The most recent example of that was in 2013, when Barack Obama's White House photographer Pete Souza married Patti Lease in a small ceremony in the Rose Garden.

PHOTO: In this handout image provided by the White House, President George W. Bush and Jenna Bush pose for a photographer prior to her wedding to Henry Hager at Prairie Chapel Ranch, May 10, 2008, near Crawford, Texas.
In this handout image provided by the White House, President George W. Bush and Jenna Bush pose for a photographer prior to her wedding to Henry Hager at Prairie Chapel Ranch, May 10, 2008, near Crawford, Texas.
The White House via FilmMagic via Getty Images

Before that, the last wedding festivity was the reception for Jenna Bush and her husband, Henry Hager. The two had officially wed in a ceremony at the Bush-family ranch in Crawford, Texas, but a month later had a reception at the White House.

A White House wedding united two political families in 1994, when Anthony Rodham and Nicole Boxer wed. Rodham is the brother of Hillary Clinton, then the first lady, and Boxer is the daughter of then-California Sen. Barbara Boxer.

PHOTO: President Richard Nixon escorts his daughter Tricia from the White House to the rose garden for her marriage to Edward Finch Cox, June 12, 1971.
President Richard Nixon escorts his daughter Tricia from the White House to the rose garden for her marriage to Edward Finch Cox, June 12, 1971.
Bettmann Archive via Getty Images

The most recent wedding ceremony of a presidential daughter was in 1971, when Tricia Nixon, the daughter of President Richard Nixon, married Edward Finch Cox in the Rose Garden.

"That wedding was the first outdoor wedding at the White House that happened in the Rose Garden," Fling said. "It actually almost rained and ruined the first outdoor wedding. It was a misty day in June, and luckily the sun came out right before the event."

Saturday's wedding was on one of the coldest November days yet -- with temperatures expected in the 30s and 40s.

ABC News' Adam Carlson and Cheyenne Haslett contributed to this report.

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