A White House wedding for Naomi Biden

President Joe Biden's granddaughter Naomi weds in South Lawn ceremony

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It was a White House wedding on Saturday for President Joe Biden’s granddaughter Naomi Biden in a ceremony on the South Lawn, with 250 friends and family members in attendance.

Mr Biden and his wife Jill hosted the occasion on behalf of their eldest grandchild.

“It has been a joy to watch Naomi grow, discover who she is, and carve out such an incredible life for herself,” they said while announcing the marriage to long-time boyfriend Peter Neal.

Naomi Biden's wedding at the White House. Photo: Corbin Gurkin

“Now, we are filled with pride to see her choose Peter as her husband and we are honoured to welcome him to our family.

“We wish them days full of laughter and a love that grows deeper with every passing year.”

It is the first time a sitting president’s grandchild has wed at 1,600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the first wedding to take place on the South Lawn and only the 19th in the 200-plus years of the House’s existence.

The outdoor exchange of vows was also the first wedding ceremony in nine years, the last being that of then-president Barack Obama’s official photographer Pete Souza to Patti Lease, which took place on a sunny day in the Rose Garden.

Saturday’s event began under blue skies and 5ºC temperatures, with guests lining up for security screenings complete with bomb-sniffing dogs.

Inside the gates, the South Lawn ceremony gave those attending a remarkable view of the Washington Monument, which served as backdrop.

Official picture of US actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco during their wedding ceremony in Monaco on April 19, 1956. (Photo by AFP)

In a call back to the 1956 fairytale wedding of actress Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier of Monaco, the bride wore a high-necked Chantilly lace gown designed by Ralph Lauren, featuring a long, diaphanous train.

Her jewellery was designed by Tiffany & Co.

The bridegroom wore a three-piece navy suit and a floral lapel pin – also by Ralph Lauren and Tiffany & Co.

Ms Biden descended the aisle to a live version of Bittersweet Symphony by the Verve, with her sister Roberta , also known as Maisy, and sister-in-law Katherine Neal as bridesmaids, CNN reported.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds, their families and the wedding party had lunch in the White House. A reception with dessert and dancing was planned for later on Saturday.

The young couple, who are often photographed on the White House grounds, live on the third floor of the residence, the same place Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson called home for the eight years of her son-in-law's administration.

Mr Neal walks the couple’s dog Charlie and Mr Biden’s puppy Commander.

Ms Biden is a lawyer in Washington and the daughter of Hunter Biden and his first wife, Kathleen Buhle.

Mr Neal recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania law school and works at Georgetown University Law Centre in Washington.

He proposed near his childhood home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with a ring that once belonged to his grandmother.

Explaining that the couple desired privacy, the White House released few other details about the wedding and the Biden family will pay for all activities.

“Naomi and Peter have asked that their wedding be closed to the media and we are respecting their wishes,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Friday.

Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, said it was important to remember that first families are families first.

“Their privacy should be respected, their wishes should be respected,” Mr McLaurin said.

The White House has been the setting for dozens of relatives' weddings and parties, including that of Hillary Clinton's brother Tony Rodham and Nicole Boxer, and Jenna Bush Hager, who held a White House reception after her Texas wedding just before her father George W Bush left office in 2008.

The last event to which media was allowed was Tricia Nixon’s wedding to Ed Cox in 1971 — except The Washington Post, which then-president Richard Nixon banned from the White House after releasing leaked classified documents about the Vietnam War.

Joe Biden, a lifetime of service

Updated: November 22, 2022, 4:05 PM
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