Naomi Biden was married at the White House on Saturday in a small outdoor ceremony that was closed to the press despite being held on government property.
The bride wore a long-sleeved white gown to protect her from the cold weather. A long veil drapped down her back.
Naomi, 25, walked out of the Diplomatic Room at the White House and down a long aisle to the middle of the South Lawn, where her groom, Peter Neal, 25, waited.
The ceremony lasted about an hour with about 200 guests surrounding the couple. President Joe and Jill Biden kicked off the affair, walking down the aisle ahead of the bride to take their seats in the front row.
Chairs were lined up in a semi-circle around the couple and no tent was put over the outdoor venue. It was a crisp 37 degrees in D.C. but sunny and no wind.
Guests lined up early to be inside by the time the 11 a.m. ceremony began. Staff checking them in handed out hand warmers as they welcomed them through the White House gates to the wedding inside.
The guests had to be covid tested and go through a screening process to get inside.
Former Senator Chris Dodd was one of the many guests spotted, as was Michael Cohen’s daughter, Samantha Blake Cohen, who went to the University of Pennsylvania with Naomi Biden.
The White House was decked out with wreaths of white flowers and security was tight. Lafayette Park and the National Ellipse – the two public parks on either side of the White House – were closed to the public. There was heavy police presence outside.
The White Houses hosts hundreds of social events a year but there’s nothing like a wedding.
Saturday’s event will consist of three parts, a source familiar with the planning told DailyMail.com: the 11 a.m. ceremony on the South Lawn; followed by a private lunch for family and the wedding party in the White House; and an evening of dessert and dancing, which will also take place in the White House.
Otherwise the White House has released few details about the wedding, other than to say the Biden family is paying for it.
Naomi Biden walks out of the White House, wearing a white dress and veil
Naomi Biden, 28, and finace Peter Neal, 25, getting married on the South Lawn
Naomi Biden’s wedding at the White House
The wedding party on the South Lawn of the White House
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Naomi’s wedding
Guests took their seats on the South Lawn on Saturday for Naomi Biden’s wedding
Guests lined up to go through security to get into the wedding
There was no tent on the South Lawn for Naomi’s big day
Security checks in guests, who were given hand warmers
The days leading up to Saturday were filled with the usual round of festivities and last-minute details, like picking up dresses and the getting the marriage license.
The South Lawn was a buzz with activity on Thursday and Friday with workers marking the aisle the bride will walk down to meet her groom. Blue plastic on the ground showed the bride will exit out of the diplomatic room to meet Peter. Garlands of flowers were hung for her to walk through.
Chairs were set up in row after row on the South Lawn.
And deliveries were unloaded with multiple Ryder trucks on the driveway.
Despite the wedding being held on government land, the Biden administration said Peter and Naomi want a ‘private’ event, which is why the event will be closed for press coverage.
‘Naomi and Peter have asked that their wedding be close to the media and we’re respecting the wishes,’ press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday at her daily briefing.
Naomi Biden, 28, is the president’s oldest grandchild and the first of her generation of Bidens to wed. But when other president’s family members – including Tricia Nixon and Lynda Bird Johnson – had White House weddings those were open to the media, including photo and video coverage.
But Jean-Pierre reiterated the young couple wants a ‘private’ event – even though Naomi Biden choose to have her wedding on the South Lawn of the White House.
‘They want it to be private, and we’re going to respect their wishes. We’re going to provide a photo and a statement from the President and First Lady after the wedding. And, again, these are their wishes and we’re going to respect them,’ she said.
Wedding logistics can be a challenge for any bride but a White House wedding has the added complications of Secret Service background checks on guests, security screenings before people walk in the door, and questions from the White House press corps.
Finnegan Biden gets ready to head to the Renwick Gallery for her sister Naomi Biden’s rehearsal dinner
Maisy Biden, in the orange cardigan, talks with a friend as she heads to her sister’s dinner
Despite the fact the Renwick Gallery is just steps away from the White House, President Joe and Jill Biden took the Beast (above) to their granddaughter’s rehearsal dinner
Meanwhile, Naomi Biden’s younger sisters Maisy and Finnegan got glammed up on Friday night to join the bride and groom and the rest of the family at a rehearsal dinner ahead of Saturday’s wedding.
Finnegan, 22, wore a sparkly black dress, and Maisy, 21, wore an orange cardigan over a printed outfit as they left mom Kathleen Buhle’s residence to head to the Renwick Gallery, which Peter Neal’s family rented out for the evening.
The Renwick Gallery is on the same block of Pennsylvania Avenue as the White House. Despite it being just steps away, Joe and Jill Biden took a motorcade there to join the festivities. The museum features contemporary craft and decorative arts.
Peter Neal’s parents – Drs. Mary and William Neal – hosted the event, according to the White House.
The Biden family has been busy preparing for Saturday.
Maisy Biden took delivery of her dress at mom Kathleen Buhle’s residence on Thursday. She even left a note for the delivery drivers, imploring them: ‘My sister is getting married on Saturday. My dress is in this box. Please leave packages.’
The missive must have been successful as she was spotted picking up a box, a big grin on her face.
Meanwhile, the couple has their marriage license. Peter Neal posted a pic of him and Naomi at the Washington D.C. Marriage Bureau on Thursday, securing their license to wed.
Flowers were being hung around the South Portico of the White House, including around the diplomatic room, where the bride will exit to meet her groom
A worker sets up folding chairs on the South Lawn of the White House
Peter Neal and Naomi Biden at the Washington D.C. Marriage Bureau on Thursday ahead of their Saturday wedding at the White House
Joe Biden’s granddaughter Maisy Biden takes delivery of her dress for her sister Naomi’s wedding
Wedding preparations are underway on the South Lawn for Saturday’s big event – the 19th wedding at the White House
Kathleen Buhle, mother of the bride, leaving her Washington D.C. residence on Friday
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Naomi Biden and Peter Neal want a ‘private’ wedding
Naomi Biden is the president’s oldest grandchild and close to the first couple. She is the daughter of Hunter Biden and Kathleen Buhle, who divorced in 2017.
And the setup continues, she’s on hand to answer any pre-wedding questions.
She and fiance Peter Neal, 25, are reported to be living in the White House. Otherwise she works as a lawyer in Washington D.C. and Neal, who worked in Democratic politics, just graduated from law school and works at Georgetown Law.
They were set up by mutual friends four years ago and got engaged in September of last year during a visit to Neal’s hometown of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
The engagement ring includes the band of Neal’s grandmother’s engagement ring.
Overseeing their big day is event planner Bryan Rafanelli, who designed Chelsea Clinton’s wedding and several state dinners for President Barack Obama. He is also a big time to donor to Democratic candidates.
But the cost can be pricey. A Rafanelli wedding runs from $250,000 to $1 million, according to wedding websites.
And a wedding at the White House has complications that others do not. Every person entering the grounds has to give their Social Security number and date of birth for a background check. At the entrance to get onto the grounds are magnetometers and x-ray screenings for bags.
Also, the White House typically requires a negative covid test for anyone getting near the president.
But Rafanelli is an old hand at dealing with these kinds of protocol.
He said of Chelsea Clinton’s 2010 wedding: ‘We had to liaise with the Secret Service for the president, as well as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s diplomatic security, and then we had our own security company. With all of this security, it was like a military operation, but we still wanted to be respectful to the town where it was being held.’
And, he told Business Insider, he was proud the event managed to stay private.
‘I’m quite proud that to this day, there are only six images of Chelsea and Mark’s wedding — and they were the photos released by the couple. Everything else was private, and anybody who attended remembers what happened,’ he said.
But the true challenge may be keeping it off social media.
The distinctive features of the South Lawn, the Rose Garden, and the South Portico make the setting Instagram-ready.
But Rafanelli noted guests are typically respectful of the couple’s wishes not to post on social media.
‘What’s interesting now is that, by and large, guests are really good at not taking photographs if they’re asked not to. Sometimes, we do have to take all phones from guests and staff, both to secure the wedding and to make everybody be present, but generally, the people invited to a wedding are respectful,’ he said.
Maisy walks across the street holding a guitar during preparations for the wedding
Workers arrange flowers and plants at the South Portico of the White House
She went to a nearby CVS to pick up refreshments the night before Naomi walks down the aisle
Staff preparing the South Lawn for Naomi’s wedding
Maisy Biden left a note for delivery drivers, asking them to leave her dress
The aisle is being set up on the lawn, leading from the diplomatic room to outside
Delivery trucks on the driveway ahead of Saturday’s wedding
Naomi Biden’s wedding on Saturday will kick off a busy social season for the White House.
President Joe Biden turns 80 on Sunday and all his family will already been in town for the wedding.
Then, on Monday, the president will do the traditional pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey. That afternoon, Jill Biden will greet the White House Christmas tree, which is arriving from a Pennsylvania farm. That evening, the couple will travel to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, for a friendsgiving with the troops.
Then the Biden family heads to Nantucket for their traditional Thanksgiving holiday, where they’re also expected to discuss whether the president will run for a second term in 2024.
Upon their return to Washington D.C, the first couple will host their first state dinner, welcoming President Emmanuel Macron of France on December 1.
Then the holiday season really kicks off.
Holiday parties are back on at the White House.
Plus the Kennedy Center Honors, traditionally attended by the president and first lady, will be recorded on December 4th with George Clooney and U2 among the honorees.
But first is the wedding.
Saturday’s wedding is the 19th one known to be held at the White House and the first on the South Lawn.
Naomi Biden and Peter Neal, who were set up by a mutal friend, got engaged in September, posting the news on Instagram
President Joe Biden’s granddaughters Naomi (center) and Finnegan (right) attended the Ralph Lauren fashion show in New York City in March with Naomi’s fiancé, Peter Neal (left)
First daughter Tricia Nixon married Ed Cox in the Rose Garden on June 12, 1971 in one of the more famous White House weddings; her father, President Richard Nixon, walked her down the aisle
The last wedding to take place at the White House was on October 19, 2013, when Pesident Barack Obama’s photographer Pete Souza married Patti Lease in the Rose Garden. Obama attended.
The last family weddings were when on May 28, 1994 when Anthony Rodham – Hillary Clinton’s brother – married Nicole Boxer during Bill Clinton’s tenure.
First daughter Tricia Nixon married Ed Cox in the Rose Garden on June 12, 1971 in one of the more famous White House weddings. Her father, President Richard Nixon, walked her down the aisle.
There also is a long history of presidential children getting married at the residence or holding a reception there. James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, John Tyler and Ulysses S. Grant all saw weddings during their tenures.
Modern first daughters Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Hager got married else where.
Chelsea’s father was not president at the time of her wedding. Jenna’s father was and George W. Bush hosted a reception for his daughter at the White House although her wedding was in their home state of Texas.