It was a weekend of firsts at the White House — President Joe Biden turned 80 and his granddaughter, Naomi Biden, got married on the White House South Lawn.
On Saturday morning, the President’s oldest grandchild, Naomi Biden, 28, wed Peter Neal, 25, on the White House South Lawn.
In 222, years, this was only the 19th White House wedding in history, and the first to ever take place on the South Lawn. “There’s not been a South Lawn family wedding that I’m aware of,” says Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, per Time magazine.
The wedding might have overshadowed the President’s 80th Birthday on Sunday, which made him the oldest commander-in-chief in history.
Naomi Biden chose a Ralph Lauren dress to walk down the aisle in, along to a live rendition of “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve. Naomi Biden finished off her wedding look with a pair of diamond-encrusted Tiffany & Co. platinum earrings, per CNN.
“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 Jill Biden, the first lady, said in a statement, per the New York Times. “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.”
Naomi Biden and Peter Neal
Naomi Biden, 28, is the daughter of Hunter Biden and the oldest grandchild of the president. She is a lawyer focusing on international arbitration at Arnold & Porter, a D.C. law firm, The Washington Post reported.
According to Time, in 2019, Naomi Biden was actually the one who called a family meeting, which convinced her grandfather to run for president against Donald Trump.
Her fiancé, Peter Neal, 25, is from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and recently graduated from University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. He interned at the White House in 2015, and later worked on the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, The New York Times reported.
The couple were set up by a mutual friend in 2018, and met on their first date in New York City. Neal proposed on Sept. 24, 2021, with an emerald-cut diamond ring.
“Peter and I are endlessly grateful to my Nana and Pop for the opportunity to celebrate our wedding at the White House. We can’t wait to make our commitment to one another official and for what lies ahead,” Naomi Biden tweeted on April 4.
History of White House weddings
White House weddings are not new, but they are rare. According to The White House Historical Association, there have been 18 weddings at the White House hosted by the president and first lady. There have also been four wedding receptions held at the White House, the most recent being former President George W. Bush’s daughter, Jenna Bush, in 2008.
The first White House wedding was in 1812, during the presidency of James Madison. Lucy Payne Washington, first lady Dolley Madison’s sister, married Thomas Todd, an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1828, John Quincy Adams’ son, John Quincy II, was wed to his first cousin, Mary Catherine Hellen. Just over nine months after the wedding, they welcomed a daughter, who Mary Catherine Hellen gave birth to in their quarters of the White House, reports Politico. They named their baby girl Mary, after her mother.
When Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughter, Lynda Bird Johnson, had her White House wedding in 1967, her father gave an embarrassing toast. According to Time, Johnson did a dramatic reading of all the Secret Service reports from every time her fiancé, Captain Charles S. Robb, snuck in or out of the White House.
The only president to get married in the White House was Grover Cleveland. He was 49 when he married Francis Folsom in the Blue Room. Time reports that the nation got a little obsessed with the president’s wedding, and even sold soap with Folsom’s face on it.
Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia Nixon, married Ed Cox in June 1971 in the Rose Garden. The elaborate wedding was broadcast to millions on television. Tricia Nixon initially wanted a private wedding, but decided to publicize it because “we both thought it fitting and appropriate to share it with so many of the American people,” she said, per Time.
The most recent White House wedding was during Barack Obama’s presidency. In 2013, the official White House photographer, Pete Souza, married Patti Lease in the Rose Garden.