At 11:00 am on Saturday on the South Lawn of the White House, Naomi Biden, the eldest granddaughter of President Biden, married Peter Neal in front of approximately 250 guests. “It has been a joy to watch Naomi grow, discover who she is, and carve out such an incredible life for herself,” said the President and First Lady. “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 bride walked down the aisle wearing a Grace Kelly-inspired dress by Ralph Lauren. Naomi has a history with the classic American brand, having worn a look by Ralph Lauren on Inauguration Day as well as attending the Ralph Lauren fall 2022 fashion show in New York this past March with her sister Finnegan.
Planning for the ceremony and the festivities that followed—which were all privately funded—was spearheaded by the Biden’s go-to guy: Bryan Rafanelli of Rafanelli Events. Recognized as one of the best planners in the world, Rafanelli also oversaw Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in Rhinebeck, New York in 2010 and has produced his fair share of White House happenings, including state dinners and holiday decor for the Obamas.
Details were kept top secret until the moment the ceremony started, which is fitting given Naomi and Peter’s wedding is only the 19th wedding to ever take place at the White House. The last one was for President Obama’s chief photographer, Peter Souza, who married in the Rose Garden in 2013. Jenna Bush had her wedding ceremony and main celebration at her family’s ranch in Crawford, Texas in 2008, but her father, President George W. Bush, hosted approximately 600 guests at the White House for his daughter’s second reception. (When looking back at the grandest weddings in White House history, Naomi Biden’s is most similar to that of Tricia Nixon, who married Edward Finch Cox under a white gazebo in the Rose Garden in 1971.)
To set the tone for such a historic wedding weekend (which also happens to be the same weekend President Biden is turning 80), the invitations, which were complete with the presidential seal, read: “The President and Dr. Biden request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their granddaughter…”
Naomi is the daughter of the president’s younger son, Hunter, and his ex-wife Kathleen Buhle and an associate at the D.C. law firm Arnold & Porter. The bride’s parents met while working for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Portland, Oregon, and Naomi was named after the president’s firstborn daughter, who died at age one in a car crash in 1972, along with his first wife, Neila.
According to reports, the bride has played an important role in her grandfather’s political career. In 2019, she called a family meeting where she, her two sisters, and her cousins urged him to run for president against Donald Trump.
Peter, who works as an associate at the Georgetown Law Center on National Security, is also politically active. He studied political communications while at George Washington University and served as a White House intern during President Obama’s administration as well as worked on Hilary Clinton’s campaign. He grew up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and his parents, William Neal and Mary C. Neal, are both doctors. (Like the Bidens, the Neal family has suffered tragedy; Willie, one of Peter’s two brothers, was killed when he was struck by a car while roller skating.)
The newlyweds were first set up by a mutual friend in 2018. Naomi was in law school at Columbia University at the time, and New York City served as the setting for the first date and the courtship that followed.
Now the couple lives together on the third floor of the White House, with their dog Charlie. Peter proposed in Wyoming in September of 2021 with an emerald-cut diamond ring by Shah & Shah Distinctive Jewelers in D.C. “He brought both her sisters down from college, they came and looked at everything,” jeweler Colin Shah told The Post. “He was really sweet throughout. He wanted to make sure he was getting a beautiful, high-quality stone. He wanted to make sure it was something she liked.” Peter also incorporated his grandmother’s wedding band into the bride’s wedding day jewelry. The band was melted down and added into Naomi’s wedding band, according to Shah. “He wanted part of his family to be carried over into their family.”
Events began with a rehearsal dinner on Friday night to which the bride wore what the designer Danielle Frankel refers to as a “transitional look.” There was a top bustier, a tailored jacket and trouser, which was made from the same satin fabric, and a pleated tulle cape covered in lace flowers. The four piece set allowed the bride to evolve throughout the evening and set the visual tone for the weekend.
After the ceremony on the South Lawn this morning, an intimate lunch for family and the wedding party was held in the State Dining Room of the White House. Soon after, guests gathered again for a reception with cake and dancing to celebrate the happy couple.
Originally published in Vogue.com