A White House wedding has historically been the kind of rare event that can add a modern sheen to the dust of the presidency. It can, for one afternoon at least, turn the press from restless to sycophantic. And it can give the president a needed feel-good story.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden could host another: After Democrats performed better than expected in the midterm elections, after a long trip to Egypt and Asia and the day before his 80th birthday, his grandson senior, Naomi Biden, will marry her fiance, Peter Neal, on the South Lawn.
Invitations have been handed out to guests, but the White House is taking a state-secret approach to much of the planning. The couple are “approaching the wedding as a private celebration for their friends and family,” according to a person familiar with their wishes.
Here’s what we know:
Naomi Biden is the 28-year-old daughter of Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden and Kathleen Buhle, who divorced in 2017. Ms. Biden, as the president often says publicly, was named after his first-born daughter, who died in a car accident along with Mr. Biden’s first wife, Neilia, in 1972.
In 2019, the bride called a family meeting to urge her grandfather to run for president against Donald J. Trump, who was seeking a second term. At the time, Mr. Biden hesitated to subject his family to the attacks of Mr. trump But Ms. Biden, along with his two younger sisters, Finnegan and Maisy, and their cousins, urged him to enter the race.
sir Neal, 25, is from Jackson Hole, Wyo., and is the son of Drs. Mary C. Neal and William C. Neal of Jackson Hole. He has three siblings, Eliot, Betsy and Willie, who died in a roller-skating accident in 2009.
The couple share a love of politics. Mrs. Biden was born in it, and Mr. Neal began his career in Democratic politics in 2015 while interning at the White House during the Obama administration, when Mr. Biden was vice president. He later worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, calling the travel experience “wild and wild.”
“Nothing is easy and no one understands that better than Hillary Clinton,” said Mr. Neal wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post after Ms. Clinton lost the presidential election in 2016. “She set the bar for what it means to be a public servant, and it’s time for all of us to take note, buckle up and follow suit.”
Mrs. Biden and Mr. Neal, who did not respond to a request for comment, was set up on a date by a mutual friend in New York City in 2018, according to the White House. sir Neal proposed in September. 4, 2021. Ms. Biden is an associate at the white-shoe law firm Arnold & Porter. sir Neal graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law this year. He is an associate at Georgetown Law’s Center on National Security. They live in Washington – Ms. Biden and Mr. Neal lives in the White House, according to two people familiar with his living situation.
Bryan Rafanelli, the wedding planner responsible for high-profile global political events, including Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in 2010, was hired to handle the process. It has been known to require non-disclosure agreements with its suppliers, something the White House also requires.
“This is how I run my business, protecting my clients’ privacy,” Mr. Rafanelli said in an interview shortly after Ms. Clinton’s wedding. Mrs. Clinton, who wrote the foreword for Mr. In Rafanelli’s 2019 book on party planning, she emphasized that she paid “special attention” to her family’s wishes while planning her wedding.
sir Rafanelli and his team initially agreed to an interview for this article to discuss their work, but later canceled it, citing personal reasons.
Apart from Mr. Rafanelli, the Biden family, has entrusted several longtime aides, including Elizabeth Alexander, the first lady’s communications director, and Anthony Bernal, her closest adviser, with planning control and protecting the president’s granddaughter from the media of communication
Mrs. Biden has a public presence on Twitter and Facebook, and has shared some details about his preparations. In June, she posted an Instagram photo from the White House residence, documenting a wedding planning session. The photo was later deleted.
The tension between the public interest and the first family’s desire for a private White House wedding has existed as long as the tradition itself.
When Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, was married in the White House in 1906, The New York Times gently made a case for public curiosity: “It would be a pitiable specimen of humanity, man or woman, to do it. no to find great interest in the coming marriage of a young woman in her own immediate circle. In this case the young woman about to be married belongs to a family and a circle necessarily known to the whole nation,” the newspaper wrote, before wishing her well couple
sir Neal proposed with an emerald-cut diamond in a setting that included the band from his grandmother’s engagement ring, according to the White House.
As the eldest granddaughter, Mrs. Biden is also in line to receive his grandmother Neilia’s engagement ring, according to a 2019 memoir written by first lady Dr. Biden, but it is unclear whether the heirloom will be incorporated into the wedding jewelry.
According to people who know the couple, there is a short list of possibilities for wedding dress designers. Dr. Biden is close to Lebanese-born designer Reem Acra, who could be an option, people familiar with the planning said.
Mrs. Biden is interested in fashion — she once interned in the PR department for designer Tom Ford — and favors several designers, including Christian Siriano, Veronica Beard and Valentino, who dressed Mr. Inauguration of Biden. Only one designer has been publicly and repeatedly associated with Ms. Biden since the beginning of the presidency of his grandfather: Ralph Lauren. Mrs. Biden referenced the American designer on his Instagram page and attended the Ralph Lauren Fall/Winter 2022 fashion show with his sister Finnegan Biden in March.
The president wore Ralph Lauren to his inauguration. The brand did not comment when asked about its involvement in the wedding.
It’s unclear how much of the wedding or reception the public will see. The administration has not said whether reporters at the presidential pool will be able to cover the wedding.
Numerous outlets, including Vogue, have requested photos of the wedding events, but no decisions have been made, according to a person familiar with the planning. In the past, photographer Annie Leibovitz has visited the White House and family homes in Delaware to photograph the Bidens and their granddaughters.
The White House says the Biden family will cover all costs related to the event.
“Consistent with other private events hosted by the first family and following the traditions of previous White House wedding parties in previous administrations, the Biden family will pay for wedding activities taking place at the White House,” Ms. Alexander wrote in an email.
Weddings at the White House – and receptions – held between members of the presidential family were relatively rare. In all, nine children of US presidents and one president, Grover Cleveland in 1886, were married in the White House.
The last reception was held in June 2008 to celebrate Jenna Bush’s wedding to Henry Hager after they were married a month earlier at President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. Both events were private.
In 1994, Tony Rodham, the younger brother of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, married Nicole Boxer, the daughter of Barbara Boxer, the former US senator from California. That event was also closed to reporters.
The last wedding of a presidential daughter was in June 1971, when Tricia Nixon, the daughter of President Richard M. Nixon and Pat Nixon, married Edward Finch Cox in the Rose Garden.
The first recorded wedding ceremony was in March 1812, when Lucy Payne Washington, the sister of Dolley Madison, the first lady, married Thomas Todd, a Supreme Court justice.