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What you need to know about Naomi Biden’s wedding at the White House

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The invitations came on thick, cream-colored paper with a well-known seal embossed and written in navy blue calligraphy. “The President and Dr. Biden request the honor of your presence at their granddaughter’s wedding…”

On Saturday, Naomi Biden will marry Peter Neal on the South Lawn of the White House. That much we know. With the White House treating the wedding of President Biden’s granddaughter as a top secret mission and refusing to answer even the Washington Post’s most general questions, that seems to be all the public would want to know.

Most of the couple’s friends, sensitive to their life in the public eye, also declined to comment on The Post’s questions about the wedding, or even the basic story of their courtship. That leaves reporters and the curious public to glean details from the tidbits posted on social media by the couple and their friends. Here’s what we know about the couple and their big day.

A History of White House Weddings

Who is the happy couple and how did they meet?

Naomi, 28, and Peter, 25, were set up by a mutual friend and met on a date in New York City in 2018 while Naomi was studying law at Columbia University. “These two fell in love after two days,” friend Asha-Kai Grant wrote in a caption to a photo of the couple she posted to Instagram last year.

Now they live together on the third floor of the White House. Naomi is an attorney focused on international arbitration in the DC office of law firm Arnold & Porter, and Peter became an associate at the Georgetown Law Center on National Security after graduating from law school at the University of Pennsylvania in May. She went to Penn for undergrad and he attended George Washington University.

Their life in DC is not much different from that of many other young professionals, except for the home address of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. They traveled—Austria, Italy, Wyoming, Delaware—and made the rounds of celebration at White House correspondents’ dinner weekend. They share a fluffy brown dog named Charlie and bond with first lady Jill Biden’s cat, Willow. Naomi calls the president ‘Pop’ and the first lady ‘Nana’.

Naomi is the eldest daughter of the president’s youngest son, Hunter, and his ex-wife Kathleen Buhle. Her parents met while working for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Portland, Oregon. Naomi was named after the president’s firstborn daughter, who died in a car accident at the age of 1, along with his first wife, Neilia, in 1972. Both Hunter and his older brother Beau were in the car and spent months in the hospital. Hopital.

All three of Hunter’s daughters, Naomi, Finnegan and Maisy, attended Sidwell Friends, an elite private school in Washington, while their father ran his own lobbying firm and later became a consultant during the years Biden was vice president under Barack Obama. Hunter and Kathleen divorced in 2017, during a tumultuous period in Hunter’s life when he was a heavy drug user, as he recounted in his recent memoir, “Beautiful Things.”

The bride has been active in her grandfather’s career. She called a family gathering in 2019, where she, her two younger sisters and their cousins ​​urged him to run for president against Donald Trump.

She is also friends with Tiffany Trump, whose own wedding was last week. They were in the same class at the University of Pennsylvania, and her grandparents attended the same graduation ceremony as Trump in 2016. Tiffany posted a selfie of herself and Naomi in the Hamptons in 2018 adorned with two intertwined hearts.

Wait, tell me more about the groom!

Peter grew up in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and is the son of two doctors: William Neal and Mary C. Neal. He has a sister, Betsy, and two brothers, Eliot and Willie. Like the Bidens, the Neals have experienced tragedy within their family. Willie died in 2009 when he was hit by a car in Maine while roller skating. His mother has also faced death – during a kayaking expedition in Chile in 1999, she was pinned underwater by a waterfall for nearly 30 minutes. Her near-death experience (she says she was technically dead for several minutes) is the subject of her two books, “To Heaven and Back” and “7 Lessons from Heaven.”

Peter studied political communication at university. He later interned at the White House while Obama was in office and was the grandfather of his fiancée Vice President. He has since worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, did a stint at the Atlantic Council, and interned at the Justice Department before moving into his current position in Georgetown.

There’s a South Lawn ceremony on Saturday at 11 a.m. and then a “cake and dancing” reception at 7:30 p.m., according to the invites. Some guests were only invited to the dessert portion of the evening. According to one guest, cell phones are banned at the event, so don’t expect anyone to Instagram from the dance floor.

On Thursday morning, Peter posted a photo of the couple at the DC Marriage Bureau, posing under a bow of white tulle. His caption indicated that they were there to pick up their marriage certificate, proving that even White House weddings are not exempt from bureaucracy.

Who plans the wedding?

Bryan Rafanelli, who is considered one of the top wedding planners in the country, and who has hosted numerous events for the White House, is doing the wedding for the Bidens, according to Politico. Expect a blowout: Dramatic lighting, lush floral backdrops and romantic candlelit table settings make up his magical signature look. Fireworks are possible. Rafanelli is no stranger to White House grounds or protocol, having hosted more than a dozen events there for the Obamas, including state dinners and holiday decorations. His Boston firm Rafanelli Events planned Chelsea Clinton’s lavish wedding for 450 guests in Rhinebeck, NY and wrote the introduction to his book “A Great Party: Designing the Perfect Celebration.” Rafanelli, who demands confidentiality agreements from his suppliers, would not comment on this story.

What do we know about the dress?

We don’t know who designed it, but there seem to be several designers in the running. Ralph Lauren is a classic American brand that the president wore at his inauguration. The bride has worn the designer many times and attended the brand’s Fall/Winter 2022 fashion show in New York City in March with her sister Finnegan. Ralph Lauren declined to say whether it was involved – which could very well mean the company was involved and pleased with the speculation.

The bride was once an intern for Tom Ford in the public relations department and carried Valentino to her grandfather’s inauguration. Valentino is known for his bridal collections. She also adores Christian Siriano and Veronica Beard. The first lady has a close relationship with Reem Acra, another well-known gown designer.

Brides editor Gabriella Rello Duffy says people care about all the details of the Biden wedding. “I definitely expect this to set some trends and whatever Naomi does will impact weddings for years to come,” added Duffy. Jill Biden’s dress will be copied by mothers of the bride and grandmothers of the bride, she says.

“We think it will be another marriage milestone in history. Like Chelsea Clinton’s wedding or looking back at Grace Kelly and Tricia Nixon,” says Duffy. “This is going to be really special.”

Peter proposed to Naomi with an emerald cut diamond ring made by Shah & Shah Distinctive Jewelers in D.C. Jeweler Colin Shah says the gemstone is about two carats.

When Peter was preparing to propose: “He took both her sisters out of college, they came and looked at everything,” Shah told The Post. “He was very sweet all the time. He wanted to make sure he got a beautiful, high quality stone. He wanted to make sure it was something she liked. He was excited.”

Peter also brought his grandmother’s gold wedding ring, which was melted down and incorporated into Naomi’s band, says Shah. “He wanted part of his family to be transferred into their family.”

Peter proposed in Wyoming in September 2021, and both families were there to celebrate.

Find good friends of the Bidens and of course the whole family. Jill Biden’s special adviser, Anthony Bernal, was key to the planning, along with the first lady’s director of communications, Elizabeth Alexander.

Naomi’s boyfriend Grant — a likely bridesmaid, if their social media closeness is any indication — is a producer for “Saturday Night Live.” Grant and Naomi attended Sidwell Friends school together, and she’s traveled to Jackson Hole with the couple, according to photos tagged on Instagram. On Wednesday, Grant posted an Instagram story of her and fellow Biden pal Mia Seder at a nail salon, tagging Naomi with the phrase, “Let the festivities begin.”

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