Biden granddaughter latest marriage at The White House

Published 2:15 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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By Betty Etchison West

For the Enterprise

The next White House wedding took place 19 years on Oct. 19, 2013.  The wedding of Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer, and Patti Lease in the Rose Garden was the most private of all the White House weddings.

The President kept asking Souza when he and Patti, who had been a couple for 19 years, were going to get married. The President then offered to let them get married at the White House. Souza was surprised at the offer, and he and his finance’ accepted.  He said, “It gives people a sense that I had a unique relationship with Obama that he would insist I have the wedding at the White House.”

Pete Souza and Patti Lease were married in the Rose Garden.  White House Military Chaplain Stanley Fornea performed the ceremony before thirty-five family and friends.  Souza said,  “I was so honored as was my wife to have my wedding at the White House.  Not many people can say that.”

Souza, who has bachelor’s and a master’s degrees, was the official photographer for President Reagan and President Obama.

After he left the White House at the end of Obama’s second term, Sousa published several interesting books.

The last wedding to be held at the White House as of this date, Sept. 22, 2023, was that of the oldest granddaughter of President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden – Noami Biden, daughter of Hunter Biden and his first wife, Kathleen Buhle.

Noami and Peter Neal, the son of Drs. Mary and William Neal, of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, were married on Nove. 19, 2022  on the South Lawn of the White House with a view of the Washington Monument. They were the first couple to be married at that particular location. Two hundred and twenty-five guests braved the cold that morning to witness the marriage of 28-year-old Noami Biden and 25-year-old Peter Neal.

Noami and Peter were married at 11 a.m. on that unseasonably cold day.  After the wedding, the President and First Lady hosted a luncheon in the State Dining Room for family members and members of the bridal party. All the wedding guests were invited back to the White House in the evening for dessert and dancing.

Rafanelli, who had also planned another White House wedding, was the planner for the Biden/Neal wedding.  When the couple said that they wanted their wedding to be a private affair, he made sure that it was private. There was no media coverage. Even though the wedding was taking place at the People’s House, the First Family felt justified in making it a private affair because they were paying for all the festivities.

Noami Biden, who received her Juris Degree from Columbia Law School in 2020, and Peter Neal, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, got engaged in Jackson Hole, the groom’s hometown in September 2021. Peter gave Noami his grandmother’s repurposed wedding band to which an emerald -cut diamond was added. From that day in September 2021,  The planning for the 19th wedding at the White House, which was in described in the first paragraphs of this article, began to take shape.

The bride, who walked down the aisle with her mother and father, wore a long sleeve, high necked dress with a train and a long veil which was designed by Ralph Lauren.  Noami wore elegant pearl and diamond earrings from Tiffany’s.  When the guests came back in the evening for dessert and then for dancing, Noami wore a white beaded fringe dress by Markarian’s Alexandro O’Neal.  By the way, the wedding cake was seven feet tall.  Noami and Peter had to climb a ladder to cut that cake.

The President and his wife had always been close to Noami, their oldest grandchild, who was named for Mr. Biden’s daughter who died in the car wreck which also killed her mother, Biden’s first wife.

As Noami grew up, Joe Biden and his second wife, Jill, took a special interest in that first granddaughter.  They went to all the athletic and school activities in which she was involved.  Because they had always been so close, it was natural that Noami chose to get married at the place which at that time was her grandparents’ home.

The grandparents said, “It has been such a joy to watch Noami grow, discover who she is, and crave out an incredible life for herself.   Now we are filled with pride to see her choose Peter as her husband and we welcome him to our family.  We wish them days full of laughter and a love that grows deeper with every passing year. “

Peter Neal, an attorney, is an Associate at Georgetown Law Center on National Security.  Noami Biden Neal, who is also an attorney, is an associate of the law firm, Arnold and Porter.  The young couple is living on the third floor of the White House.  One floor up from Noami’s grandparents which seems to be a fine plan for all because President Biden always loved having his oldest granddaughter near-by.

Noami put the following caption on a group of her wedding pictures–“Love you forever; like you for always.”

That is a good ending to this series of articles about White House weddings—19 in all with only two of those occurring in the 21st Century.