President Biden’s oldest grandchild Naomi Biden got married at the White House over the weekend—but the first granddaughter and her now-husband, fellow lawyer Peter Neal, declined to allow the press corps to cover the event, despite the fact that “the ceremony was outdoors on the grounds of what the president and first lady call the ‘people’s house,’ ” as one indignant Associated Press reporter pointed out. Their decision left journalists huddling outside the White House gates in the 40-degree weather, but perhaps even worse, it left inquiring minds with several unanswered questions. Here are some of the biggies.
The couple lives at the White House? Yes, several of the write-ups of the wedding casually mentioned that Naomi and Peter live at the White House, then attributed this information to anonymous sources. Uh, what? I don’t begrudge the two mooching off of Pop and Grandma Dr. Jill, but—well, maybe I do. My tax dollars! (Just kidding—given how explicit the Bidens were about how they were paying for this wedding, not the American people, I’m sure they’re following the letter of the law when it comes to the residence. Which means … Naomi and Peter pay rent? Who knows.) In any case, you’d think them living there would be more widely known. Practically entire books have been written about Eleanor Roosevelt’s supposed lover moving into the White House with her, so you’d think a grandchild secretly living there would be more of a scandal, or at the very least inspire some headlines decrying her as a lazy millennial.
Why the South Lawn and not the Rose Garden? Has the Rose Garden been done to death? Relatively speaking, since only 19 couples have ever gotten married at the White House, the last three (going back to Tricia Nixon) in the Rose Garden.
Who does Naomi look like in these pictures? Adele. The answer is Adele.
Is getting married at the White House cool or would it actually be kind of lame? This one is less question with an objective answer and more a discussion topic for the class. I think it would confer a special halo of fanciness and importance around the event, but a colleague protested that the screening procedure would be annoyingly intense and that the venue would overshadow the couple getting married. Obviously Naomi picked the White House herself!
Where are the pics of Hunter? A weary nation clamors for some photos of our favorite slightly sleazy member of the Biden family, who walked the bride, his daughter, down the aisle (along with her mother, Hunter’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle). But the cruel White House gave us only a shot of the couple with the president and first lady Jill Biden. We want Hunter!
What do the NDAs for the wedding vendors look like for a wedding like this? The couple worked with a high-profile wedding planner who has reportedly been known to require NDAs—those must make for interesting reading.
Was there any five-dimensional chess going on with the date of this wedding? It happened the same weekend—the day before, in fact—as Biden’s 80th birthday, an occasion his administration was probably hoping to downplay, given that it makes him America’s oldest-ever president. You have to admit a wedding is a good distraction. Also, Tiffany Trump’s wedding was just last week. Also also, what if the Democrats had done really badly in the midterms—wouldn’t that have been a mood killer? Or, was it planned as a potential pick-me-up?
What do we think of the high neckline on Naomi’s dress? Another one for the class. I can’t say I loved it, but to each her own.
What did Naomi’s other dress look like? Like Tiffany Trump, Naomi wore a different dress to the reception than she did to the ceremony—I really don’t know that we should be setting the standard that two dresses are necessary, but OK—and there seem to be no public pictures of it anywhere. What did it look like! Tell us! (But if we have to choose, we do want the Hunter pics more.)
Is everyone going to want a cathedral-length veil now? Washingtonian thinks so.
Are the rest of the Biden grandchildren jealous of Naomi? She kind of already seemed like the favorite grandchild. And, as we just found out, she lives in the White House!
How did they manage to get all those flowers in a massive flower shortage? Yes, we’re currently in a massive flower shortage, please keep up. I guess the first family has their ways.
Who decided which guests got hand warmers? The AP reported, curiously, that due to the cold weather, “Some guests were given hand warmers.” Some guests—which means that some guests didn’t get hand warmers. So what determined whether you got a hand warmer or not? Did you only get one if you looked particularly cold? Was there a designated usher put in charge of distributing the hand warmers, and did guests performatively shiver and say “brrr” in front of him so they would get them?
Who wore open-toed shoes to the wedding, and do they regret it? The AP also reported that guests arrived at the wedding hours before the ceremony, “including women in open-toed shoes despite the chill.” Wow. The AP really didn’t have to expose these ladies like that. Imagine your winter dressing peccadillos making the newswires! This reads as the journalists exacting a tiny dose of revenge at the wedding party for not letting them in.
Is “Bitter Sweet Symphony” a good wedding-aisle song? Sample lyrics: “ ’Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, that’s life / Tryna make ends meet, you’re a slave to money then you die.” Hmm.
Are Naomi and Neal big fans of the 2005 Cameron Diaz/Toni Collette dramedy In Her Shoes? In that movie, there’s a reading of the e. e. cummings poem “I Carry Your Heart With Me” at a wedding, and this wedding reportedly had one too. If yes, well they must have good taste, because I love that movie. If not, I concede that there are other ways people might know that poem.
Does that bee who landed on Naomi’s dress know that it could have had a moment of viral fame à la the fly who landed on Mike Pence at a vice presidential debate in 2020, if only more press had been allowed into the wedding? Apparently a bee landed on Naomi during the ceremony, which her new husband “tenderly” brushed off of her. What if that bee had been waiting years for its big break? Only to be denied it, all because no journalists were on site? Maybe it will have a second chance with Naomi on the grounds someday.