Biden's granddaughter Naomi gets married at the White House on Saturday President Biden's granddaughter, Naomi Biden, was married on Saturday at the White House. Here's a look at the history of White House weddings.

Naomi Biden joins a unique club: brides who say 'I do' at the White House

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

President Biden's eldest granddaughter is about to join a rare club. This weekend, Naomi Biden will become one of the few people to say I do at the White House. NPR's Barbara Spunt brings us this report on the history of weddings at what may be the most exclusive address in the nation.

BARBARA SPRUNT, BYLINE: President Biden is known for having a very close relationship with his family. A few months ago, his granddaughter, Naomi Biden, told the world that she and her fiance, Peter Neal, would get married on the South Lawn. They're the 19th couple ever to tie the knot at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Some of these past weddings were small family gatherings. But that wasn't the case in 1967.

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SPRUNT: President Lyndon Johnson's daughter Lynda was getting married to Chuck Robb. Television crews captured it all. Years later, she recalled how nervous she was.

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LYNDA JOHNSON: I took a lot of deep breaths first. And I had practiced walking up and down the steps in that long gown because you didn't want to trip and you didn't want to be looking at your feet all the time.

SPRUNT: The president, who had a reputation for being rather brusk, spoke at the reception the night before.

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LYNDON JOHNSON: I suppose that all fathers worry a little bit about the man who will go out with their daughters, and of course I'm no exception. The job that I hold does have certain advantages.

(LAUGHTER)

SPRUNT: He pulled out the Secret Service reports of the groom's comings and goings from the White House.

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JOHNSON: This first report starts out Saturday, 2 p.m. - completed Sunday 3 a.m.

SPRUNT: The president smiled and tore them up.

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JOHNSON: Chuck, here's all your bachelor past reduced to a bunch of wedding confetti.

SPRUNT: Four years later, President Richard Nixon was in the White House when his daughter, Tricia, got engaged. The press spent months covering every detail of the wedding - the gown, the guest list. There was even drama surrounding the nearly 7-foot-tall wedding cake that had been dubbed Washington's newest monument. A scaled-down recipe of the six-tiered lemon cake was shared to the public, but kitchens across the country called it a sloppy mess. Coverage was so intense, the White House had to release an update. Here's NPR on June 3, 1971.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Well, if you have your pencil and paper ready, we now have the revised White House recipe on Tricia Nixon's wedding cake. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

SPRUNT: It's a reminder that this was a national affair, the public getting involved with the closest thing the U.S. has to royalty.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Why don't you call us at National Public Radio tomorrow on the telephone and tell us how this recipe worked out?

SPRUNT: Tricia Nixon faced a planning hurdle most weddings wouldn't have to deal with. It was during the Vietnam War, and protesters gathered daily outside the White House gates with bullhorns. Lucy Breathitt was the White House social secretary in the Nixon administration. She told me about the moment Tricia Nixon said she was engaged.

LUCY BREATHITT: We all, you know, squealed and yelled and jumped up and down, and we were so happy. But where to have the wedding?

SPRUNT: A fan of outdoor weddings, Breathitt suggested the Rose Garden.

BREATHITT: Bingo, she said. That's what we'll do.

SPRUNT: Afterwards, Breathitt went to inspect the venue and...

BREATHITT: Can you guess what I did not see any of in the Rose Garden?

SPRUNT: ...Not a rose in sight.

BREATHITT: So we began moving heaven and earth.

SPRUNT: News of the wedding dominated the airwaves, including NPR.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: The event is being treated much as if it were a coronation, a moon shot and a holy day all wrapped up into one.

SPRUNT: And on the day itself, the thing every wedding planner fears - pouring rain. But unlike most couples, the Nixons had a special tool at their disposal. Here's Breathitt.

BREATHITT: We stayed in radio contact with the Air Force weather bureau - open telephone line.

SPRUNT: She says eventually, they were told the rain would stop for 35 minutes.

BREATHITT: I ran around and put the cushions in all the chairs that had been in place.

SPRUNT: The intel was right, and the wedding ceremony was underway.

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EDWARD G LATCH: Dear friends, we are gathered together to unite Patricia and Edward in marriage.

SPRUNT: The public would later watch footage of the bride and her father waltzing in the White House; a feel-good moment in a troubled time, says White House historian Stewart McLaurin.

STEWART MCLAURIN: Those were very difficult times, not dissimilar to some of the things that we're experiencing now. And to have a moment of living vicariously through this young bride and groom, I think that was just a moment of happiness on the part of the American people.

SPRUNT: There's intense curiosity about the Biden wedding this weekend, a private party that the family is paying for, not taxpayers. The details are still under wraps. But as someone who's already organized one White House wedding and knows what a big undertaking it is, Breathitt has a piece of advice for Naomi Biden.

BREATHITT: Be brave. Be brave. I certainly do wish them well.

SPRUNT: Barbara Sprunt, NPR News, Washington.

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