This holiday season, Pence, 26, will be the first vice presidential offspring since Karenna Gore to celebrate a marriage at the residence located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory.
“I just really like the idea of family all being in someone’s home, around a wedding,” Pence told USA TODAY. “And it’s special to me that it’ll be a fact that people might talk about in the future…people that come to visit the house or live here in the future.”
The ceremony itself will be in the chapel of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, the alma mater of her fiancée, Henry Bond, 27, who comes from a long line of Navy families.
Plus, the academy is one of the first places the couple visited when they started dating.
Pence was introduced to Bond through her brother, Michael, a pilot in the Marine Corps who shared a Bible studies class with Bond when both were in flight school training in Mississippi.
During Pence’s frequent phone calls to her brother to talk politics, religion and philosophy, Michael Pence kept interjecting that he’d just had a similar conversation with his friend Bond.
“He started conspiring a little with his wife, talking about how Henry really reminded them of me,” Charlotte Pence said. So her brother and sister-in-law introduced them at their own 2017 wedding celebration in Indiana.
“Henry and I just shared a lot of the same views about life and faith and I think that they were excited to see if anything happened,” she said.
Bond proposed to Pence in July, an event she shared on her Instagram account with a photo of the couple along with the caption: “I said ‘yes,’ and then I said ‘thanks’ a lot because I didn’t know what else to say. I love you. Let’s do this.”
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Because they wanted to marry before Bond deploys next year, the pair didn’t have much time to plan a wedding. Texts have been flying among family members for months.
“Even with everybody’s busy schedules, we’ve all talked every day about it,” she said.
Vice President Mike Pence got teary-eyed when his middle child showed him a picture of her wedding dress.
Charlotte Pence doesn’t want to describe the dress before the wedding because Bond doesn’t know what it looks like.
“I can tell you, it’s bigger than I thought I would want,” she said. “It’s definitely not what I was expecting to get. He knows that, but he doesn’t know anything else about it.”
A daisy pin that her grandmother gave to her Karen Pence for Karen’s wedding will be tucked into Charlotte’s veil.
“That’s one of the most rewarding things in our life right now,” Karen Pence said of the engagements of both Charlotte and the Pences’ younger daughter, Audrey, who also got engaged this year. “The joy for us is we love the young men who are going to be joining our family. And to know that our daughters have found the person that they want to live the rest of their life with is very rewarding.”
Audrey will be her sister’s maid of honor. Michael’s wife, Sarah, is one of the bridesmaids.
Bond, who has a lot of siblings and many friends, will have 12 groomsmen to Pence’s 9 bridesmaids.
“We talked about trying to make the numbers even,” Pence said. “And I said, ‘Just include who you want. It’s a big day.’”
A couple hundred people are expected to attend the wedding on a date Pence didn’t want to name in advance for security reasons.
Dressed in burgundy, the bridesmaids will proceed into the chapel to “King of My Heart.” Pence wanted the more contemporary song instead of a traditional processional piece because of its message of Jesus being the center of a person’s life.
For one of the readings, the couple chose a verse from Ecclesiastes describing how a cord of three strands – an intertwining of the spouses and God – is not easily broken.
“That’s really how we want to start our marriage and continue with it,” she said.
When they leave the chapel as husband and wife, they’ll walk under a traditional military arch of crossed swords.
The reception at the vice presidential residence will include dancing to a disc jockey, rather than the star power that Aretha Franklin brought to Gore’s reception in 1997.
“We’re pretty low key about it,” Pence said. “But that sounds really fun.”
She’s keeping private the song that she will dance to with her father.
“That’s kind of between us. But my dad and I have kind of had a song forever,” she said. “I think that will be a really emotional moment for us.”
More:Life lessons Charlotte Pence learned from her VP father and shares in new book
Mike and Karen Pence have shared plenty of advice with the young couple, including how to handle the uncertainties and frequent moves that are common to both a life in politics and in the military.
“My parents are used to moving a lot and have taken a lot of risks in their life,” Charlotte Pence said. “And I think that’s something Henry and I bonded over, that we both wanted to take risks.”
Bond has had to adjust to some of the facets that come with marrying into the vice presidential family, such as a lack of privacy and a security detail. But he understands all of that will fade with time, and what’s most important is their bond and their family, Pence said.
“Something that I really love about him is that he has really always been interested in me and not my last name,” Pence said, “ever.”
Although all three siblings grew up in the public spotlight from their father’s 12 years in Congress and four years as Indiana’s governor, Charlotte is the only one who has developed her own public profile since her dad became vice president. After traveling with her parents on the 2016 campaign trail, she published “Where You Go: Life Lessons from My Father” in 2018.
While studying religion and literature at Harvard Divinity School where she is working on a masters degree, Pence has also collaborated with her mother on books for children about the family’s pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo, who has his own Instagram account. In the most recent book, which came out in October, Marlon hops around the residence as the family prepares for Christmas.
So will Marlon wiggle his way into the wedding reception?
He’s not invited but….
“Who knows?” Pence said. “Maybe there will be a picture at some point of Marlon on the dance floor.”