THEY MET LAST OCTOBER AT THE Washington home of former congressman Tom Downey, a mutual family friend. They courted in November at the Clinton-Gore victory blowout in Little Rock. But Karenna Gore, 23, eldest daughter of Vice President Al Gore, and Dr. Andrew Schiff, 31, swear their union is all passion and no politics. "I am so happy to have met her," Schiff, a primary-care physician in New York City and the son of financier David Schiff, told PEOPLE. "You can sense it from my voice."

Loud and clear. Yet considering the couple's lineage (the groom is a descendant of 19th-century banker Jacob Schiff, who was one of the richest men in the U.S.), their July 12 nuptials, held at Washington's National Cathedral, where Al and Tipper Gore had wed 27 years earlier, were tastefully understated. The bride, a 1995 Harvard grad who will start law school this fall, wore a simple but exquisite ivory satin Vera Wang gown. Violinist Mark O'Connor played the "Appalachia Waltz" during the otherwise traditional ceremony, in which, said one guest, "every single moment was just perfect."

As was the rocking reception. In a tent outside the vice-presidential residence, more than 300 guests sampled the seven-tiered wedding cake. Aretha Franklin sang "The Way I Love You." And President Clinton, without Hillary (visiting Europe with Chelsea), took to the floor with Karenna's sister Sarah, 18. "On a scale of 1 to 10," says guest Joe Califano, HEW secretary in the Carter administration, "this wedding was 100."