MP's iso-style wintry wedding
IT was far removed from the Scottish summer wedding they originally planned when Andrew Wilkie and Clare Ballingall tied the knot in wintry Hobart last night.
The federal independent MP for Clark and Dr Ballingall, a GP originally from Scotland, had just four guests, their kids and a celebrant at their iso-style ceremony in Dr Ballingall's back garden.
"That's not including the guinea pigs, the chicken, the dog and three cats," Mr Wilkie said when the couple spoke with the Sunday Tasmanian ahead of their nuptials.
Dr Ballingall initially assumed Mr Wilkie was "a crusty old conservative" when she met him five years ago to lobby him over Medicare while representing the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
"I'd never met Andrew before, didn't really know who he was," she said.
A couple of years later they met again at a Doctors for Refugees rally.
"She apparently assumed I was a very conservative politician so might have been very pleasantly surprised to see me at a Doctors for Refugees rally," Mr Wilkie said.
Their first date, although there is some conjecture between the two on whether it was in fact a date ("Who wears black sequins to a business meeting on a Sunday night?" Mr Wilkie said), was to Hobart's tiny Templo restaurant.
"They had squeezed us in and put us on the only table available, which is literally about 50cm by 50cm, so they could only bring out one plate at a time and we had to eat off the same plate," Mr Wilkie recalled.
To commemorate that first awkward date-or-not-date, the couple had an at-home dinner provided by Templo as their wedding feast.
Dr Ballingall, who has lived in Tasmania since 2003, has been working with Public Health on the COVID-19 response in Hobart, in addition to her job at an after-hours GP clinic.
She said the pandemic had given the couple a sense of urgency, or a desire to "live life to the fullest".
"My dad died last year and we had decided that we'd get married in Scotland in a lovely little registry office on the banks of the River Forth, but then coronavirus happened," Dr Ballingall said.
She said she knew what she was in for, marrying a well-known politician.
Between them the couple has five children, aged nine to 13.
Originally published as Pictures: Wilkie's iso-style wintry wedding