Gingrich Weds in Simple Ceremony

Saturday, August 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and one-time congressional aide Callista Bisek were married Friday night in a private ceremony in a hotel courtyard.

About 150 friends and relatives attended the ceremony under a tent at the Morrison House hotel in this Washington suburb. A local policeman kept reporters and a few bystanders behind a fence on the sidewalk a few feet away as a darkening sky threatened rain.

Gingrich, in tails, walked smiling into the small courtyard to the strains of Pachelbel's Canon played by a string quintet. Bisek wore a white, strapless dress with short train. The four bridesmaids, one of whom moments earlier had sung ``Ave Maria,'' wore black gowns and held small rose bouquets.

The service was conducted by former House chaplain the Rev. James Ford. Gingrich's half-brother, Randy McPherson, and a friend of Bisek, Mary Jo Kamish, served as best man and maid of honor. Gingrich's half-sister, Candace, also was in attendance, clad in a hot-pink suit.

After the vows, the wedding party and guests made their way back into the hotel — almost completely rented out for the occasion — and dined on many courses of Georgia, Wisconsin and Chesapeake fare, representing Gingrich and Bisek's home states, and where they live now. A white chocolate cake with raspberries completed the evening, along with Nicholas Feuillate champagne.

It was the third marriage for Gingrich, 57, and the first for his 34-year-old bride. Gingrich was divorced from his second wife, Marianne, in December 1999 after 18 years of marriage. He divorced his first wife, Jackie, his high school geometry teacher, after 19 years.