Tuesday November 5th, 1996
Love bytes on the Internet
Was this the world's first cyber wedding?
By DIANE GRABHAM
INTERNET sweethearts Andrew Hunt, 33 from
Millstream Gardens, Wellington, and Lisa Grosso, 40, from West
Palm Beach, Florida, were finally wed in Taunton last Friday
in what is thought to be the world's first Internet wedding.
But the cyber ceremony wasn't without its problems and at one
point it looked likely to be cancelled when the link to the Internet
was cut. But eventually the problems were overcome and the ceremony
continued two and a half hours late.
The couple's whirlwind computer romance began less than six months
ago when Andrew, codename Cloud9, and Lisa, known as Starr, first
met on the world wide computer link system, the Internet.
Within weeks of meeting each other in person, Andrew, a laboratory
assistant at Relyon, and Lisa, an interior designer, began planning
what they think is the world's first cyber wedding.
The day had started with a conventional wedding
ceremony at Taunton Register Office where the guests, including
Andrew's parents, Paul and Jean and his eight-year-old son, Christopher,
were almost outnumbered by the many television crews and reporters.
It was not until the evening that the affair moved into the technological
era when the wedding party took over Taunton Cyber Cafe on the
corner of St James' Street. Keyboards and screens were set up
for the couple to make their vows and the guests could follow
the typed responses on large television screens.
Hundreds of guests from all over the world were logging into
their computers to follow the cyber ceremony overloading the
system making it impossible for the couple to link up with the
Rev Peter Murphy who was waiting in his New Forest vicarage to
perform the blessing.
Eventually this problem was solved and the cyber ceremony began,
but came to an abrupt halt again just as Lisa was poised to type
"I will". This time the problem was much bigger as
it appeared the cyber cafe had lost its connection with the outside
Lisa and Andrew stayed remarkably calm as Phil Ikin and the staff
at Taunton Cyber frantically tried to reconnect. Eventually the
cause was traced to a hole in the road on the corner of Corporation
Street where BT engineers had been working to repair a cable
severed by a digger earlier in the day.
Arrangements were quickly made to set up two special computer
links and the marriage blessing was completed just in time for
the link up with the USA for the second legal ceremony of the
day conducted by the Rev Mike Bugal in Seattle, Washington.
"It wouldn't have been a true internet wedding without a
few technical problems," said Andrew. "It's not as
easy as speaking on the telephone, but you have to remember you're
at the forefront of technology."
The couple will be going on honeymoon to Florida when they will
be accompanied by Andrew's eight-year-old son Christopher.
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