Technology helps pair miles apart tie the knot

Air Force couple wed via teleconference

November 27, 2005|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Colorado Springs, Colo. -- The nervous bride cried. The groom forgot the ring.

In most ways, Courtney Reynolds and Christopher Bowden's wedding, with its mix of tender and light-hearted moments, was like any other.

The difference was about 7,000 miles and 10 time zones. Staff Sgts. Reynolds and Bowden, both of the 21st Security Forces Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, were married via teleconference Friday. Reynolds recited her vows from a conference room at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs and Bowden from a similar room in Qatar.

"I just wish I could hold him," Reynolds said after the ceremony.

A series of scheduled and potential deployments could keep Reynolds, 26, and Bowden, 25, apart for several more months. After five years of dating, neither wanted to wait another day to marry.

First Sgt. Bryan Rainey arranged the ceremony after Reynolds told him the two planned to marry over the telephone. Rainey, who regularly attends international military teleconferences at the base, thought the technology could serve a happier purpose than usual.

"I always said I was going to be untraditional," said Reynolds, whose white veil was set off by her camouflage uniform and black combat boots.

She opted for military clothing instead of a wedding dress to match Bowden's camouflage uniform.

Reynolds' mother from Florida and her sister from New Jersey stood at her side in Colorado Springs, and, in another technological twist, a second sister in New Jersey listened to the wedding on a cell phone.

Chaplain Jonathon Runnels, who conducted the ceremony, asked them to seal the union with a kiss when Bowden returns.

The couple did the next best thing. Both kissed the video monitors.

"This is probably one of the happiest days of my life next to, I don't know, Atlanta losing the Super Bowl," Bowden said. "I love you, sweetheart."

The newlyweds ended the event in traditional style. Bowden cut into a lavishly iced cake surrounded by a heart-shaped circle of candles, and Reynolds tossed the bouquet into the hands of her best friend, Staff Sgt. Barbara Brooks.

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