You May Now Kiss The Bride….

March 31, 2007

While kissing his bride was difficult to do, with 6000 seperating the bride and groom, Minnesota National Guard Soldier, Spc Abraham Rhode didn’t let that stop him from marrying his fiancee, Amanda Hart. Currently serving in Iraq, Spc. Rhode was supposed to come home from Iraq this month to help his fiancee plan their wedding which was scheduled for August. His deployment was extended, and they learned that they had a baby on the way, so they decided that they would exchange their marriage vows over a video teleconference.

More and more, videoteleconferencing technology has been used to allow soldiers and their families to share a few moments together. That allows the soldiers to feel more connected to their families back home and experiencing some of the life-changing events that happen, such as the graduation of a child, a birth, memorial services. Rhode and Hart aren’t the first couples to use the technology to exchange their wedding vows, a few others have as well.

“With our unit being extended over there, a lot of people just decided they didn’t want to be single any longer, regardless of how they have to do it,” said Phil Stephan, the video operations manager for the Minnesota National Guard.

Rhode, who is a member of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry of the Minnesota National Guard said that while he was happy after he exchanged vows with his now wife, he couldn’t wait to see his bride in person.

“Honestly, I will be overjoyed to see her,” he said. “You miss out on a whole bunch of little things. I’m missing out on the pregnancy … but I’m happy to be here and be serving my country.”

Hart called Rhode her ‘knight in shining armor’ and shared that his calm and cool demeanor balances out her outgoing personality. She shared confindence that their marriage would work.

For the wedding, Hart wore a knee-length white skirt, a white blazer and strappy white shoes. She carried a bouquet of mixed flowers and her father excorted her into the room at the National Guard Armory, for the beginning of the ceremony. Her father remained and she continued to clutch his arm during the ceremony. She was accompanied by about a dozen friends and family who wittnessed the ceremony as well. The ceremony was performed by Lt. Col. Joel Severson who is the National Guard Chaplain.

“Abe and Many, I don’t know if you could’ve imagined you day could be quite like this,” joked Lt. Col. Severson.

While it was far from the fairytale wedding that Hart imagined, she was happy that the National Guard helped to make the wedding a reality. Their plans are to have a formal, in-person ceremony in Florida next summer. Their plans are to live in Shakopee, Minnesota once Rhode returns from his deployment.

According to Stephan, this was the 4th teleconference wedding that the Minnesota National Guard has had. One couple was married while the servicemember was deployed in Kosovo and two were married just last month, while the soldiers were in Iraq.

When their vows were exchanged and they were told to kiss the bride, Rhode blew his now wife a long-distance kiss.


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