Miguel Hanson and Diana Wesley couldn't decide on a human to officiate their wedding, so they programmed a computer to do it. They got married this Saturday, and here's their story:
Hanson, a Houston web developer and IT consultant, created the minister software program when the couple couldn't get a friend to serve as the minister at their wedding. "I was like, you know I'm going to write my own minister," Hanson said.
Wesley, a high school sign language teacher, said she's aware of the nerd jokes that might come the couple's way once more people hear about the wedding. But the couple says being married by a computer fits who they are. They met through a website called "Sweet on Geeks" and love science fiction and fantasy.
"That's kind of our thing," Wesley said. "In fact, my maid of honor, she's making my cake and she's making it with Nerds (candy) as the topping and not icing. That's kind of the theme, the geeked out wedding."
[Oh ma ga! I love this idea! But NO frosting? Hmm...]
The ceremony will take place in Hanson's parents' backyard in Houston. Wesley, 30, said she wanted a small wedding, and the couple started planning it after Hanson, 33, proposed in May.
The computer will greet the couple's 30 or so guests in a mechanical, robotic voice, give a little history about how they met and then go through the ceremony. The virtual minister, nicknamed "Rev. Bit," also will crack a joke or two.
"If anyone here has anything to say that might change their minds or has any objections, they do not want to hear it and I will not recognize your objections since Miguel has programmed me to only recognize his commands," said the program during a preview that Hanson played on his home computer. It's HAL 9000 meets "Here Comes the Bride."
While Hanson wrote the software program, the couple collaborated on the text the computer will recite during the ceremony. They said their friends instantly like the idea. But some family members took a little longer to warm up to it. "A couple members of the family were like, `Really? A computer?' I think once they see it. ... It's novel and so it's something they haven't seen," Wesley said.
There's a video of the ceremony here, though the audio only worked about half the time for me.