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Wedding by Web cam

August 21, 2005|By MARIE GILBERT

marieg@herald-mail.net

HAGERSTOWN

It was a typical wedding day. Relatives were orchestrating last-minute preparations, guests were arriving for the ceremony and 3,000 miles away, the parents of the bride sat down in front of a computer, watching it all unfold.

When former Hagerstown resident Mary Beth Barney married Larry Murphy on Saturday, there was nothing she wanted more than to have her parents, John and Isabel Barney, be part of the ceremony.

But the wedding was in Seattle, and her father's heart problems prevented him from making the long trip.

So Mary Beth did the next best thing - she brought the wedding to them via Web cam.

The hookup took place in the computer lab of the Western Maryland Hospital Center, where the Barneys were able to watch and listen to the ceremony thanks to their longtime friend, N. Linn Hendershot, communications director at the center.

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"When their daughter found out that her parents couldn't make it to Seattle, she still wanted to find a way for them to be a part of her big day," Hendershot said. "She liked the idea of the Web cam, but her father's computer wasn't equipped to handle it. So I said, 'Why not do it here?'"

"This was the perfect solution," John Barney said. "My doctor tells me to let my body be the judge of what I can and can't do. I decided Seattle was just too long and tiring a trip."

As they waited for the ceremony to begin, both parents admitted this was an interesting way to witness a wedding.

"There's one good thing about not being there," Barney said. "As father of the bride, I'm not the least bit nervous."

Their daughter, a fifth-grade teacher in Seattle, made sure her parents felt involved by sending them a copy of the couple's wedding vows, as well as a corsage and boutonniere.

"But the flowers came a little too late," Isabel said. "We'll wear them to church tomorrow."

Hendershot also purchased a cake for the Barneys to enjoy following the ceremony and decorated the computer area with wedding decorations.

"I tried to make it special for them," he said.

Prior to the big event, the parents of the bride sat in front of the computer, watching the arrival of guests at the bridegroom's home, where the ceremony took place.

They also caught a glimpse of their son Ed, who, John Barney noted, was his stand-in for the day.

The ceremony was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., but was delayed while a few computer glitches were resolved.

When the ceremony finally began, the Barneys were all smiles.

"There she is," the couple said in unison as Mary Beth appeared on the computer screen.

Following the exchange of vows, the newlyweds chatted over the telephone with the Barneys.

"It was wonderful," Isabel told her daughter. "We are so glad we were able to be a part of this."

"This was extra special," John Barney said. "It's so incredible that we were able to watch it as it happened. What a wonderful day."

Barney gave a special thanks to Hendershot, "who made all this possible."

"He deserves a lot of credit," he said. "Without him, this would not have happened."

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