(or: how two people living in completely different parts of the world
So yeah, this is not your average relationship. Although the number of online relationships has grown massively since the Internet became a mainstream thing, they're still a comparative minority compared to the regular boy-meets-girl which happens to most people. But we never claimed to be most people.
We first met on an IRC channel called #afd, which stands for alt.fan.dragons. I (being Graham as opposed to Heidi) had been a fairly regular visitor to the channel since 1995, my first year at university; Heidi started visiting some considerable time later on the suggestion of a friend. Apparently she was there quite regularly for a while, but I never noticed...
We first started talking after an argument brewed up on the channel about people from different nations. We really didn't seem to agree - in fact Heidi's assured me that she thought I was a bit of an idiot - but afterwards she messaged me and we talked about it some more, and I think concluded that we didn't disagree quite as much as we thought. She told me a bit about her past, about living in Africa and then moving back to the US, to explain her viewpoint, and I in turn tried to clarify where I was coming from. Over the next few days there were a couple of occasions like this where a discussion in channel became a private discussion, and we began to chat regularly. This was now October 1998.
By December we were talking about meeting each other. Heidi was initially reluctant, but then agreed that I could come and see her at her college, Smith College. Having never been to the US before, in January 1999 I bought a plane ticket to Boston and was met at the airport by Heidi. About halfway through my weeklong visit, we went out for a meal at a restaurant, went to the cinema to see Shakespeare in Love... and later, we kissed.
We met several times over the next 3 years - once in Paris, once in California, twice in Seattle (when Heidi's parents were kind enough to let me stay for several months), once in Switzerland, once in England. In between we chatted online regularly, spoke often on the phone, and fell more and more in love. When Heidi came to England in December 2001, we flew to Amsterdam and I proposed to her on a bridge over a canal, and she accepted. Whereupon the bell in the tower of the nearby church tolled ominously...
And so nearly a year (and, incidentally, lots of bureacratic nonsense with immigration paperwork) later, we're to be married in Seattle, hence this webpage. Hopefully you can find any information you may want or need about the wedding here; if not, just e-mail Myself or Heidi and we'll try to help!
* Apparently this is a film starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis. I am proud to profess my ignorance of this fact.