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updated 07/03/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/03/2000 01:00AM

World Wide Woo
A pair of logged-on lovebirds take their love e-ffair to the altar

If Greg Gambina and Heather Edwards's courtship had been any more wired, their wedding theme would be the soundtrack from The Matrix. Having met through America Online's personals—Edwards logged on just "to make fun of all the dorks," she says—the digital duo broadcast their betrothal on the Web. Gambina, 38, an AOL producer and cameraman, was filming a New Year's party when he asked freelance writer Edwards, 35, to reach into his camera case—where she found an engagement ring.

Now the pair (and divorcée Edwards's two kids) share a Santa Clarita, Calif., house they found through Reaftor.com. They haven't set a wedding date, but they've registered for gardening gadgets at Della.com, browsed invitations and gowns at WeddingChannel.com and UltimateWedding.com and checked out honeymoon destinations at www.sandals.com. The Net also keeps their everyday romance electric: "Sometimes," says Heather, "we instant-message each other, 'Hey, how's your day going? Thinking of you.' "

Hold the Blenders! We'll Take Microsoft

The designer cheese grater was the last straw. Georgetown University M.B.A. student Gino Heilizer, 31, was adding the gizmo to the wedding-gift registry for him and his fiancée, Christina, 29, a photo editor (right), when he realized it was "ludicrous," he says, for a couple awash in kitchenware but short of cash to sign up for future dust magnets. "I thought, 'Why not register for something we really need?' "

Emily Post might not applaud his solution, but Warren Buffett probably would: Heilizer started StockGift.com, where those planning a birthday, wedding day or graduation day can put shares of companies such as Microsoft or Disney on their wish lists—to be bought with the click of a button. Alas, the groom still got that cheese grater at his '99 wedding. Has he used it? Says Heilizer: "Once."

Internet Manners

Can I send my wedding invitations online?

If your nuptials are anything more formal than a quick sprint to city hall, spring for paper-and-ink invites. But don't hesitate to send electronic ones too—Evite.com or many wedding-planning Web sites will help you create bulletins that link guests to helpful information like maps (or remind laggards to RSVP).

Is it acceptable to e-mail thank-you notes for wedding presents?

Prepare for finger cramps: Brides might wear bikinis these days, but handwriting thank-yous is one tradition that still has teeth. And hey, all you doctors and cyberbabies who had computer mice instead of rattles in your cribs: That means legible handwriting.

Yore the Top

Hoping to meet a knight in shining armor? Take your pick at Ultima Online (uo.com), a fantasy game where about 200,000 players from around the world meet to get medieval—or as thoroughly modern as the romance that led to wedding bells for players Dean Morrell, 39, a now-retired Navy electronics technician, and Debra Sartore, 35, a craft-store manager. Sparks first flew between their online characters—armor-maker Flint and his 14th-century fox, Tess. "He had sex appeal," says Debra.

When fictional Tess popped the question to her counterpart last fall, "It blew me away," says Dean. "Then I realized she was talking about Flint." Soon, though, the real-life players began chatting on the phone. Debra flew to meet Dean, who then lived near Seattle, a few days later. "When we hugged," she says, "it just felt right."

Dean and Debra (she's now a homemaker) tied the knot in March (it was his first marriage, her third) and now live in Cottage Grove, Minn., with her daughter Lyndsey, 10. The romance, Dean says happily, "definitely caught me by surprise."

Knotty Situations
Think your run-in with drunken groomsmen or cheapskate brides takes the (wedding) cake for tackiness? Tell the world your wedding stingers at Etiquette Hell (thinds.com/jmh/ehell), home to tales of nuptial nuttiness in categories such as Guests from Hell, Tacky Toasts and Bridezillas. One under Faux Pas of the Year: a bride who did a bump-and-grind striptease down to her garter.

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