Soldiers Drew Fidler and Michelle Williams found a creative way to get married while stationed in Afghanistan

Soldiers married by proxy

Soldiers Army Sgt. Drew Fidler (27) and his wife Army Spc. Michelle Williams (27) were featured on The Today Show Saturday morning for their unconventional nuptials.

They were both deployed to Afghanistan, but they were so much in love, they wanted to get married right away. Because weddings are not performed by military chaplains in combat zones, they did some Googling and found out about proxy weddings. Marriage by proxy allows one or both to fill out information online, and have a “proxy” stand in for them during a legal marriage ceremony. Their wedding essentially happened without them while they celebrated with their friend on roof of the Joint Operation Center building at the Combined Joint Task Force 1 compound with nonalcoholic beer and a wedding cake a soldier’s wife had made and mailed to them.

Michelle gushed: “Everything clicked. We enjoyed all our time together, there was never a bad moment.”

Drew: “She’s perfect for me. When I’m down, she’s always there for me to pick me back up.”

Why didn’t they want to wait until they got home?

Michelle told the American Forces Press Service: “I think weddings are pretty much for other people. All that really matters is marrying the person you love.”

On The Today Show Drew elaborated: “We knew we wanted to get married as soon as we got back, but we also knew that we weren’t going to be able to have the wedding that we wanted for at least a few years, we’ve been saving for it. It’s gonna be great, but it takes time to save for something like that.”

Why does proxy marriage exist?

This service is being more commonly used by people in the military, but it started in Montana in the 1800s for miners who wanted to marry their long-distance fiances. Drew and Michelle used Reverend Marty Stuehler, a nondenominational pastor who offers proxy marriage packages on his website.

On the show, Drew and Michelle received their marriage certificate from their proxies Steve and Jamie, seemingly for the first time even though this article says they received their certificate in the mail weeks after the proxy marriage took place.

To make this whole story even more romantic, the proxies got engaged live on air! Steve surprised Jamie by proposing to her. Jamie seemed a little embarrassed and surprised, but she did say “Yes,” followed by “That’s just crazy!”

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  • mike

    to make a long story short, why would two soldiers get married, simple you get benefits, especially when two soldiers marry the price of their pay gets upped by double. instead of marrying a civilian

  • Brianna Biron

    Getting married by proxy is extremely common and is NOT always used by soldiers to get benefits. My husband and I were married by proxy. High school sweethearts together for 7 years. We had our wedding planned and our world was turned upside down when he found out he was deploying before the big day. We decided to get married by proxy so that I would be able to still go to Germany with him after his deployment rather then wait all those months to be command family sponsored. We went through Montana, it was completely 100% legit. We received our marriage license and certificate within a month and I was able to proceed with everything while he was deployed and as soon as he came home we were able to move right in together. We had a ceremony with over 200 guests almost a year later 🙂

    • guest

      you do realize the housing that you received is a type benefit. you get marriage benefits… not sure what part of that you didnt comprehend. either way nice story. congrats on 7 years.