If you would have told me 3 years ago, when we first thought of the idea for pingg, that I would be using pingg to send my surprise wedding invitation and video, I would have thought you’d eaten one too many “crazy tacos.” Not because I had an aversion to online invitations (quite the opposite) but because I had an aversion to…hmmm…how can I put this delicately…commitment in general. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in LOVE and have quite the old fashioned Shakespearian notions about romance and chivalry, and yes I do cry at romantic comedies, but having made it to the ripe old age of 40 never having said “I do” I thought I could stay happily un-married-ever-after with someone I loved for the rest of my life. Yes, it’s hypocritical, but maybe I am a traditional non-conformist.
Luckily, I met a woman who felt the same way. And the two of us were perfectly happy remaining a commitment-phobic committed couple – completely in denial, but completely in love.
That’s when the idea first hit us. After a bit of teasing from our friends, the “when are you going to get engaged or married” types, my girlfriend had a genius response, “The only way you could get me to show up at my own wedding is if I didn’t know it was a wedding.” Sheer utter genius! We’d elope, throw a party afterwards and invite everyone we knew. We started from scratch—boiling the wedding party down to it’s essentials—what we would want out of a wedding. We knew we wanted people to see a part of our ceremony, but not necessarily sit through it in real time. We knew we wanted to celebrate with people, but we didn’t want the first dances, the toasts, the cutting and smearing of cakes.
The final idea- we got married in Vegas in the middle of a desert, surrounded by sand, wind, rusted cans and a 3-person camera crew (some of our best friends who happen to be directors, camera operators, editors, etc). We invited everyone to our combined 30th/40th bday parties (which was true), and using pingg, created what we thought was a unique invitation that symbolized us and our relationship. And we kept that momentum throughout. The day of the party, we showed our closest 170 friends a David Lynch meets Oliver Stone scripted movie with the surprise ending—footage of our actual ceremony. The place erupted. And my wife (whew, deep breath) and I, who didn’t even cry at our own ceremony, were brought to tears by ours and our friend’s reactions.
Now I am not the type to often share things about my life. If you look at past blog posts they are fairly impersonal, centered around holiday events and our new pingg functionality. Yet in this haze of amazement, reflecting on this weekends past events, I can’t help but take a moment to think how ironic it is that I have been quoted in articles written about wedding invitations without ever fully understanding the impact each decision that goes into an event can really have on a person. Now hear me out for a second…I don’t mean that a wedding invitation can make or break you. But I do mean the decisions you make along the way, the details you choose, can in a sense liberate you. My brother and I started pingg with the genesis of an idea, that people may want to incorporate their own style into their invitations. We wanted to give people a voice— a canvas to write whatever they want, send it however they’d like and a web page to express in words and pictures what it is they were doing- all in an updated fashion.
I’d like to thank our film crew The Sibs for making us look like rock stars. Our party planners and caterers, Silk Stone , pingg, for what it’s given back to me. And lastly, but not least, my wife, for always remaining my girlfriend. – Lorien Gabel
Pause our ninu nina ipod player and enjoy the wedding…