For most people, a home is a physical space -- it's the house you grow up in, or where you live now. But for my friend Ben, home is simply when he is with Emma. Now I know some may think that sounds cheesy, but hey -- this is the Weddings section! And in the story of Ben and Emma, it also happens to be true.
That's because in the past seven and a half years, Ben and Emma have crossed time zones, stayed in spare bedrooms and crashed on friends' couches to see each other. Even now, the pair's commitment to each other is above what many couples are willing to give. Emma, who works in an art gallery in New York City, recently moved to Philadelphia, where Ben is in graduate school for industrial design. Emma makes a two-hour Philadelphia to New York City commute every single day. And Ben wakes up with her at the crack of dawn to make her coffee and drive her to the train station, and has dinner ready when she comes home at night.
In the years they've been together, the couple has only physically lived in the same place for a fraction of the time. Yet Ben and Emma, who doggedly pursue their individual paths of professional and educational growth, know that they can be anywhere in the world, but as long as they are together, they are home.
And this could not be more apparent when, on the morning of their beautiful wedding a few weekends ago, Ben presented Emma with this gift -- a video set to Edward Sharp & the Magnetic Zeros' "Home" (Warning: if you're a sap like me, have a box of tissues handy)
WATCH: Ben's Wedding Gift To Emma
After watching and re-watching (and re-watching) this video, I had to know how the very talented Ben pulled it off. Always a modest guy, he was a bit hesitant to publicize this very personal gift, but eventually he acquiesced to answering a few of my questions...
Naomi: What was the inspiration behind this wedding present?
Ben: Months before the big day, while we were making all of the arrangements, I saw our wedding budget quickly get eaten up. I wanted to give Emma a gift that wouldn't cost any money but that would still be meaningful. Once I listened to the song a few times, I thought it would be really awesome if I could gift her the song in some sort of unique package. I thought a music video that captured our meaning of home would be the perfect thing!
N: How did you actually make this video?
B: Besides the starring monkey, the video was made using an iPhone, a tripod and a few impromptu objects like coat-hangers, butter knives and packaging tape. I had to tape the butter knives to the tripod to get the "bird's eye view" for a couple shots. Everything was edited in iMovie.
It was really difficult to hide the production of the video from Emma. She would go off to work and since I finished my semester of school, I had plenty of time to tie up the loose ends for the wedding. We also had to pack up our apartment to prepare for our summer sublease. Occasionally Emma would check up on me to see if I was being productive with what she thought was my new free time.
One of the last nights I had to shoot before I was off to Texas for the wedding, Emma was G-chatting me about dinner ideas. I tried to sway her towards something that would require as little work as possible like heating up a frozen dinner (Trader Joe's of course). It turns out that Emma had an appetite for nachos of which we had zero ingredients for. I couldn't say no because I technically had plenty of free time to go to the grocery and whip up nachos but this would cut into my filming. I managed to rush to the grocery, whip up said nachos, and get to the train station early enough to get the final scenes I needed before she arrived at the station.
N: And how do you feel about the result?
B: After all the work and hustling around I must say it was totally worth it. There was a point while I was making the video where I had thoughts of "Is this thing going to make any sense?" "Is she going to even like this thing?" "Is this video even good enough to show anyone?" Once I finally showed it to her on the morning of our wedding and I saw her reaction, I knew it was definitely worth it and it turned out being the perfect gift.