Amazon-themed wedding celebrates the couple’s love for e-commerce
Both Jing Gao and Eddie Levine have worked in e-commerce for over a decade.
Eddie Levine and Jing Gao first met at an e-commerce conference in Atlanta in 2016. Two years later, they shared their first kiss in front of an Amazon seller summit in New Orleans. And in 2020, Gao left her home in Los Angeles to move in with Levine in Chicago, bringing their e-commerce businesses together under one roof.
So it only made sense that when it came time to get married, they turned to e-commerce for inspiration.
On August 21, the couple tied the knot in Chicago and the wedding reception was filled with paraphernalia from Amazon. At the reception, guests were seated at tables designated by a ten-digit code used to search for products on Amazon’s website (known as an ASIN in seller parlance). The wedding favors were tiny Amazon packets, complete with barcodes and filled with goodies, placed in miniature shopping carts.
The wedding favors were candy boxes, designed to look like miniature Prime packets.
Attendees posed for photos in front of a backdrop declaring “Jeddie (a combination of the couples’ first names) Prime Day,” a tribute to Amazon’s annual summer shopping bonanza.
Although the references are a bit esoteric, at least the couple was confident that some of their guests would understand them.
Levine toasted the reception. “I said, ‘Last but not least, e-commerce has brought us together. If we’ve met you through e-commerce, directly or indirectly, stand up,” he told CNBC in an interview.
“Literally half of our guests got up.”
However, not everyone understood this.
“The bartender was like, ‘Can you tell me what’s wrong with all the Amazon-inspired stuff?'” said Robyn Johnson, CEO of digital marketing agency Marketplace Blueprint, and friend of the couple who attended the wedding.
Wedding guests could take photos in front of a Prime Day-inspired backdrop.
Both Levine and Gao have worked in e-commerce for over a decade. Levine is president and co-founder of Hub Dub, which helps brands manage their online businesses and provides logistics services. Gao runs an Amazon business selling home decor products.
Levine and Gao are part of an active community of sellers, consultants, and service providers that has grown around Amazon’s third-party marketplace. Launched in 2000, the marketplace has become a centerpiece of its dominant e-commerce business, as it now accounts for more than half of online retail sales. In 2021, there were more than six million third-party sellers globally in the Amazon marketplace, according to research firm Marketplace Pulse.
A “five-hour marriage contract”
Gao met Levine at a conference in Atlanta through a consultant who was helping him with his Amazon business and who also happened to be Levine’s friend.
They didn’t get along right away. But over the next few months, Gao and Levine continued to meet on the e-commerce conference circuit and developed a friendship.
Their friendship turned romantic in June 2018 at Amazon’s Boost conference for third-party sellers in New Orleans. The conference coincided with Gao’s 29th birthday, so she invited Levine and some of their friends for a night of barhopping in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. That night, they kissed for the first time.
On the last day of the conference, they took a long walk through the streets of New Orleans, a memory they both half-jokingly describe as their “five-hour marriage contract.”
“We contracted where we are going to live, the family we are going to bring, the religion we are going to have in the household, the education,” Gao said. “We were lining it up.”
“Based on five hours of back and forth, we found we were at least a decent game,” Levine added.
A few days later, Levine flew from Chicago to Los Angeles for their first date. He returned to Chicago the next day in time for a 10-day trip to Europe.
They continued to date remotely for the next two years, until June 2020. It was the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and they could no longer safely hop on a plane for their twice-weekly visits. . They decided it was the right time to move in together, and Levine proposed to Gao in Niagara Falls in September.
Levine is the one who came up with the idea for an Amazon-inspired wedding.
“We went through all these ideas, and they were so boring,” Levine said. “I wanted something that showcased our background and paid homage to our origins.”
Levine, who is Jewish, chose Jeff Cohen, an Amazon employee who previously worked for Seller Labs, who hosted the conference where they met, to serve as a witness at the signing of their prenup, known as the name of ketubah. And guests who helped connect the couple at Amazon events had special “matchmaker” signs on the backs of their chairs.
They jokingly toyed with the idea of turning their wedding into a full-fledged Amazon conference, with a software company jokingly offering to sponsor the event.
“I said, ‘No, I’m not offering you a booth at our wedding,'” Levine said.