Touching Messages

June, 2008

It started as a Mainland boy meets local girl love story, with a 250-person wedding as the denouement. The problem was the groom had invited only 15 friends and family members; the bride invited the rest. Tony Barnhill, the groom, knew it would be difficult to remember everyone’s name, so the professional web programmer created software that turned his iMac into a virtual guestbook where people could click their names and leave a video message for the couple.

It was a success, and his guests thought it’d be a great business idea that would work for any large event. They were proven right, as his invention and new company, iVideo Guestbook, won Best New Product at the 2005 Hawaii Bridal Expo. Eight software versions later, he’s a one-man team with two iMac video recording stations and more than 160 weddings done in Hawaii since launching in 2005. In 2007, the company recorded nearly $20,000 in sales, and 2008 looks to be even better with $22,000 in sales after the first four months. For more info, visit

Here’s how it works: 

1. FIRST, customers register online with all necessary event information. Then you choose your package. One guestbook for one hour, suitable for 100 guests, runs $299; two guestbooks for two hours, suitable for 250 guests, runs $599. Barnhill then inputs the guest list into the iVideo Guestbook before the event.

2. AT THE EVENT, guests find their names onscreen. The latest version of iVideo Guestbook has no keyboard or mouse — it’s been modified into a touch screen by a certified Apple proprietor. After they’ve found their names, guests record a message. They can leave as many messages as many times as they want, including after every drink. “I have lots of videos that I’d really like to show but people would be too embarrassed,” jokes Barnhill.

3. AFTER THE EVENT, Barnhill edits the filmed clips and puts them on DVD. They can be watched in succession or in chapters. Also, the names of the people on the messages appear in captions, so you can remember the names of new aunties and uncles.

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Jason Ubay