July 25: Wedding march? More like a boogie

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 22, 2009 - 9:00 AM

Their down-the-aisle rump shaker is a YouTube sensation, and the St. Paul couple will do it again on "Today."

The wedding party kept their clandestine dance down the aisle a secret, until the surprised guests heard "Forever" blasting through Christ Lutheran Church in St. Paul.

Their joyful jig to the altar became an instant global hit on YouTube this week, as millions of viewers enjoyed the wedding video of Kevin Heinz, Jill Peterson, their seven bridesmaids, five groomsmen and four ushers making their funky entrance.

More than 2.2 million (and counting) YouTube views have been tallied since the video was posted Sunday. Phone calls from friends and media have rained down on the couple and their friends, and the family is surprised and exhausted by all the attention.

Today, more than a month after their June 20 wedding, the newlyweds and the wedding party will appear on the NBC-TV show "Today" to re-create the down-the-aisle boogie to Chris Brown's R&B hit.

Interviewed on the show Friday, Peterson said the idea was hers. "I danced growing up and was a dancer through college and loved dance as a way to express yourself and share joy. So, it was something I always thought about doing."

Among the highlights was Heinz's somersault entrance, which thrilled the guests, who clapped in unison throughout the 5-minute performance. And Peterson, in her traditional white gown, shook her hips while jabbing her bouquet in the air. One of the men in the wedding party walked on his hands, and most donned sunglasses for the indoor ceremony.

Parents of both 28-year-olds were a bit apprehensive when tipped off about their plans, the couple said in the interview, but everyone agreed to go ahead with the wedding day strut.

Peterson told the national TV audience that the wedding party practiced for about 90 minutes, but, "a lot of that, people were sort of making up as they went, people just got really into it and went for it. We just gave them a general layout."

Back in the Twin Cities, the bride's mom has been a publicity agent of sorts for her daughter, fielding news media calls, the first from the syndicated TV magazine show "Inside Edition."

"I'm exhausted," said Marge Peterson, whose daughter is studying for her doctorate in psychology, while her new son-in-law is in law school. "Wouldn't you think people would get sick of it?"

Marge Peterson is blown away by how fast the video has been embraced by viewers. "It started out slow, slow, slow, and then it just took off," she said.

More than 15,000 comments have been made on YouTube as of Friday evening, many of them saying how they were moved to tears.

"You're all blessed to have a circle of fun-loving family and friends!" read one. "You can teach a lot of people about complete joy. Made me smile and brought a tear to my eye as well. Complete love. Thank you."

Another wrote: "The best youtube vid I have ever seen! :-) Made me so happy to watch! Also, makes me believe in the human spirit again! Thanks for making my day and good luck and a long happy life together!"

Heinz said he posted the "Jill and Kevin's Big Day" video with no visions of the fame that the clip has brought: "I put it up because her dad had been really harassing me to get it out to some of his other family members, and it exploded."

Jeannine Leonard, an ordained minister in the Church of Brethren, officiated the wedding, saying, "It was just a thrill to participate."

After Heinz and Peterson exchanged vows, the wedding party departed the sanctuary in similar fashion to Three Dog Night's 1970s hit "Joy to the World."

The wedding's handstand dancer, Jeff Mason, said life has been "absolutely nuts" since the video exploded on the Internet.

"We just gave it our all," said Mason, whose wife, Annie, also was among wedding day dancers. "It was very loosely choreographed."

Mason, who has known Heinz since preschool, said Heinz and Peterson "kind of fell in love at our wedding" nearly four years ago.

"The best part is that it's just a celebration of them. It speaks volumes of their relationship."

Star Tribune staff writer Hayley Tsukayama contributed to this report.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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