You don't have to be royal to put on the best wedding show of all time. At least, that's what Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz proved in 2009 when they danced down the aisle to Chris Brown's "Forever" in a St. Paul, Minnesota ceremony in a video called "JK Wedding Entrance Dance," which has been watched on YouTube more than 86 million times.
The couple, then both 28 , decided to do away with the traditional snoozefest of a wedding entrance. They picked not only a unique soundtrack, but also a unique mode of transportation to make their way down to the waiting pastor. In the most epic usage of "Forever" to date, the new couple made sure that their wedding video would be one that they (and several million other people) would want to rewatch for many years to come.
And watch it they have — Jill and Kevin may have gotten married five years ago, but the video remains one of the most popular YouTube hits of all time. In fact, Time lists the couple's wedding video as one of the top 50 videos on YouTube, and it's sparked spoofs and spinoffs — it even inspired Jim and Pam's wedding episode on The Office (which probably garnered Jill and Kevin several million more hits). Let's take a look at the happy duo and see what they've been up to since they said "I do."
What wedding video are you talking about?
Only the best wedding video in the world.
Jill and Kevin traded Richard Wagner for Chris Brown, and the Wedding March for Forever. And then instead of walking, their entire wedding party danced. Up and down the aisle. A lot. Forever lasts for a solid four minutes and 39 seconds, and Jill and Kevin's wedding party didn't waste a single moment.
Whose crazy awesome idea was that?
It was, of course, the wonderful woman Jill Peterson who dreamt up the concept. The couple spoke with Matt Lauer on the Today Show a few months after the video was uploaded to YouTube, and Peterson revealed that she was the mastermind behind the brilliant ploy.
"I danced growing up," she told Lauer, adding that she "loved dance as a way to express yourself and share joy." It was natural, then, for her to incorporate one of the activities that made her happiest with one of the happiest days of her life. "It was something I always thought about doing," Peterson said.
Of course, her husband was a great sport about it as well, and absolutely loved the idea. He told Lauer that it was "the first thing [they] really decided about the wedding that he wanted to do."
But what about their parents?
Ah yes, the traditionalists. Luckily for Jill and Kevin, they both inherited their sense of fun and creativity from their wonderful parents, and while both moms and dads were a bit "apprehensive," they never tried to interfere with their plans.
In fact, they even promised not to tell any of the other guests what their children were planning for the ceremony!
Well, the couple never revealed their motivation behind choosing the song, but it is a reasonable choice. After all, marriages are supposed to last forever, and it's got a pretty cute chorus! Besides, the chorus starts with, "It's like I've waited my whole life for this one night," and you could say that weddings are pretty evocative of that.
But Chris Brown is kinda... controversial
Yes, yes he is. And he also benefited from Jill and Kevin's wedding video, as his year-old song was suddenly sent rocketing back into Top 10 charts. But Jill and Kevin were quick to ensure that their video was not only entertaining, but also benefiting an excellent cause.
Given Chris Brown's domestic abuse scandal, the newlywed couple decided to use their video to encourage viewers to donate to the Sheila Wellstone Foundation, an organization that combats domestic violence.
Since 2009, the couple writes on their website, the video has raised a stunning $50,000 for the cause. But the couple didn't start there — Jill and Kevin have utilized their YouTube fame to attempt to draw awareness to other important causes as well, including the current border crisis. Their personal website (created after the advent of the video), provides a link where you can donate to the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.
But I thought the writers of the Office came up with this!
Then you thought wrong! In fact, in the famous wedding episode of the hit show, Steve Carell's character, Michael, says to Pam, "Did you see this? It was on YouTube." That was a reference to none other than Jill and Kevin's awesome video.
Who else has copied the idea?
It seems like everyone has. The concept has been used numerous times in several countries, including Australia, the Netherlands, and the UK, and many of the recreation have been used either as part of a dance competition or to raise money for a charitable cause.
T-Mobile also recreated the dance scene for the 2011 royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Price William. And as great as Jill and Kevin's original was, it's really hard to beat a Queen Elizabeth look-alike dancing to Chris Brown.
So where is the happy couple now?
Still very happy, and still in Minnesota! According to their website, they now have two young boys, a 3-year-old and a 7-month-old. Kevin has his own law firm and specializes in immigration law, and Jill now has a PhD in psychology and is working as an assistant professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jill and Kevin, the ultimate power couple.
Images: Getty Images (2); TheKheinz's channel/Youtube