July 30, 2007 -- Believe it or not, wedding dances are the latest videos that are going viral in a big way. Can you imagine uploading your first wedding dance with your beloved onto the Web and getting millions of hits? Tons of newlyweds are going viral, and getting their own 15 minutes – and sometimes only 15 seconds – of fame in the spotlight of the Web.
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There's a reason why wedding dances have gone from romantic to razzmatazz. According to the New Yorker's Rebecca Mead, author of "One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding," "Weddings these days are used as an expression of individuality. It's no longer about the joining of our families or even the entry of us into the larger community of married people. It's really a celebration of the self." Newlyweds are drawing inspiration from their favorite movies, music videos and popular songs and performing choreographed dances for their guests that won't just live on in their memories, but permanently on the Web for all to see.
"Everybody wants to look like a celebrity on their, on their big day, and that is what is encouraged now. The average engagement period in the United States is 16 months, and you're supposed to spend this 16 months preparing yourself and perfecting yourself, so that on this day, you shine as if you were a celebrity walking down the red carpet, (and) the dance performance, is part of that," Mead said.
Mead believes that these elaborate wedding dances are part of a cultural trend. "It's saying, we're the center of attention, as if you didn't all know that already, and this is how much effort we've put in to preparing so that we can really demonstrate to you what a production we're going to make of all of this."
Now, more of these videos are finding their way to the Web. More than 500,000 people have watched one couple go from a stately waltz to a state-of-the-art break dance.
And for an increasing number of couples, a wedding dance offers a chance to perform a routine as elaborately staged as the ceremony itself.
Brian and Sandy Lundmark from Oklahoma decided to dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" after Sandy was inspired by a scene in the Jennifer Garner film "13 Going on 30." Jackson's "Thriller" is the second best-selling album in history behind the Eagles "Greatest Hits."
Sandy said their wedding dance was designed to insure a that a dance-adverse member of their wedding party would hit the floor: the groom.
"I really didn't think he would go through with it. I mean, that's a lot of work to figure out how to do all the moves and everything," Sandy recalled.
Brian studied the Michael Jackson "Thriller" music video in slow motion and not only learned the moves but also taught them to the entire wedding party. "I kept telling everybody while were practicing that it didn't really matter so much what you do as long as you get the claws right," Brian said.
The ceremony went off without a hitch and then came time for the big dance. The couple admits to having a few butterflies as they began. "Right when I turned around, I was like, 'Oh, what have I gotten myself into?' And so I was worried up until about the first move when we kind of drop down into that funky step at the beginning, and then everybody started cheering," Brian said.
The Lundmarks haven't stopped since. Brian posted the video on YouTube just so a friend who hadn't made it to the wedding could watch it. Then it was linked to by the popular Web sites Metafilter.com and Fark.com and it exploded. Now the video has had more than 2.4 million hits onYouTube.com, and the numbers are still growing.
"There was actually another 'Thriller' dance that I'd looked at on YouTube that had 30,000 hits. And I thought, wouldn't it be cool if sometime we could manage to get up to 30,000 hits with this. And now we're over 2.2 million. And it's, yeah, I mean, it's, it's insane," Brian recalled.