The Wedding Dance

You know it’s a bona fide YouTube sensation when Matt and Meredith cover it on the “Today Show.” The interview above tells the story behind this spectacle and has excerpts from the original video. Below you can see where they recreated the dance for the “Today Show” this morning.

38 Responses to The Wedding Dance

  1. David Rogers July 25, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    Weddings are, of course, joyous occasions, but I have to wonder whether our culture has lost any sense of the solemn aspect to the institution of marriage.

    Supposedly the ceremony was to be the needed reminder of the solemn realm of marriage and the reception afterwards a celebration of the joys of marriage. Now we seem to have skipped any reminder that marriage is too be taken seriously before God and the community’s presence.

    Yes, the video is humorous and fun as a video but the wider implications and the inevitable imitators of the trend will be less heartening.

  2. Denny Burk July 25, 2009 at 12:03 pm #

    David, I agree with you. Weddings should be gospel observances, and the best ones reflect the dignity of the institution.

  3. Darius T July 25, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    I understand what you’re saying, David, but at the same time, I really liked the exuberant joyful dancing (especially by the bride) compared to some of the solemn… err, dull ceremonies performed these days. There’s a fine line between solemn and joyless.

  4. Darius T July 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

    “… the inevitable imitators of the trend will be less heartening.”

    Very true.

  5. Scott July 25, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    How do you know they aren’t fully respecting the solemnity of the occasion and the dignity of the institution? Lighten up guys.

  6. Darius T July 25, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

    We have to be careful not to be like Michal when she saw David dancing.

  7. David Rogers July 25, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    All I know is that having officiated at several ceremonies, I have to constantly remind those participating that the reason for the dignity of the ceremony is to serve reminder that these are indeed covenantal vows made before God and society and not merely a pep rally for goofing inside jokes with one another.

    I don’t get uptight about mistakes that are made, but coarseness (and I’m not saying the video is actually coarse, maybe only a bit too casual) seems to be invading more and more into every aspect of society. If this becomes the standard for weddings, will there even be one solemn societal ceremony other than funerals (graduations have degenerated into whooping fests)?

  8. Denny Burk July 25, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    I should add that this kind of humor is right up my alley, and at one level I really enjoyed the video. I would add, however, an important caveat. There’s wisdom in Mark Galli’s remarks in CT about radical individualism. What he says there about evangelical attitudes toward marriage could equally apply to weddings.

    At their best, weddings point to transcendent, gospel realities. Nevertheless, there’s a temptation to turn wedding ceremonies into exhibitions of the individual personalities of the bride and groom. This is why I am not a fan of the bride and groom writing their own vows (though I’m sure there are examples in which it is done well). The transcendent can easily become overrun by the personal, and this is where couples need to be careful. I’m not trying to say that there’s no place for exuberance and joy. There is. I daresay that is exactly the tone of the marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19. Having said that, it’s important to remember that the point of marriage (and ergo a wedding) is the glory of Christ in the gospel. Therefore couples would be wise to make sure that nothing detracts from that focus.

  9. Don Johnson July 26, 2009 at 8:50 am #

    I wrote my marriage vows myself. This is because they are a sacred covenant and there are some vows I could not make in faith, no matter how well meaning the pastor.

  10. volfan007 July 26, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    What’s really sad about this, is that now Pastors will have to deal with this kind of nonsense for the next 5 years or so….and by that, I mean, others will want to imitate it…AND, go beyond it… to one up it…to beat it…then we’ll really start seeing some goofy, outlandish, embarassing things.

    I’m kind of like Denny. One part of me likes this…it’s funny. But, the other side of me laments over it.

    David

  11. Jan D. July 26, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

    Wow! The power of the media! Volfan made a good point that others will now try to outdo this wedding, thus creating a dilema for pastors.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this very week, many churches will be ammending their policies for what will and will not be permitted in their sanctuaries during a wedding ceremony.

  12. Paula July 26, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

    Fortunately, the Baptists anticipated this development and already have this covered : )

  13. Matthew Staton July 26, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    It looks like they put a lot of work and planning into it and it seems like the ceremony as a whole was still going to be based around the traditional wedding ceremony. It was well-executed. Unique but not haphazard or laxidasical. Weddings are a day of celebration that invoke feasting and dancing the world over. So I liked it. Better to approach a wedding with too much exuberance than the more common trend of forgetting the whole thing altogether.

    The poor imitations will be the problem. If you are truly capable of doing it well, go for it. If not, hopefully your minister will have the grace and wisdom to help you keep it more traditional.

  14. Darius T July 27, 2009 at 9:27 am #

    As traditional as having a woman minister ever was… 🙂

  15. Adam Omelianchuk July 31, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    Are weddings mandated in the Bible somewhere?

  16. Darius T July 31, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    Good question, Adam.

  17. Steven July 31, 2009 at 4:47 pm #

    I think that displays like this do demean the covenant that the bride and groom are making. Covenants in the Bible are literally deadly serious. Look at Gen. 15 for instance. There is a rich symbolism in the dividing of the animals for the covenant ceremony. More strikingly, look at the new covenant in Christ’ blood. Luke 22. If a man is to love his wife with this kind of covenantal love (Eph. 5:25) then certainly that love must be expressed in the most reverent and sincere manner.

    I do not oppose couples writing their own vows (consider that they are still called “vows” and all that this term embodies). This does not have to be a liturgical process like saying the sinner’s prayer (ok, calm down, that last sentence was a joke). As long as the vows reflect that the couple understands the seriousness of the covenant that they are making, the vows do not have to be a prescribed set of words. Some will say that taking the vows and covenant this seriously during the wedding ceremony will cause there to be a lack of joy. However, those of use who have experienced the person that we love making a covenantal promise to you before God, we know that there is no greater joy other than the security of our salvation. When you have this opportunity the words of God through Moses ring true “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.”

  18. Kevin July 31, 2009 at 10:12 pm #

    I’m sure my words have already been covered above (no, I’m sorry, I haven’t read ALL the comments, but enough to get the gist of the argument. As a pastor, I strive to make it clear to each couple I marry that they are coming before a holy God to make vows before Him (something which Scripture clearly tells us to do with great solemnity and not foolishly) as well as make promises to each other.

    My problem with the video is not the joy shown. Goodness, let that be shown at the reception. Is that not a preview of the great marriage supper of the Lamb? Let the joy flow there. Let the exuberance abound.

    However, in the ceremony itself, let the joy take another form: in the songs sung, in the looks and smiles of the bride & groom, and in the joyful solemnity of the ceremony itself. But leave the dancing for later. If marriage it but a reflection of Christ & His bride, the Church, then let the wedding ceremony also reflect that. Let the wife humbly give thanks that she was chosen from among all others. Let the husband confidently affirm his love. But the silliness and frivolity of this is best saved for later. I can see Christ dancing at the feast, but not when He comes for His bride. I believe the picture painted for us in Revelation is quite the opposite of what we see here.

  19. Kevin August 1, 2009 at 12:42 am #

    I have to agree that there should be a reverence in ceremonies. They are they to publicly show a devotion to a covenant to God and between the couple. It is serious. But when the Ark of the Covenant was returned David danced in the streets. It was joyful. The ark contained the ten commandments and other reminders of God’s covenant. Celebrate love! Also it is their wedding. Not ours. They are making their covenant between themselves and God. Let God determine whether it was appropriate or not.

  20. Mark Lauterbach August 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    Having just given away a daughter in marriage, I watched this video with regret that we had not done something like this! Two daughters into weddings, I cannot imagine happier days in my life. Our receptions were happy and intentionally so.

    I am struck with the idea that God is more glorified in solemnity than in joyous exuberance. Is He? I think the marriage supper of the lamb will be overflowing with joy — and I think our God delights in marriage. Whether their dance was the right way to do this, I do know I wish there was some way to make the ceremony itself more joyful.

    A good Christian friend, now 80, says she wants no sober-minded funeral — but dancing in the aisles with trumpets and loud shouts of “She’s home!” No doubt that will be considered irreverent to some.

    Solemn and joyful are not opposites. In Leviticus 9, the people shout for joy and fall on their faces . . . awe and delight together.

    Is it that our dignity is taking God seriously, or that we take ourselves too seriously?

    When shall we be solemn — in tragedy, in war, with an unrepentant sinner dies — but I am not sure the visible picture of the exuberant joy of God in taking a bride for his Son is a solemn occasion.

  21. James Grant August 1, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    Very helpful comments here guys. I do think, however, that the excitement was in the wrong place. Why put it at the beginning? It makes the rest of the wedding anti-climactic. NOW what do you do once you started the wedding off like THAT! Notice at the end of the video: everyone is clapping and happy…but they are not married yet. Do it at the end, on the way to the reception, to show the joy and excitement that is now part of their life together. The music and the mood do not carry the weight of the ceremony placed at the beginning.

  22. Adam Omelianchuk August 1, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    No answer to the Bible question about weddings, I see. Therefore, no binding of conscience can take place on whether one has one or performs it set to dance music or a sober affair that Calvin would endorse.

  23. Barclay August 2, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    The modern church is an entertainment center isn’t it?
    So why be surprised or even note that this stuff is “unusual”. Stay tuned for full blown circuses. Now that’s retro! Nero would love it!
    And maybe the other guy too – you know – that prowling lion fellow.

  24. Matt Svoboda August 3, 2009 at 1:10 am #

    I think everyone who thinks this video is inappropriate is just mad because they realize how lame they are(and their wedding was) compared to these people.

    Oh yeah, I am included in the lameness…

  25. Barclay August 3, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

    So a Christian wedding entrance that is dignified, reverent, orderly and non-theatrical = lame.
    I don’t think so.

  26. Matt Svoboda August 3, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    Barclay,

    It can be… Reverence is a matter of the heart, it has nothing to do with the show put on.

    I am not saying all are lame, but a lot of them sure are. Most “christian” weddings I have been to appear “reverent” but really have nothing to do with the gospel or Jesus… Except the couple of things the preacher says.

  27. Scott August 3, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    Matt,

    Great point! I have seen plenty of “serious” acting people whose hearts were anything but reverent. Since when did “dignified” and “orderly” have a direct correlation with respect & and appreciation?

    On the other hand, they have a lot to do with tradition!

  28. Barclay August 3, 2009 at 6:38 pm #

    Matt,

    I was addressing the issue of “lame” – your term. That word in the vernacular usually means something that is stiff, formal even painful to experience. Hypocrisy is a different issue and alas will always be with us regardless of form or structure.

    I often hear the argument,mostly in liberal christian circles, that God looks on the heart and is indifferent to the externals whether dress,worship styles or “cute” wedding dances.
    This seems compelling on the surface and accommodates a permissive, decaying secular culture especially in the area of evangelism.

    It also partially explains the virtual elimination or disregard of all standards whether in dress codes, civil discourse,respect for authority and so on but that’s another topic.

    The sincere heart is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for our actions, meetings and conversations with God.

    There are examples in Scripture of God chastising his “sincere” people who offered “strange fire” or who thought idol worship somehow honored God. The New Testament also admonishes us to approach God in reverence, fear and awe because He is a consuming fire.
    We have liberty in the gospel but not licence and the Reformer’s cry of “sola scriptura” should be our standard.

  29. Steven August 3, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    Well, I might as well jump back into the fray. Matt, you are way off base in claiming that you know anything about whether my or anyone elses wedding was “lame.” My wife and I had a traditional wedding that was very reverent. It was one of the highlights of my life. The minister spoke of the vows we made as being a reflection of Christ and the Church. It was full of the Gospel, as we had hoped. It was not the least bit lame. For you to opine otherwise reveals your ignorance. Don’t speak of things which you do not know.

    Now, some might object and say that we do not know what these people were thinking when they did this performance at their wedding and thus we have a double standard. However, I submit that there are not very many comments of people saying “Boy, those folks really glorified God in Christ through their wedding ceremony.” Quite the opposite. It is clear from watching the video that they were trying to put the spotligt on all of the choreography and planned escapades; not on exalting God through the ceremony.

    Finally, I must agree with Barclay. Our heart is appropriately judged by our actions. Dr. Mohler once rightfully wrote “If you want to know what a people really believe about God, don’t spend time reading their theologians, watch them worship. Listen to what they sing. Listen to what they say. Listen to how they pray. Then you will know what they believe about this God whom they worship.” Who were these folks worshiping?

  30. Scott August 4, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    Steven,

    All the video showed was the way they walked down the aisle. Nothing else. I fail to see how you jump to the conclusion that the rest of the ceremony failed to glorify God.

  31. Don Johnson August 4, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    1. That was such a joyous entrance that I cried.

    2. I appreciate that a woman officiated.

    3. Some may not get 1 or 2 and may think such is not for them, but be careful in judging what you do not know.

  32. Steven August 4, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

    Scott:

    I agree that we cannot KNOW what the rest of the wedding was like. However, it seems slightly disinginuous to think that after a self-exalting and self-glorifying entrance, that the bride and goom and the wedding party would have in mind a Christ exalting ceremony.

    It does not seem that one could make such a drastic jump.

  33. Scott August 4, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    Steven,

    So dancing down the aisles automatically makes it a self-glorifying entrance? They had fun & enjoyed the occasion – as they should. Nothing in scripture dictates a wedding ceremony should be sombre. I think at the heart of this discussion is an underlying assumption that God’s glory is at stake when something traditionally more solemn is transformed into something more transparently joyful.

    I really would like to know what about the “traditional” ceremony entrance is more inherently God-glorifying. Forgive me if I get carried away, I attended a seminary with a dress code. Our running joke at the time was to make t-shirts that read: “Khakis: Covering a multitude of sins!”

  34. David Rogers August 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    I just saw that this wedding entrance dance video is being parodied by someone else with a Divorce Dance Entrance into court.

    It seems that posting of the video of the joyfulness of this initial act has spawned an imitative trend and now a parody. So much for this being merely a simple celebration of joy. It has been stripped away from the original community in which it was offered, posted online, gone viral, featured on news shows, and now once more the tragedy of divorce is now merely one more thing to take less seriously.

    I’m not totally blaming the original posting of this video by the couple. I’m just saying that the cynical culture in which we live once more functions by the law of unintended consequences.

  35. Steven August 5, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    Scott:

    I do not believe that all dancing down the aisles would be self-glorifying. However, from what we can see from this clip, this dancing certainly was self-glorifying. It distracted from the commencment of a covenant union between man and woman, and it distracted from God who unifies.

    Neither do I believe that a traditional service or ceremony is per se more God-glorifying. As long as the focus is on recognizing God as sovereign, I don’t care how it is done. For example, in my church we often sing the song “And Can It Be That I Should Gain”. Sometimes we sing the contemporary version. Other times we sing the hymn to Campbell’s music from 1825. I will gladly sing it either way. The words of praise are the same either way and that, I believe, is what glorifies God.

    I am not advocating for one form over the other. I am simply advocating that in the times that we worship, that we worship God as he directs. I do not believe that our worship should be by rote or individual preference, but in accordance with God’s standards. The foundation for any worship is that it must focus our attention on God and not on us.

    Steven

    PS – A coat and tie will cover the sins more effectively than khakis alone!

  36. Adam Omelianchuk August 6, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

    Everyone thinks that their own wedding was not boring, stiff, and painful. But everyone thinks that about everyone elses. Really, weddings are very self-centered ordeals, and I am not sure how anyone can argue with that. I mean has anyone ever spent 10 Gs on taking classes and preparing for marriage? No. Planing for a day of looking your best in front of a lot of people? Ha!

  37. Jim Pemberton August 14, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Where Reverence = Solemnity is a traditional western sensibility, but not necessarily a Biblical one. Did David lack reverence for God when he danced? Where in the Bible must orderly conduct in a corporate worship setting equate to classical music and the dour silence of observers and participants?

    What’s more important is if they can both still do this in 20, 40 or even 60 years (given that they may have to be wheeled joyfully into their 60th anniversary celebration.) We just celebrated the 60th anniversary of one of the oldest couples in our church. Two people couldn’t have more opposite personalities than these two, but they made a commitment to each other and have prevailed in God’s love all these years. If a couple like this can go into their marriage with such a commitment to each other in the name of Christ, I’ll get up and dance with them.

  38. Joe September 20, 2009 at 2:07 am #

    I’m amused at what a big deal was made of this. The dancing was horrible. Only someone with absolutely NO background in music or dance would think this was “cool”.

    A low class, white trash wedding. Big deal!

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