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Sharing The Joy

My daughters don’t get much news at their summer camp jobs in the Poconos. Their mother and I bring them up to date on wars, disasters, celebrity deaths and other headlines when they come home.

This year the wedding of two strangers, Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz, was the top story on the Mom and Dad News Hour.

The ceremony became an Internet sensation last month after the groom posted a YouTube video featuring the entire bridal party dancing down the aisle of a St. Paul, Minn., church, to the music of Chris Brown’s “Forever.” The video has been played about 22 million times, and the couple has appeared on several network television shows.

“Jill and Kevin’s Big Day” captures the optimism and joy that is the essence of any wedding, and shares it with the world. Two people who love one another, supported by their friends and family (including a very handsome wedding party), are ready to build their lives together. Why wait for the reception to start celebrating?

Of course, this is America, where we exercise our right to speak freely by speaking freely about anything and anyone. Some folks, perhaps miffed at not being invited to the wedding (though they have never met the bride or groom), questioned the use of Chris Brown’s music. Brown recently pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend, pop star Rihanna, and was sentenced this week to five years of probation. The Los Angeles judge who sentenced him also ordered Brown and Rihanna to stay away from one another during the five-year sentence. (The wedding video helped Brown’s song get back onto the charts this summer.)

Peterson and Heinz, who seem to bring a gracious warmth to whatever they do, turned the sniping around by using their unexpected fame to raise money for the Sheila Wellstone Institute, a Minnesota charity that combats domestic violence. Promotions for the charity are on the video and at the website that the couple started after the video became a hit.

Perhaps inevitably, there also is at least one parody. “Jill and Kevin’s Last Day” depicts the couple dancing their way into divorce court, accompanied by lawyers, bailiffs and a judge.

But, in an era in which real life clearly has met Hollywood, love conquers all. The parody cast concludes their video with a good-natured message to Jill and Kevin: “Just kidding, guys. We love you!”

Curiously enough, so do the rest of us. This is, after all, a news story about a love more infectious than the H1N1 flu virus. Since Jill and Kevin were kind enough to share their wedding day with me, I will reciprocate, gladly, by sending a little something to their charity.

That’s the summer’s big story, girls. Welcome home.

Larry M. Elkin is the founder and president of Palisades Hudson, and is based out of Palisades Hudson’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida headquarters. He wrote several of the chapters in the firm’s recently updated book, Looking Ahead: Life, Family, Wealth and Business After 55. His contributions include Chapter 1, “Looking Ahead When Youth Is Behind Us,” and Chapter 4, “The Family Business.” Larry was also among the authors of the firm’s book The High Achiever’s Guide To Wealth.

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