Viral Video Couple Open Up About Home Depot Proposal
It's the gift that keeps on giving: In the month Spencer Stout uploaded his marriage proposal on Sept. 11 to his boyfriend of two years Dustin Reeser (complete with a choreographed flashmob dance routine set to "Somebody Loves You" by singer Betty Who) the video became every definition of a viral phenomenon - over nine million hits in a week and over 10 million views to date.
In the days since, E! and Buzzfeed both published features about the video, Stout and Reeser appeared on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" (who bestowed on them a honeymoon in Australia); Betty Who's then-ongoing contract negotiations with RCA sped up and she landed a contract, and all three of them met for the first time last week on the set of VH1's "Morning Buzz."
EDGE caught up with picture-perfect couple, Stout, 32, and Reeser, 35, fresh from this most recent brush with the public eye, list of questions in hand... starting off with why the proposal unfolded in the unlikely setting of the lumber section in a Home Depot.
"It was part of our first date," Stout says with a grin, explaining quickly that it was the end-cap to their initial meeting at a local Salt Lake City Starbucks; both Stout, who works in IT at the University of Utah, and Reeser, an interior decorator, are DIY home-improvement enthusiasts.
"Dustin and I had been talking about different home improvement projects we had done," he continued. "He showed me a few pictures of a table he had built, and not wanting to leave after the coffee was done, we decided to meander through the Home Depot across the parking lot. We walked through the lumber aisle where he showed me some of the grains of wood he had used for his table so I could get a better idea of how he put it together. We've spent so much time together there since, I figured it was an appropriate place to pop the question."
"You can do it. We can help."
The two met in Salt Lake City when Reeser, then living in Los Angeles, returned to his hometown for a family visit.
Wedding proposals with a flashmob dance routine attached are nothing new to YouTube, but the often thoughtful, romantic themes of those videos are a complete contrast to the in-your-face rah-rah joy-fest Stout had planned. And Betty Who's "Somebody Loves You," a relatively unknown tune three months ago, figures more prominently than one would figure.
"I was like, ’Wow, this song is freakin’ awesome!’" Stout recalls, first hearing "Somebody Loves You" at random on his Spotify playlists. "The song is what really inspired the entire thing. I listened to the words, I was like, ’Oh, my gosh; I’m ready to put a ring on his finger!"
What happened next was a three-month odyssey, beginning with the young woman wearing orange in the front right of the dance mob. If her dancing seems suspiciously expert, it is because, Stout reveals, she is the Zumba instructor who choreographed the entire routine, from the initial arm-swing to the pow-wow at the end. After sending her the song, Stout began coordinating with family and friends, practicing the dance, and keeping the entire thing secret from Reeser. By the end of August, everything was in place and, amazingly, still a secret.
In a now-familiar story, Reeser, who met Stout in Salt Lake City when Reeser, then living in Los Angeles, returned to his hometown for a family visit, recounts how his roommate, recruited by Stout, brought him to the Home Depot under the pretense of buying decorations for a party.
"He was done with whatever he was doing in the garden area, but he didn’t seem done with the day, so he started running across the store to the lumber area," Reeser tells EDGE. "We walk in and I see a mike-boom in my peripheral vision, and I thought we walked into a commercial being filmed. I suddenly realize I know these people in this huge mob; I know who this person is, who that person is, and oh, my gosh, those people are there too, and then those other people are there. It just got crazy."
But even after the dancing began, Reeser affirms he was clueless to the real reason; he explains that he had just graduated from college, and thought the whole production was a very sweet, if a little dramatic, congratulations party. In a Home Depot.
"I thought it was really bizarre (but kind of cool) that they are flashmobbing me for my graduation," he said. "So it keeps going. My parents come out, my best friends come out, and all these people that shouldn’t be there; it doesn’t make sense they are there. And then he comes out, and I’m like, ’Aw, crap.’ "
Both men affirm that they had no idea the video would strike a chord with so many; Stout says he expected "100 people, maybe" might view it after he posted it to the Internet. Certainly, neither expected that a locally done flashmob wedding proposal in Salt Lake City, Utah, would culminate in meeting the singer of "Somebody Loves You" in the VH1 studio in New York City.
"Totally the real deal," Reeser describes the 21-year-old singer from Australia. "She’s super, super cute on camera anyway, and in her video she’s super cute, but in person she is even cuter. She has this awesome presence that is just so cheerful, so cool, and so happy. She’s larger than life." (Reeser is being literal; another thing they didn’t expect was Betty Who’s pixie-like appearance hiding an Amazonian stature of well over six feet.)
Going to the Chapel
"We’re trying to keep our regular lives going," says Reeser, speaking of the immediate future. "We’ve being trying to ride this wave as best we can, and as appropriately, with our jobs and whatever, so we don’t really know what’s going to happen."
Stout explains that while they have become media darlings because of his marriage plans, the wedding itself is still very much still in the initial stages. "We’re talking sometime next summer, maybe. We’re in the middle of all the stress for that big day that it is for everyone."
When asked if they would opt for the tuxedo-patterned wet suits provided by DeGeneres as their wedding wardrobe, the men burst out laughing. And then they got to thinking.
"We might be," Dustin says, "because we’re doing a beach wedding!"
Check out EDGE’s exclusive interview with Betty Who here.