How to cartwheel in a wedding dress

June 9 | Guest post by nicskywalker  
Photos by: Diesel Photographics

wedding dress cartwheels on offbeat bride
Photos by Photography by Diesel Photographics

I taught myself to cartwheel when I was 11 years old. It was the summer, I'd become obsessed with gymnastics — watching the "Nadia" movie, reading the "Gymnasts" books by Elizabeth Levi, and sadly realizing I was already too old to start, if I had any hope of reaching the Olympics.

That didn't stop me wanting to learn, however. I begged for lessons but instead was sent to learn piano. So what else could an enterprising kid do but teach herself?

I've done at least one cartwheel a day since then. It's a skill I am determined not to lose — I'm going to be that 80-year-old granny who is always upside-down.

So on my wedding day, there was no question about what would happen! To me, a cartwheel is an expression of joy, and there is so much joy when you get to marry the love of your life!

Here's how you too can pull off a cartwheel in a wedding dress…

cartwheel in a wedding dress

STEP 1:

Buy your dress with a consideration for cartwheels.

Truth is, if it's so long that you might trip in it, you probably can't cartwheel.
Likewise, if it's tight, or mermaid style, or super-short, a cartwheel probably can't happen in that either. You need free legs and free range of motion!

STEP 2:

Practice, in heels, without the dress.

cartwheeling in a wedding dress

STEP 3:

Practice, in the dress, with NO SHOES.

This step is essential. If your dress has a train, you will very likely land on it. This should happen in an extremely clean (indoor) area with lots of space. I did my practicing at the dressmaker's (where I went for alterations). She had a beautiful big carpeted space!

STEP 4:

Consider taping your dress along your bust. Especially if the dress is strapless. (Thankfully I didn't need to do this!)

STEP 5:

Wear underwear that you wouldn't mind everyone seeing.

STEP 6:

Practice in the dress AND your wedding shoes. Just so you know you can land it before doing it in front of everyone.

STEP 7:

On the wedding day, make sure your hairpiece and accessories are secure. Be prepared for them to get knocked askew (particularly the veil) but that's half the fun, right?

STEP 8:

Go for it!

wedding dress cartwheel 1

wedding dress cartwheel 2

wedding dress cartwheel 3

wedding dress cartwheel 4

wedding dress cartwheel 5

TRICKS FOR THE CARTWHEEL:

  • Land lightly. Even if you land on the train, keep it soft.
  • Do not keep your legs together — this will risk the skirt flying up. Your legs should be at a "V" angle.
  • Whip around FAST. This will ensure your bust doesn't spill out at the top, AND the momentum ensures your skirt doesn't fly up.
  • You cannot cartwheel slowly. You need the momentum to keep your skirt around your ankles (or knees, if it's shorter) and so you need to make it speedy.

I wanted to cartwheel down the aisle for my wedding, but, due to a hurricane turning the beach into a swamp, I wasn't prepared to get muddy before the ceremony. So it happened after the ceremony, and at the reception.

And my husband joined me in the cartwheels of joy too…

groom cartwheels

groom cartwheeling

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  1. You are far more accomplished than I! I never mastered cartwheels. I've only managed a handstand a couple of times. I think I'm just far too scared to be in the air and freak out half-way through, heh.

  2. I learned to cartwheel in honor of my 40th birthday, it is the ultimate expression of joy!! (Of course, I got married at 38, if I still had the dress I'd put it on just to cartwheel!!) Thanks for sharing!

    2 agree
  3. Oh my goodness, this article is awesome! I tried learning to cartwheel in my teens and never managed to get it right. I can't do it at my wedding (slim dress + cramped venue) but will try learning it again the next time I go to the park. Thanks for inspiring me!

    1 agrees

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