by Lara Eastburn
In recent years, the modern hula hoop has spread from its now decade-old origins at music festivals to local parks, gyms and dance studios, and even the covers of magazines. What’s the next unlikely place you’ll spot some grown up hooping? Well, it may just be at the next wedding you attend. In January, The Gathering Guide suggested soon-to-be-wed couples add hula hoops to their bridal mix as a sure-fire way to get everyone grooving on the dance floor. The article, “Hula Hooping: A Wedding Sport?” even includes hoop-making instructions and encourages hiring a hooping performer for the big event. Dare we say that hooping is carving out a place as the newest bridal trend? If it is, we expect that the spark for that trend began with passionate hoopers who didn’t think twice about including their favorite circle in one of the most important days of their lives. I reached out to some recent hooping brides to find out what the hoop brought to their big day.
When Kimberly Adams Cash filled her wedding day with hoops in August 2009, the stunning photos by Lanier Star Photography caught the eye of alternative wedding blog Rock N Roll Bride. For Kim, it was a no-brainer to add hoops to the mix. “Hooping has been a special part of my life for a long time, so it was only natural for us to include that kind of fun at our wedding!” And she knew that hoops would go a long way toward alleviating the typical formalities and expectations that come with such a big family event. “We were hoping to create a more laid back, cozy vibe. Our vision for the day was that our family and friends would feel at home and enjoy relaxing and celebrating with us. Our reception included making smores around a bonfire on the beach and, of course, hula hoops! Almost everyone took a moment to pick one up. Hooping brings out the happy loving little kid in all of us and that was exactly the energy that we wanted to surround ourselves with on the happiest day of our lives.”
The following year, Jackie Lew, who runs a hooping business in New York, was all set for her outdoor hooping wedding. “Because hooping is such an integral part of my life I couldn’t imagine my wedding without it,” she says. But with 2010’s Hurricane Earl barreling up the coast of New England, the reception moved to safer quarters indoors where the wedding party and guests alike hooped it up all night long. “Even though we were cramped on space – most of the time I was hooping on a pool table! – about a third of all the guests and staff tried it out. My friends, siblings, nieces and nephew, wait staff and even the photographers spent a good amount of time spinning it up.”
In the spring of April 2012, Crystal Darling-Ketcham, owner of Darling Hoops in California, was busy crafting hoops along with all the other preparations for her wedding. “I made hoops for my bridesmaids, our flower girls and the guests to play with!” It couldn’t have gone over better at the reception. “Not only were the kids hooping, but most of the adults picked one up, too, and hooped like they were 6 years old again!. Hoops make people of all ages smile and be a kid again. And that’s exactly what I wanted to be for my wedding day.”
Earlier this month, Missy Almanzar-Trautman‘s friend Zhina Kachina captured this photo at her wedding hoop performance. There wasn’t a reception, so Missy took the opportunity to demonstrate her happiness through hoop dance. “I hooped at my wedding to show friends how happy and full of bliss I was through movement with my hoop.”
That sentiment was shared by Katie Herr, who also wed this month. Yenra Photography caught some particularly special moments. “Nothing describes me better than my hula hoop. I wanted to add it to my wedding because it’s a very special part of who I am today. It is a very different aspect of myself that family and friends never get to witness up close! It was a lot of fun. I got to share a dance with my ‘hoop brother,’ and I’ll never forget it.”
So when May’s celebrity wedding between Dick Van Dyke and Arlene Silver included hula hoops, you bet former Hooping.org editor Ariel Stalling’s Offbeat Bride took notice. Rawtography recorded the couple’s nautical circus theme and captured some if its truly magical hooping moments. Arlene told me that she chose to incorporate hula hoops at her wedding because she wanted to have as many interactive elements as possible. But the new bride is also a self-described “amateur” hooper herself. She explains, “I had a couple of hoops on hand, so including them was also a reflection of my personality. I couldn’t believe what a hit they were! Everyone was trying it. Young, old, men, women, gay, straight, it didn’t matter.” One of her favorite memories from her wedding? “Watching my Mom hoop to ‘Walking on Sunshine’ in it’s entirety!”
Looking for a hoop-friendly wedding planner? You’ll find one in The Hula Hooping Bride, based in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Joye Eggleston knows what the hoop means to you and will help you make it an interactive part of your big day. As for our readers who are already hitched, did you hoop at your wedding? You know we’d love to see the photos! And keep a look out at the weddings you’ll be attending this Summer. We expect you’ll be seeing some hula hoops and you heard it here first. Hula hoops are the next big wedding trend. Just ask the DJ.
Lara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. She’s also the driving force behind Circumference with online and live business and marketing classes for hoop makers, instructors, and performers.