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Video of the week: Double amputee, Paralympian Nathan Stephens surprises with wedding dance

August 26, 2013
Rachel Bennett

The first dance between a married couple is a beautiful sight, but at the wedding of double amputee and Paralympian Nathan Stephens, it was also a surprising one.

Nathan Stephens dances with bride
Nathan Stephens dances with bride Charlene. Stephens lost his legs when he was 9 years old. Photo credit: Andrew Sparkes/Prints of Wales Photography Service

For the first time in over 10 years, guests saw 25-year-old Stephens stand on two legs in order to dance with his bride, Charlene Beard.

Stephens, who lost his legs in a train accident when he was 9 years old, uses a wheelchair and one prosthesis to move because wearing two prostheses causes him severe discomfort.

However, Stephens put aside his pain to give Beard a traditional wedding dance.

“I wanted to dance with Charlene more than anything but not pushing myself along in my wheelchair,” Stephens says. “I was adamant I was going to do it on my legs, and if I set my mind to something, I always get there.”

He adds, “It was one thing that I could give her that no one else could.”

Watch their dance below:

The couple, who kept the plan a secret, began practicing the dance eight months prior to the ceremony.

“We practiced our dance for hours, and we carried it off on our big day,” Beard says. “I am so proud of him.”

“Some of my family have not even seen me on two legs for at least 10 years,” Stephens says. “After the dance, everybody was coming up in tears saying they were proud of us.”

When not dancing, Stephens is an avid Paralympian. He played for the Great Britain ice sledge hockey team at the 2006 Winter Paralympics and participated in the discus, shot put and javelin competitions at the 2008 Summer Paralympics.

He hopes to make it to next year’s Winter Paralympics in Russia and the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio in 2016.

But for now, Stephens and Beard have their sights set on their honeymoon in Sardinia, Italy. There, he says, they will “dance under the stars.”

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