A one-off special, "My Bigger Fatter Gypsy Wedding" features the biggest Traveller wedding of the year with dressmaker Thelma Madine as event planner.
For generations, traveller celebrations have been a family affair. Though the traditional way of life has declined in recent years, the large tight-knit family unit still lies at the heart of the traveller community. In this episode we meet the Mcfadyens, a large Irish traveller family in the midst of a series of celebrations. The family is excited about the release of their father Chris from prison, who they plan to pick up in a stretch limousine. We catch up with Josie Mcfadyen and her husband Swanley who first appeared in the last series, when Josie waded down the aisle in her enormous front-split wedding dress. Recently convicted Josie is planning the Christening of her 6 month old daughter, but still finds the time to decorate her electronic tag with bling. We meet Josie's sister, Barbara, who is about to become engaged to her boyfriend Malachy. But Malachy must first make the daunting move of asking permission from Barbara's father. We also catch up with 15 year old Cheyenne who we last saw at a wedding being "grabbed" by Josie's brother John. In the fast-track traveller style, Cheyenne and cage-fighter John are now engaged to be married. Soon to be 16, Cheyenne has the daunting task of organizing her wedding on her own as she deals with the recent death of her mother.
In this episode we witness a community at a cross roads, as the battle to preserve the gypsy and traveller way of life intensifies. Will the future tear their culture apart, or do they have a place together in the modern world?
For Gypsies and Travellers, a clean family name is crucial, and the consequences of losing it are devastating. After causing a scandal by spending time alone with her boyfriend, Rosanne is rushed up the aisle to save her reputation. But 26 year old Irish traveller Pricilla is used to scandal. Divorced with four kids, she's planning to shock the travelling community once more with a boob job and a second marriage to a non traveller. Paddy and Rosanne return and have a spectacular New Year's Eve party to celebrate an eventful year whilst Paddy's son Simey trains for a bare knuckle fight against a rival family. Meanwhile, Mikey explains what it's like growing up and coming out as a gay in the Traveller community. 17 year old Irish traveller Rosanne became what's known as a Runaway Bride, when she deliberately spent time alone with her boyfriend as a way of forcing her parents to bring her marriage forward by a year and a half. But it was a strategy not without its risks, as many traveller girls runaway with their boyfriends only to find themselves dumped and scandalised meaning no other boy will go near them. Divorced Pricilla also caused a scandal when aged 16 she ran off with a boy all because she wanted to be able to go to discos. She immediately regretted her actions but to avoid scandal the couple were married on the quiet in a registry office. Stuck in a loveless relationship and with two kids she left her marriage aged 22 forsaking her ties with her family in the process. Now she has found love with a "gorga" man she has two more children - out of wedlock - and the freedom she craved. To prepare for the wedding of her dreams to a man that she loves Pricilla is making sure she looks her best - with a boob job and tummy tuck in Poland. Mikey explains what it is like growing up and coming out as a gay traveller. His sisters fully support him, but asked if they would come out if they were gay, they say they definitely wouldn't, they'd rather "live a lie."
In gypsy and traveller culture, marrying outside of the community has long been frowned upon. But with their nomadic lifestyle under threat and the younger generation becoming more influenced by non-traveller culture, inter-marriage is on the increase. This episode explores further the cultural divide between gypsies and non-gypsies and looks at what happens when the two worlds are thrust together in marriage. Cage fighter Tony Giles is a typical red-blooded gypsy, who is happy to defend his family's honor even if it means getting into trouble with the law. But his family are displeased with him, for not only is Tony fathering the child a non-traveller, but she is also a glamour model. Gypsy values strongly frown upon women flaunting their private parts and we meet Danielle as she poses for a photo shoot while 8 months pregnant. In the last series we met non-traveller Sam who had decided to leap head first into traveller culture by marrying English gypsy Pat. To prove her commitment, Sam ordered the mother of all dresses, which included robotic butterflies and a built in light show. We catch up with the couple as they are expecting their first child and find out how Sam is coping with the prospect of bringing up her baby in a small caravan situated next to a waste disposal unit. Romany gypsy George Webb warns us of the dangers a mixed marriage can bring. George was married to a non-traveller for 7 years, but his wife was reluctant to be a traditional gypsy housewife. Recently separated, George can now only see his children twice a week. In a bid to keep their gypsy identity alive, he dresses them in traditional clothes and takes them hedgehog hunting. Gypsy Tracey and non-traveller Phil have been married for 10 years and are an example of when a mixed marriage can work. But their wedding was a low key affair and they have decided to renew their wedding vows, allowing Tracey to have the lavish wedding she has always wanted.
As the eldest granddaughter of a family with both Romany gypsy and Irish traveller heritage, 15 year old Santana is expected to follow strict rules for girls and set a good example for her younger family members. No longer at school she spends a lot of her time cleaning the family chalet with the occasional visit from a teacher for home schooling. About to turn 16 she is planning a lavish sweet 16th birthday party - complete with a dress made by Thelma and a fifteen tier cake decorated with fireworks. Santana has got a lot to celebrate. Proud Grandma Bridie - the current family matriarch - explains that turning 16 means Santana will be allowed a bit more freedom and is trusted to be let off her cleaning duties for a few more hours a week. Sixteen year old Cassa bucks the trend of many gypsy teens and still attends school. Her dreams for the future include driving an Audi and having whiter teeth but she still finds time to attend her textiles exam. Is her motivation for staying at school the qualifications she could gain or just the opportunity to attend prom in a giant Barbie inspired prom dress? Romany Gypsies Alice and Angel are best friends. Alice is 12 and left school at the end of Primary school. She now works at her Dad's horse fair learning "how to earn a living" while her 7 year old brother Mikey drives a JCB digger "better than some twenty year olds." Best friend Angel has decided to stay on at school and plans to take her GCSE's. Teased by Alice for being a 'school girl' eloquent Angel's decision to continue her education has been made harder due to facing racial abuse at school and finding some lessons uncomfortable to attend.
Despite a way of life that can often put them in conflict with the law, Gypsies and Travellers will always find a way to celebrate. In this episode, Irish Traveller Danielle is determined to live her life in a traditional way and, at just 15, is planning a lavish black pink and bling hen party. The only problem is her intended, 20 year old Brendan, is up in court on the same day. 8 year old Chloe's Mum has ordered a massive "sticky out" dress for her daughter's communion. But there will be one person missing on her special day. Her dad is in Strangeways prison, but Chloe is determined he will get to see her in her dress. Ambrose is in training for a trap and horse road race to take place on the public highway. It's an age old gypsy tradition but it's now against the law, and for the race to go ahead Ambrose will have to avoid the local constabulary. Up in Leeds 22 year old Mary and her fellow Irish Travellers have been kicked off their illegal site. Under cover of dark they race to find a new site before the police can stop them.
This episode explores the competitive streak that lies behind the now famous gypsy look and the extraordinary sacrifices that are taken to achieve it. 21 year old Deloras is an Irish traveller who lives the high life. From driving a Porsche along the beaches of the Spanish coast (on an extended 6-month sojourn, courtesy of her father's business dealings) to the ultra-wealthy town of Rathkeale in County limerick, we see her as she prepares for the biggest day of her life - her wedding day. For the event she has commissioned two dresses - the first an exotic pineapple themed outfit for the all important "night-before"; the second an extravagant "cat" dress for the day of her nuptials. So outlandish are the designs that even Thelma, a dress maker well used to unusual ideas, describes them as "the most outrageous request" she has ever had. Sammy Jo is an Irish traveller whose "look" is a constant preoccupation. As she prepares to compete in a beauty contest for travellers, she tops up her gypsy tan and reveals the how, for her, the inherent risk of cancer is far less important than maintaining her look. "If I get cancer, I get cancer...but at least I'll still look good." Nangirl, Margaret, Rosemary and Bridget are four cousins in direct competition to be the most beautiful on the day of their first holy communion. For these girls the service is all about the need to "look good for God" but as their day unfolds we see that when it comes to looking your best, "beauty is pain."
The final episode of season one uncovers the prejudice that exists against the travelling community in Britain today. But discrimination is nothing new to the travellers and their secretive seclusion from mainstream society seems to be their only defence. In this final episode dressmaker Thelma has to make a dress for a bride who won't even tell her when the wedding is for fear of the venue finding out she is a traveller and cancelling the booking. She is right to be concerned as another bride, 19 year old Irish Traveller Bridget, has already had her wedding venues cancelled three times. The night before the ceremony, and with the dress of her dreams, she should be enjoying herself but as her family arrive for the ceremony she nervously worries it could still go horribly wrong. Gypsy elder Billy organises the annual Appleby Horse Fair. The event is well established but when police presence is noticeably increased gypsies and travellers take to the streets in protest. Will the Appleby residence support them and will the Police hear their concerns?
The final episode of season one uncovers the prejudice that exists against the travelling community in Britain today.
Whilst gypsy and traveller women all want to be a princess on their wedding day, the reality in the gypsy community is that on every other day it is man who is King.
Whilst gypsy and traveller women all want to be a princess on their wedding day, the reality in the gypsy community is that on every other day it is man who is King. The fourth in this five part series looks at the testosterone filled world of the traveller man, where disputes are settled with fists and status conveyed by the car that you drive. Ex-bare-knuckle boxer Paddy - the patriarch of a Salford traveller site - explains the role of a traveller man and crucially how he earns enough to keep wife Roseanne happy. This film includes a christening, weddings and a uniquely traveller memorial service - all from the man's point of view. It also follows the run up to the wedding of Romany gypsy Violet Ann. Violet Ann is used to being independent but due to be married she is about to give up her job to become a gypsy wife. Until now she has hidden her gypsy identity from her employer for fear of reprisal but two days before the wedding she finally feels able to reveal to her boss who she really is.
This episode explores how the travelling community are fighting to preserve their ancient culture and customs and the obstacles they face keeping their traditional way of life alive. Six year old Mary Ann lives on Europe's biggest traveller site, Dale Farm in Essex, which is home to more than 1000 travellers. Although they own the land the community has not been granted planning permission for their homes and face imminent eviction. With the site eviction looming Mary Ann's mother Margaret hastily arranges the celebration of her daughter's first communion so the whole community can celebrate together; it may well be the last party on the site. Whilst Mary Ann prepares for the ceremony with her first ever spray tan, and suffers welts on her hips from the size of her dress, three miles away a smaller traveller site is cleared by bailiffs and the families watch on as the bulldozers move in and their homes are destroyed. The episode also follows the lead up to the wedding between 17-year-old non-gypsy Sam to her gypsy boyfriend Patrick. Pat knows there are some in the traveller community who won't like the fact he is marrying a non-traveller; his own family have strong opinions on "Gorgers" (non-travelling people). Sam is expected to adopt gypsy traditions once she is married. Used to living in a house with her parents she prepares to give up her previous life and live in a trailer, all be it one with Chanel emblazoned bed linen. Keen to prove her gypsy girl credentials Sam has asked dressmaker Thelma to design a phenomenal wedding dress. With 21 underskirts, battery powered lights and moving diamante butterflies it weighs more than the bride's father proving to the doubters that she is "more of a traveller than a traveller."
The first episode in the series looks at the milestones in a traveller girl's life en route to the biggest day of her life - her wedding day. From her first holy communion described as a "dress rehearsal for her wedding day" - to the strict rules of courtship, a hen night, and of course a visually spectacular wedding this episode will examine the traditions and rules followed by gypsy and traveller girls in Britain today. Margaretha and her brother John Boy have their first Holy Communion. Josie & Swanley are planning their big day but will either of them make it to the church on time? Attending this wedding are single girls Cheyenne and Montana who reveal the usual rules of dating within the Traveller community.
Entering the world of 21st Century gypsy and traveller weddings, where ancient traditions meet modern fashions in an ostentatious culture clash, this film follows four gypsy and traveller families on their wedding day. Considered "on the shelf" at 20, in gypsy and traveller communities many girls get married soon after their 16th birthday with the support of their family. The weddings are visual spectacles: brides and their families compete to have the most flamboyant dresses; girls parade into church in enormous dresses that sometimes weigh more than the bride herself. Although the women look sexually provocative there is a tradition of premarital chastity that is increasingly unusual in Britain today. Gaining rare access to this fascinating and often misunderstood community, the film uses the prism of the weddings to reveal a culture where marriages between first cousins are acceptable but having children out of wedlock is still taboo and divorce is unheard of. Used to facing prejudice, this is a community that lives alongside but detached from mainstream society. It is a world of contrasts, living by centuries old religious and cultural traditions but at the same time embracing the gaudier extremes of the celebrity - and fashion-obsessed times in which we live.
Important, last-minute wedding details have to be kept secret.
Justin Bieber gives these two fans the shock of a lifetime!
Kids decked out in diamonds and hot pants ride into town in limos for communion.
Learn all about the various embellishments of a Gypsy wedding gown!
The McFadyen household consists of 2 trailers, 8 kids, and an adopted cousin.
There are an estimated one million Gypsies and Travellers throughout the US.
Season 2 sneak peek of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding premiering Friday 3/23 at 10|9c.
Bride Mary wants her wedding dress to be more grand than the royals!
Lavinia's groom is late for the wedding because he's finishing up some drinking.
Priscilla's decision to remarry has helped heal the shame caused by the divorce.
A big wedding dress doesn't always equate with grace and elegance..
A Gypsy bride to be auditions some unusual talent for her wedding entertainment.
Santana is planning a lavish 16th birthday party.
Staying true to the much loved first series, seven brand new episodes offer unprecedented access to members of traveller and gypsy communities to gain an even greater insight into their world.
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