What can I say about My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding?… I looooove it! Best trash TV EVER!
This is a show that makes me put on my PJs, pop popcorn, put on my glasses, and hunker down in bed for a four-hour marathon. What’s better than sixteen-year-old brides wearing dresses that look like giant cupcakes? Nothing, that’s what!
I am so fascinated by this culture that I would literally shoot one of their garish weddings for free. I would climb up on the highest ladder, put on my widest wide-angle lens, and photograph the giant cupcake bride and her cupcake bridesmaids.
In the gypsy culture, a young girl is expected to find a husband by the time she’s sixteen, or she’s considered an old maid. They start looking for a good bloke by age thirteen in most cases. HOW they go about looking is very interesting for so many reasons.
A gypsy girl is not allowed to have any form of sexual contact with any boys prior to being married. In many of the Gypsy communities, they aren’t even allowed to KISS until they are married. However, they find a husband by going to wedding receptions and parties dressed in very revealing clothing and dancing in a very sexual matter. This leads to a courtship ritual called “Grabbing,” where a boy literally grabs a girl, drags her into a dark corner, alley, parking lot, or whatever is private, and forces a kiss on her. I’ve seen it happen on one of the shows I watched, and it’s very forceful. The girls can rarely get away from the boys because they overpower them. It’s quite scary to watch, actually.
When a young Gypsy bride becomes engaged, the first thing she does is go to the most famous Gypsy seamstress in their area (or they travel to see Thema Madine), and they design their gown. The bigger, fluffier, sparklier, weirder, the better. One bride had LED lights installed in her gown, and I was convinced she was going to die in a freak wedding gown fire. The designer brought a fire extinguisher to the wedding. True story.
On the show, there is a lot of talk about the famous seamstress, Thema Madine. We even get to watch her design and hand-stitch these giant gowns. She’s been asked several times on the air how much the gowns cost, and she’s refused to answer, saying that it is a very private matter to the Gypsies, and they never divulge that. However, I found online that these dresses can cost up to $250,000. That makes the culture even MORE interesting to me, because they spend a quarter million on their wedding dress, but they live in a trailer. Interesting.
The ceremony is always held in their church, as they are devout in their Christian faith. The churches have no problem allowing them to have their ceremonies in the church because their courtship is pure and they never live together before they are married.
The biggest problem they come across when planning a wedding is finding a reception venue. Many venues will reject Gypsy business because their parties are known to be rowdy. In fact, the location of the reception isn’t revealed to the guests until after the ceremony has ended. It’s like being part of a secret club! I wish I had the password to get in!
In one episode that I watched, a bride’s family had booked a reception venue, only to be called and told later (after the venue found out it was a Gypsy wedding) that the venue wasn’t available. This happened to the mother of the bride three or four times before she found a venue that would take Gypsies, the DAY BEFORE the wedding. The Gypsy people may like to party and drink, but they don’t cause any damage.
There are many Gypsy cultures that don’t constantly travel, but the Travelers are my favorites by far. They all live in trailers (thus the irony of the $250,000 wedding gown), and their women are the men’s slaves. The men can do what they want, go where they want, drink however much they want… The women get to stay home all day and clean (seriously, once you clean a place that much, there’s no more dirt. Give it up.) The women are expected to bear children right away, and keep ‘em coming. They’re basically baby-making machines. Then, when the first-born girl turns twelve or so, she takes over all the household chores, such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc, until she finds a husband and moves out. Then the next oldest girl takes over the first-born’s duties, and so on. So for the women, it’s a life-long cycle of being a domestic slave, while the men go play and drink. This is my least favorite thing about them as a whole.
It is VERY rare for a Traveler to marry a non-Traveler, because the communities are against it. It’s an absolute travesty if any of the Gypsy young people want to marry someone who is not a Gypsy at all. That just doesn’t happen. Gypsy boys don’t look at non-Gypsy girls for wives because they want to marry a virgin girl who is not “used up” or “someone’s leftovers.” The Gypsy people believe that non-Gypsy girls are whores and live lose lifestyles. Again, ironic considering that the Gypsy boys do the “Grabbing” and force deep kisses on girls and try other sexual things as well. It is common for a Gypsy girl to come out of a Grabbing with a bruised or cut lip from the fight she puts up and the aggressiveness of the boy.
A Little Background
Gypsies are very secretive about their lifestyles. I’m shocked they’re showing anything about themselves on TV. No one even really knows where they originated. It is commonly said that the Gypsy culture started in northern India about 1,000 years ago, and they originally had their own language. Nobody knows why they left India. By 1,300 A.D. they reached Europe, after passing through Persia and Turkey.
In their nomadic life, many Gypsies worked as blacksmiths and traders, as well as artists. They adopted the Christian religion of whatever region they were in. Soon, prejudice people held against the Gypsies turned to persecution. They were expelled from many European countries (such as Switzerland), while in other areas, they were enslaved. Gypsy slavery was abolished in 1860 and many moved to Western Europe. During the Second World War, Hitler exterminated approximately 400,000 Gypsies in his death camps.
Nowadays, Gypsies are found in many countries, including Ireland, Scotland, England, Spain, and the United States. In the U.S., they are found primarily on the east coast. I plan on traveling to the east coast and crashing one of their weddings one of these days. Follow me on Instagram, and you can be the first to see it.