Enjoying “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”

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If I could have crashed a wedding in the British Isles this summer, it would not have been Will and Kate’s.  Hands down it would have been somebody’s Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.  Have you seen this?  In a way it’s Toddlers and Tiaras (which doesn’t interest me, although I loved “Little Miss Sunshine”) on steroids.  At least, that was my first impression.  But I got hooked on the TLC series—originally a British documentary—and found it fascinating.  Visually entertaining, the series reveals a lot about contemporary Romany gypsy and Irish traveller culture through their lavish weddings with massive dresses stuffed into horse-drawn carriages.  And don’t forget the hats.  Ah, the British ladies and their hats.  Such fun!

If you haven’t seen it, here’s a video snippet from YouTube.  And the “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” website offers a good deal of background, some history, and a bit about stereotypes and urban myths about gypsies.  But these are real people who cherish the “traveller ways” and who live on the fringe of society.  It’s clear that a young girl’s wedding—and young they are—is the biggest day of her life, which is why she’s determined to make the most of it.  After that she’ll keep house in her little trailer and tend her husband and children.  But, oh the baubles and frills, oh the pomp and circumstance for that one day.  And why not?  How different is it from “Say Yes To the Dress” in NYC, Atlanta, Dallas, wherever?  Couture is in the eye of the beholder.  “My Fair Wedding”—which I love—offers that princess-for-a-day sentiment, too.  More than anything, I think it’s what we dream of for our daughters.

images Remember Johnny Depp in “Chocolat”?  I didn’t see anyone in “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” who looked like this, but the image is perfect for a Romance hero.  Mystery man, outsider, bad boy–tough, independent, brooding.  Wasn’t Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights described as a gypsy?  And there are such romantic trappings–the music, the dancing, the horses, the nomadic life.  Funny, but the only gypsy (or often part gypsy, so the other part can be titled)  hero that comes to mind is that yummy Nicholas Brisbane from Deanna Raybourne’s Silent series.

Help me out.  Can you recommend any romances with wonderful gypsy heroes?  Have you seen the wedding series?  What struck you—what was your takeaway?

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About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in gypsy, Irish traveler, johnny depp, weddings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Enjoying “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”

  1. Daz says:

    Lisa Kleypas’ Hathaway series features two books in the series with gypsy heroes. Of course, being Lisa Kleypas, the books themselves are fabulous reads too.

  2. I’m here to second Daz’s suggestions Mine Til Midnight and Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas. Ooh…so good! And I love My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding too! How about the one where the girl’s dress is so big she can’t get down the aisle? Eek.

  3. Sarah, Daz–I love Lisa Kleypas. How did I miss those?

    The difficulty getting in and out of the carriage, thropugh the doors, down the aile in those huge dresses–you had to wonder why.

    • You wonder, and then you remember women’s undergarments of old. I loved Betina’s (hope I’ve got the right title) THE UNLIKELY ANGEL–the one about the late 19th century underwear revolution. Anything for “the look,” right ladies?

      And some of the Traveler wedding dresses weigh as much as the girl. Sometimes they actually end up with bruises on their hips. But it’s a competition–more petticoats than the last wedding, more pouf, more bling. Talk about your wow factor. No kidding, it’s must-see.

  4. cindygerard says:

    No gypsie heroes come to mind for my Kathleen but I love the post and love the ‘romance’ of the lifestyle, although, as we know, in ‘real life’ it’s not such a pretty existence. I still blame the gypsies for picking my pocket in Rome a few years ago and making off with my passport, my credit card, my ATM and my cash! It may not have been them (although that was the general consensus) but it does make me feel better to know I was ‘had’ by real pros :o)

    • I remember the dire warnings about gypsy pickpockets when I was there 20 years ago. I was also warned against making eye contact with streetwalkers in Paris or homeless people in Minneapolis. And going out on the road at night on the Reservation. And giving the street kids in Mexico any change. And feeding the pigeons in Central Park. Guess we look like easy pickin’s, Cindy. But we learn through experience, and we know the answer to the 2000-year-old question, “Who is my neighbor?”

  5. michelehauf says:

    Wow, hadn’t even heard of this one. Are those dresses from an actual wedding? Yikes! Looks more southern belle than gypsy.

  6. leannebanks says:

    I FINALLY found this on my television last Saturday night, and I watched a marathon of the show. I watched with a lot of fascination and a bit of horror (due to what happens after the wedding). The dresses were amazing and it was surprising to me how committed the women were to the lifestyle. I’m glad I finally got to see this. I swear there are so many shows and channels I really feel like I need a GPS to find the shows I want to watch! Great topic Kathleen! xo, Leanne

  7. Hi Kathleen, I can’t think of any gypsy heroes, but I have seen one of two episodes of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”. It’s hilarious. The ones I saw, had me ROFLMAO!!! it is very interesting though. I remember thinking about the Gypsy Romani life as I watched and tried to figure out how much has changed and how much stayed the same. The Gypsies do lead very interesting lives.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

    • Absolutely, Paula. My idea of gypsies comes mostly from fiction and Cher–“Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”–so I imagine the caravan and the gypsy outfit that used to be a staple for Halloween because you had most of the pieces at home. I found myself connecting bits from the show to what I’ve read about the origins of the people and their lifestyle. Fascinating.

  8. Kathleen O says:

    I have never seen this show, but I will be on the look out for it.. And Chocolat’ was one of my fav moviies and i watch it every time it hits the TV screen… I am sure in my family’s past there might have been an Irish gypsy or two…

  9. Kylie Brant says:

    I am such a non-romantic sometimes I think I should have to turn in my girl-card 😦 Weddings don’t do much for me. They’re one day, after all. And the weddings that are personal (my own and my kids) are fraught with such stress and yes, emotion that much of the details are lost on me. (When the first of my sons got married, several months later I had to be reminded that my son walked me down the aisle. I’d forgotten in all the my-baby-is-getting-married) emotion. My daughter promises that she won’t be a bride-zilla when her turn comes but that remains to be seen 🙂

    My dad is 87 and grew up in small town Iowa. Every once in a while he’ll talk about the gypsies coming to town and what a big deal it was. Children weren’t allowed outside their houses for the duration. I think the main thing he recalls are the gamers and scammers…people ended up getting fleeced but only because they thought they could beat the gypsies at their own games.

    • Interesting, Kylie. It’s that other-ness that gets us. We moved to a little Air Force town in Idaho when I was about 6, and I remember my mother saying (this was back in the 50’s) that one of the locals warned her against shopping on Saturdays because that was the day the Indians came to town.

  10. Linda Morgan says:

    Luanne Rice’s Light of the Moon is one of my all time favorite books. There are gorgeous gypsy men riding white horses in the surf and in the circus, and I think I’ll read it again. She did a
    fantastic descriptive story and I could see it in my mind as I read.

  11. Marilyn says:

    I’ve seen an episode of this and was amazed at the amount of money spent on these weddings. I hope they’re not hiring a divorce attorney before the wedding is paid off. I have that same worry over “Say Yes to the Dress” sometimes too. I have to admit, I’m a “Toddlers & Tiaras” junkie. I think I watch because it makes my life seem normal and makes me realize I wasn’t such a bad mother after all. I only had boys, but I never fed them Pixie Stix to keep them awake for a Little League game or spent hundreds on a baseball glove hoping they’d make the major leagues.

  12. Mama always said boys were easier to raise. I disagree. I do think it’s become outrageously expensive to raise a kid, and it’s not just the cost of education. I can’t believe what Prom costs these days. I think the T&T moms are trying to get a do-over through their daughters.

  13. Kylie Brant says:

    My mother would agree with you, Kathleen 🙂 After three boys she said had I been another boy she would have run away, LOL. But I agree with your mother. Raising all four boys was easier than our one girl. It’s all about the personalities involved, of course. The parents’ and the kids’.

  14. Helen Brenna says:

    Sorry, Kathy, but I can’t think of a single gypsy hero. My mind went blank as soon as I read Johnny Depp in Chocolat! lol

  15. librarypat says:

    My daughter never misses this show. She has told me many times about it, but I’ve not yet seen it. I did watch a few clips on You-Tube and the outfits are just over the top.

    I do remember reading a book with a gypsy hero many years ago, but am afraid I have no idea who the author was or what the title was.

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