As someone who is some small percentage Gypsy (my mother swears we’re Russian from the Caucaucus mountains), I’m more than a little bit fascinated by Gypsy culture. I’ve watched the UK version of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” and have been blown away by the elaborate wedding ceremonies Gypsy families participate in, passing off their often very young daughters into marriage. Gypsy communities seem to be tightly knit and in some ways highly traditional (despite the short skirts that many of the young women wear to their friend’s weddings, Gypsy girls are expected to remain very, very chaste until marriage.)
Gypsies aren’t just a European phenomenon, either. A new TLC series documents the similar Gypsy culture in the U.S. — a people who also fight against immense prejudice and stereotypes, who love fiercely and who really seem to love a big, froofry, extravagant wedding dress. Check out the American version of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” on Sunday nights at 10 pm EST, and check out some of the girl’s wild dresses here.
Don’t let anyone tell you reality TV shows are a scourge on American television. We may have “16 & Pregnant” and “Jersey Shore,” but the UK has “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.” Apparently in its second year, “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” follows teen brides from Europe’s gypsy clans, the Romany and the Travellers. Generally speaking, gypsies tend to live nomadic lives and travel from place to place. Last night’s episode featured 17-year-old Josie and 19-year-old Swanley, who married in July only five months after they met. Had you pressed the “mute” button, however, it would be difficult to tell Josie and Swanley were having a gypsy wedding: she wore a fluffy white confection of a dress and a garter, her bridesmaids were decked out in Spanish-style fuchsia dresses, and a priest performed the ceremony in a church. (You can see some over-the-top wedding looks from stills from the first season of “My Bit Fat Gypsy Wedding” on the Guardian’s web site.) And despite the stereotypes that gypsies live on the streets, or travel around in caravans, Josie lived inside a house. According to the Daily Mail UK, the most “gypsy” thing about the bride and groom on “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” is their unconventional-mixed-with-completely-conventional lifestyle. Keep reading »