My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Christmas is a time for family, a time for peace and for harmony but it is also a time to celebrate. From the makers of My Big Fat Gypsy Weddings comes a one-off observational documentary following the celebrations and traditions of members of the Irish traveller community at Christmas time.

Filmed last Christmas, as a thick layer of snow covered the land, there’s an avalanche of dresses and diamante as travellers prepare for Christmas. Following a mass yuletide traveller First Communion ceremony and two of the most jaw-dropping weddings ever shown, the film also follows some of the unique traveller preparations that go on in the run up to Christmas day.

The film follows Irish travellers, not previously featured in the series, who open their doors to the cameras, and also catches up with some familiar faces; spending Christmas Day itself with Paddy and Roseanne at their home on a traveller site in Salford.

This warm and joy-filled film offers a window into the close-knit and fiercely private community. It explores some of the age old traveller traditions – and some of the newer ones too. It also answers some practical questions such as where do you gather when family and friends are scattered around the globe for most of the year? How do you hide presents for the kids when you live in a trailer? How many people can you fit in a trailer for Christmas lunch? And just why are the outfits so important?

9:00pm Thursday, April 28 on C4

If you thought all the wedding excitement this week would be at Westminster Abbey, think again. Channel 4 viewers will have front row seats to celebrate THE wedding of the year: a Big Fat Gypsy one. Some people may live in palaces and some in caravans, but regardless of wealth or title everyone wants their own wedding day to be absolutely perfect. In recent weeks, cameras have been following behind the scenes as a team of wedding planners have been tasked with orchestrating the biggest, fattest wedding of the year for one this one-off special from the makers of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. Can the dresses get any bigger, can the cake get any higher and will one Irish Traveller bride and groom have the perfect wedding of their dreams?

My Big Fat Royal Gypsy Wedding: Channel 4, 9pm on April 28th

Some people may live in palaces and some in caravans but regardless of wealth or title everyone wants their own wedding day to be absolutely perfect.

On Friday – exactly a fortnight before Kate and William say I do – a very special wedding took place in Peterborough between Irish Travellers Mary and Paddy.

The 23 year olds who have been together for three years are the stars of the brand new one off special My Big Fat Royal Gypsy Wedding which will air on Channel 4 at 9pm on April 28th – the day before the Royal Wedding.

No different from Kate and William the couple had set ideas about what they wanted for their day and like most brides Mary confessed she has been dreaming of her wedding day for years. Making the day special for the couple was job of dressmaker Thelma Madene and her team.

They were tasked to pull off a Big Fat Gypsy Wedding that would rival the Royal wedding in the glitz and glamour stakes…. in just three weeks.

Organising a wedding can often take months – sometimes years – but the three week deadline meant that the team were under immense pressure to deliver the wedding of Mary’s dreams. With camera’s following their progress Thelma and her team worked day and night to give bride what she wanted.

There were certainly some tears and tantrums but by the look of things the team certainly did not disappoint. Some travellers say that the fashion for ‘sticky out dresses’ was first inspired by Diana Princess off Wales’ wedding dress.

Rather aptly Mary chose a ‘Princess’ theme for her big day. In true fairytale fashion arrived at the church in a carriage pulled by six white horses and manned by coachmen dressed in white suits.

Accompanied by her father the bemused bride drew cheers from the crowds of onlookers as she travelled to the church although she was not that easy to spot as she had layers and layers of her incredible white wedding gown piled around her almost hiding her from view.

The enormous bespoke billowing white dress was adorned with over 40,000 crystals in the bodice and train – the most crystals Thelma has ever used in a dress. The gathered white train was 18 ft long and wider than Diana Princess of Wales’ own epic train.

To top it all off Mary wore a crystal encrusted tiara ensuring she certainly sparkled like a fairytale princess on her special day. In her hands she carried a bouquet of white roses entwined with large white features and dotted with crystals. Arriving at the church – an hour late – the bride was helped from the carriage by her maid of honour.

Like Kate Mary chose her younger sister Margaret (18) to be by her side at her wedding. Margaret had travelled to the church in a limousine with the other 5 bridesmaids and the two mini-brides. Margaret, the bride’s mother and the five bridesmaids wore sugar pink dresses with crystal encrusted bodices.

Also part of the wedding party were Mary’s two youngest sisters Nikita and Caitlin who were ‘mini-brides’ for the occasion – a tradition amongst some Irish travellers – and dressed in exact replicas of Mary’s bridal gown.

After the wedding ceremony the married couple emerged from the church to find locals gathered to take photos and give them a round of applause. They left to celebrate their wedded bliss with friends and family at a reception near by.

Thelma had been charged with dressing the venue to the bride’s wishes but it was the wedding cake which caused some last minute panic. The cake – made by the same company that made the Disney Castle cake in the series of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings – resembled the Cinderella carriage that Mary travelled in to the church, complete with six white horses.

However, it was so large that there was frantic scramble to find a table big enough for it at the venue. In the end THREE trestle tables had to be hurriedly fitted together in order to display it in it’s full glory. With nearest and dearest gathered the couple danced into the night.

A spokesman for the venue, Wood Green Animal Shelters, said: “We pulled out all of the stops to ensure Wood Green looked absolutely stunning on the day. All of the staff involved worked tremendously hard to ensure the bride, groom and their families had a great time.”

The married couple are now on honeymoon but to see all the planning and preening – including behind the scenes pre-wedding jitters – tune in to My Big Fat Royal Gypsy Wedding.

10:05pm Sunday, January 9 on M4

Entering the world of 21st-century Gypsy and Traveller weddings, where ancient traditions meet modern fashions in an ostentatious culture clash, Cutting Edge follows four Gypsy and Traveller families on their wedding days.

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