Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
About the Show
Revealing documentary series that offers a window into the secretive, extravagant and surprising world of gypsies and travellers in Britain today
Carols and Caravans
From Travellers soaking up the sun in Tenerife, to a festive 18th birthday and a truly spectacular winter wedding, a Gypsy Christmas is never without its drama.
Christmas is an important event in the travelling community, a time to put their troubles aside and rejoice. But for a people with travel in the blood, it's also an excuse to escape the harsh winter to adventure.
My Big Fat Gypsy Christening
This special episode explores the Traveller and Gypsy community's unique approach toward birth and death, revealing a world with its own strict rules of conduct.
Gypsies and Travellers celebrate communions and weddings with their own traditions and spectacular style,but these are not the only events in the life cycle that are marked and celebrated.
This programme explores attitudes concerning birth and death, revealing a world in which pregnancy comes with its own strict rules of conduct, where breastfeeding is considered shameful by some, and where a funeral is an event planned with as much energy as the very biggest weddings, drawing crowds of hundreds.
My Big Fat Gypsy Ladies' Day
Ladies' Day at the races is a big date in the Gypsy calendar. This one-off special explores the unique bond between the Travelling community and their horses.
While the splendour of Ladies' Day at the races is traditionally seen as the preserve of the British aristocracy, across the racetrack, on the other side of the fence, thousands of Travellers and Gypsies gather for one of the biggest dates in the Gypsy calendar.
From the unique spectacle of a horse fair to the excitement of a controversial road race in the dead of night, the races may mean many things to Traveller men, but to many Traveller women it's a place to stand out from the crowd, and, more importantly, to find love.
The Luck of the Irish
This special episode follows Irish Travellers on both sides of the Irish Sea, with spectacular weddings, christenings, and that very special date: St Patrick's Day.
The communities of Irish Travellers in the UK and Ireland share a special bond, but their values don't always match. However, it becomes apparent over the course of the film that, despite their differences, they remain united by an in-built desire to celebrate life, whatever it throws at them.
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings: Life on the Run
This episode follows one travelling clan over the course of a tumultuous year, witnessing the clan's constant game of cat and mouse with the councils, the daring 'land grabs' in the dead of night, the battles with the local residents, the hardships of long winters in freezing caravans, and the joys of being free spirits and testing the limits of the law.
The film also finds the family putting their troubles to one side as they have a spectacular summer Traveller wedding.
Should Travellers have the right to roam and park up their caravans wherever they see fit, or will the local councils and residents stop them? Could this be the end of the traditional travelling way of life?
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings: Best Dressed Brides
Dressmaker Thelma Madine reveals the secrets behind her most outrageous creations, from design and production through to the unique excitement of a Traveller or Gypsy wedding day.
Thelma relives the mayhem and magic that went into creating the most incredible outfits, recalling everything from glow- in-the-dark wedding dresses to her famous pineapple and palm tree costumes.
My Big Fat Gypsy Fortune
Ever since the first Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, millions of viewers have watched the extravagant weddings and asked the same question: where does the money come from? It has been one of the Travelling community's most closely guarded secrets. Until now...
Gypsies and Travellers form some of the richest and the poorest elements of society, from Alfie Best, a Romany Gypsy worth a reported £100 million, to down-on-his-luck Romany Gypsy George. This programme lifts the lid on a community with its own unique customs, traditions and attitudes to money.
Meanwhile, Irish Traveller Larry is planning an amazing wedding for his eldest daughter Margaret. Eight bridesmaids, 300 guests and a huge white dress don't come cheap, and Larry has been saving all his life. But as he later reveals, some Travellers have a secret way of financing their breath-taking weddings...
My Big Fat Gypsy Valentine
This one-off Valentine's special explores love and courtship in the Traveller community, following Ina and Danielle as they prepare to wed their first loves.
In the Traveller world it is still common to get hitched young. Both the brides in this episode are 16-year-olds marrying their first loves.
Ina Casey is marrying her first boyfriend. After having got together in secret, the couple were 'outed' by Ina's uncle - who 'squealed' - and they were quickly engaged. Now she prepares for her wedding day with a dress made from glitter fabric, material more commonly used in wallpaper.
The show also catches up with Travellers Danielle and her 21-year-old fiancé Brendan as the groom-to-be celebrates his stag do, Traveller-style, and the young couple prepare for their wedding day.
Danielle's wedding is scheduled to take place just a day after her 16th birthday. But despite her youth, Danielle is convinced she has made the right choice.
Can the dream of a white wedding live up to the reality?
We Are Family
Irish Traveller family the McFadyens celebrate key life events over a series of months.
Recently convicted Josie is planning the christening of her six-month-old daughter, but still finds the time to decorate her electronic tag with bling.
The family is also excited about the release of the family patriarch Chris from prison, who they plan to pick up in a stretch limousine.
And 16-year-old Cheyenne and cage-fighter John are engaged to be married, with Cheyenne facing the daunting task of organizing her wedding as she deals with the recent death of her mother.
While the traditional way of life is evolving, the large extended family unit remains at the heart of the Traveller community - celebrations are always a family affair.
Out of Site, Out of Mind
At Dale farm, after 10 years of court battles, eviction approaches for 80 families.
Freda grew up with non-Travellers. But now that the 17 year old is to be married, she's keen to return to her Traveller roots.
Romany Gypsy elder Billy Welch is determined to protect his people's right to hold a horse fair each year in Appleby. Billy is given a police-escort to his granddaughter's first Holy Communion.
Billy's 17-year-old son Johnson is at the Ebor festival at York races when tension erupts between Gypsies and non-Travellers, and the night culminates in a bloody fight in a York nightclub.
And at the Traveller haven of Rathkeale Irish traveller Chantelle returns from traveling abroad to celebrate her wedding to Jim.
Reputation Is Everything
After causing a scandal by spending time alone with her boyfriend, Irish traveller Rosanne is rushed up the aisle to save her reputation.
Paddy and his wife have a spectacular New Year's Eve party to celebrate an eventful year, while Paddy's son Simey trains for a bare knuckle fight against a rival family.
And Mikey celebrates Gay Pride and explains what it's like growing up and coming out as gay in his community.
Love Conquers All
What happens when two different worlds are joined together in marriage? This episode explores the cultural divide between Gypsies and non-Gypsies.
Marrying outside of the Gypsy and traveller community can be frowned upon. Romany Gypsy Tony Giles is a red-blooded cage fighter who is expecting a child with a non-traveller (or 'gorja'). But will Tony's family accept his choice?
To make matters worse, his fiancee Danielle is a glamour model, a career choice that many in the Gypsy community consider dirty.
Romany Gypsy George Webb is separated from his non-traveller wife and worries that his two children will become more like gorjas.
Romany Gypsy Tracey and non-traveller Phil have been married for ten years. Their first wedding was a low key affair, but Phil has been saving for years to give Tracey the wedding of her dreams, including 14 bridesmaids, three stretch Hummers, and a four horse-drawn carriage.
School of Hard Knocks
Fifteen-year-old Santana is planning a lavish 16th birthday party, to include a 16-tier cake decorated with fireworks.
No longer at school, Santana spends a lot of her time cleaning the family chalet. While 16-year-old Cassa is bucking the trend of many traveller teens by still going to school, is her motivation qualifications, or the opportunity to attend the prom in a giant Barbie-inspired prom dress?
Meanwhile, Alice left school after primary and works at her dad's horse fair. But her best friend Angel has decided to stay on and plans to take her GCSEs.
Angel's decision to continue her education has been made harder due to the racial abuse she experiences at school.
I Fought the Law
This episode shows how Romany gypsies and travellers' attempts to live a traditional life can get them in trouble with the law.
Irish traveller Danielle is determined to live her life in a traditional way, so at just 15 years old she is planning a lavish black, pink and bling hen party. The only problem is her intended groom, 20-year-old Brendan, is up in court on the same day.
Romany gypsy Ambrose takes his horse and trap out to practise ahead of a traditional - but illegal - horse-and-trap road race. Will Ambrose be able make it first to the finish line, or will his fun be scuppered by the local constabulary?
Irish traveller Mary Louther and her family are constantly moved from site to site. Threatened with eviction again from their illegal site in Leeds, they are followed by the cameras as they prepare to leave under the cover of darkness and race to a new location before the police can stop them.
And eight-year-old Chloe prepares for a her First Holy Communion. Unfortunately her dad can't be there, but to make sure he does not completely miss out, Chloe hopes to pay him a visit at Strangeways prison in her remarkable 'sticky out' communion dress.
Diamantes Are Forever
The popular series returns with six brand new episodes, offering unprecedented access to members of the traveller and gypsy communities to gain an even greater insight into their world.
The first film in the new series follows 16-year-old Sammy Jo as she takes part in a traveller-only beauty pageant.
Four cousins compete to have the most memorable outfit at their first Holy Communion, as they try and look their best 'for God'.
The show explores the now infamous 'gypsy look' - the motivations behind it and the time, effort and money it takes to get it right.
My Big Fat Gypsy Christmas
Christmas is a time for family, a time for peace and harmony - but it is also a time to celebrate. This film follows the celebrations and traditions of members of the Irish traveller community at Christmas, as well as two of the most jaw dropping weddings ever shown.
Filmed last year, the programme follows a mass-Yuletide First Communion ceremony.
It also follows some of the unique traveller preparations that go on in the run up to Christmas, and spends 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.
My Big Fat Royal Gypsy Wedding
If you thought all the wedding excitement of 2011 is focused on 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 this one-off special from the makers of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings cameras follow behind the scenes as a team of wedding planners are tasked with orchestrating the biggest, fattest wedding of the year.
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?
Move over Kate and Wills; this is a wedding on an epic scale.
Bride & Prejudice
This film visits the annual Appleby Horse Fair and examines the prejudice against the travelling community in Britain today. Discrimination is nothing new to the traveller community and their secretive seclusion from mainstream society seems to be their only defence.
Dressmaker Thelma has to make a dress for a bride who won't even tell her when the wedding is for fear the venue finds out she's a traveller and cancels the booking. She's 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 residents support them, and will the police hear their concerns?
Boys Will Be Boys
While Gypsy and traveller women 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.
This film looks at the testosterone-filled world of the traveller man, where disputes are settled with fists, and status is conveyed by the car you drive. Ex bare-knuckle boxer Paddy, the patriarch of a traveller site in Salford, explains the role of a traveller man and, crucially, how he earns enough to keep wife Roseanne happy.
The film also includes a christening, weddings, and a uniquely traveller memorial service - all from the male point of view.
There is also build-up to the wedding of Romany Gypsy Violet-Ann, who is used to being independent but 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.
A look beyond the enormous wedding dresses, sequins and tiaras to unveil the lot of a Gypsy woman.
It's not all just about having blingtastic nuptials. With literacy and education largely deemed unnecessary and domestic abuse startlingly common, the contrast between the daily life of a gypsy girl and the glitz and glamour of their wedding day is stark.
Does it all come down to the Cinderella-style wish to be a princess just for one day?
No Place Like Home
Romany Gypsy Pat faces criticism for marrying a non-gypsy. But his bride Sam is determined to prove her Gypsy girl credentials with a 14-stone dress that lights up in the dark. With 21 underskirts and moving diamante butterflies, it weighs more than the bride's father.
Six-year-old Mary Ann lives on Europe's biggest traveller site, Dale Farm in Essex, which is home to more than 1000 travellers. With a site eviction looming, Mary Ann's mother Margaret hastily arranges the celebration for her daughter's first communion.
While Mary Ann has her first ever spray tan, and suffers welts on her hips from the size of her dress, three miles away a smaller site is cleared and the traveller families watch as the bulldozers move in and destroy their homes.
Born to Be Wed
This episode looks at the milestones in a Gypsy girl's life leading to the biggest day of all - her wedding.
From first Holy Communion (described as a 'dress rehearsal for her wedding day') to the strict rules of courtship, a hen night and, of course, the spectacular wedding itself, this episode examines the traditions and rules followed by Gypsy and traveller girls in Britain today.
To watch more clips from this episode, exclusive to the website, click the links on the left.
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding
Ancient traditions meet modern fashions in an ostentatious culture clash in the world of 21st-century gypsy and traveller weddings.
Gaining rare access to this fascinating and often misunderstood community, Cutting Edge uses the prism of the weddings to reveal a culture where brides compete to have the biggest dress but having children out of wedlock is still taboo and divorce is unheard of.
Considered 'on the shelf' at 20, many girls in Gypsy and Traveller communities get married soon after their 16th birthday with the support of their family.
The weddings are visual spectacles: 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.
This is a community that lives alongside but detached from mainstream society. It is a community 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.
My Big Fat Gypsy Holiday
Although many Gypsies and Travellers are spending less time on the road, they continue to be people with travel and adventure in the blood. This special episode follows gypsies and Irish Travellers as they prepare for the most amazing trip of their lives.
From the bride-to-be planning to go away to Mexico for her honeymoon - her first ever trip abroad - to an eight-year-old girl planning a religious pilgrimage to Bosnia, and the Romany gypsy brothers on a lads trip in Tenerife, the show reveals that for members of travelling communities getting away is about far more than just sun, sea and sequins.
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings synopsis
Revealing documentary series that offers a window into the secretive, extravagant and surprising world of gypsies and travellers in Britain todayEpisode Guide >
Next on TV
Irish Traveller family the McFadyens celebrate key life events over a series of months.