My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, the cable television hit that features gypsies in England, Ireland and other parts of Europe, comes closer to home with My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. One couple on the show lives in Hagerstown. Md. and will be featured on the finale of the eight-part show which premieres Sunday, April 29 on TLC at 10. The finale airs June 17.
The Maryland couple, JR and Nettie, eloped when they where teenagers. Now, 14 years and three children later, Nettie wants the big gypsy wedding and she gets it, complete with a super-sized gypsy wedding dress and a “bachelor” party for JR.
Gypsies keep their family life guarded to preserve gypsy culture. “Gypsy men go out and make the money, and gypsy women stay home and take care of the kids…change the baby diapers,” says JR.
Women drop thousands of dollars on the most extravagant dresses for their weddings, which they begin to dream about at an early age. “Soon as the baby’s even born, gypsies are already planning the wedding,” says wedding dress designer, Sondra Celli. “The girl could be two and they ‘ve already got the wedding dress in their head.”
Nettie and JR are from a gypsy community known as Romanichals, who came to America from England in the 1800s. On the show, JR’s father says of the Romanichal gypsies, “We’re just badass, and that’s it!”