DRESSMAKERS from Lancashire are helping wedding dreams come true for gypsy brides across the country.
Mother and daughter Norma and Emma Green, from Samlesbury, can be seen in the new Channel 4 series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, creating black and pink bridesmaid’s dresses for 17-year-old Sam Norton from St Helens.
Although Sam wasn’t born into a gyspy family, she wanted to prove she was committed to the culture when marrying traveller husband Patrick.
The made-to-measure black and pink outfits, complete with diamonte butterflies, were chosen to complimented Sam’s 20 stone light-up gown.
Emma, 25, has been making corsets and dresses for six years, and has sold 12 dresses for gypsy weddings.
“A lot of girls have been thinking about their wedding since they’re about eight-years-old, but some of the designs they come in with are so complicated, they are just not possible to do”, said the former Oakhill College pupil.
“Usually travellers want very big white or baby pink dresses with lots of diamontes and stars and hearts on them, which can take hundreds of hours to put on.
“They accessorise with crowns, massive tiaras and mini-top hats and bow ties, and basically anything with crystals on it.”
The self-taught seamstress concentrates on making corsets, while Norma, 64, a retired production manager for Baxi, makes the skirts.
Girls from travelling families as far away as Birmingham and Ireland have been making trips to Elysium Corsets in Darwen Street, Blackburn, after Emma and Norma supplied bridesmaid dresses for the wedding of Blackburn gypsy bride Sammy-Jo Young in a previous series of the Channel Four show last year.
At the time, the women were making dresses for wholesale suppliers in Manchester, but word-of-mouth soon increased their workload and they decided to set up in the Blackburn premises, partly because of the number of gypsy families nearby.
They also supply burlesque outfits, and prom and party wear.
Emma said: “It’s really nice to be involved in weddings and to be able to help them get exactly what they want for their big day.”
Most gypsy wedding dresses supplied by Elysium Corsets start at £1,000.