My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding brought everything it promised and more when it came to Hersham, but nearly failed to deliver the bride.
The Hersham community turned out in force, with hundreds of excited residents lining the street outside St Peter’s Church, for the much-anticipated wedding of John McFadyen and Cheyenne Pidgley.
Channel Four was filming for the hit TV show and the wedding guests did not disappoint, with fake tan, hair extensions, towering heels and a sea of Swarovski crystals.
Jenny Pidgley, a cousin of the bride, was told she had the best outfit of the day.
She said: "I was up at 6.30am and at the hairdressers at 8.30am.
"I’ve had this dress for six months, waiting to wear it. It’s bIg everything at a traveller wedding so you have to look the part."
But not everything went to plan on Friday, March 9, when the bride’s Rolls Royce broke down and left her stranded with no transport to get to the overcrowded church.
Mrs McFadyen, 16, was due to wed her 17-year-old beau at 2pm, but did not arrive until 3.15pm, in the bridesmaids' transport which was forced to turn make another trip for the bride.
Despite the mishap, everybody remained in good spirits, with the men joking that they would go to the pub, and Reverend Jonathan Andrew high fiving the page boys in between making phone calls about the bride’s whereabouts and telling people to tuck their shirts in.
One bystander, Rasha Childs, took the opportunity to grab a picture with the bridesmaids, who were dressed in baby pink.
The bride was not quite as high-spirited when she arrived and was mobbed by photographers and excited crowds on arrival, shouting at them to get back.
Her substitute driver, from A1 Stretch, said: "She was stressing a bit in the back of the car, as you can imagine.
"It’s just as well I was here to get her or the wedding might not have gone ahead."
The crowd’s wait was worth it though, with everyone cheering as she stepped out of the car in a full white dress and diamante-encrusted corset, which showed off her envious waist.
Caira McGuinness, three, said: "She looked like a princess."
Adrienne Lumb, who has lived in Hersham for 53 years, said: "I’ve never seen anything like this in Hersham.
"I thought there would be a lot of people, but not this many. Everyone looks so glamorous, and the girls are stunning."
In reference to the mass of media in attendance, and in light-hearted reference to the programme, Revd Andrew said he had never been "grabbed" so much in his life.
He said: "The congregation was very patient and very enthusiastic throughout the ceremony.
"Nothing went wrong once we were in the church, nobody forgot the rings, they faced the right way during the vows, and they had beaming smiles on their faces as they left.
"She looked a bit stressed when she arrived, which is hardly surprising, but we paused before we went in for a little prayer, to calm her down, and remind us what this is all about."
Bystander Mary McMahon said: "Hersham is normally a dead place, but this had really brought it to life."
Patricia Moon said: "I can't believe how young the bride is, or that they are all virgins. They have to be accompanied and everything before marriage, I've been very interested in that aspect of it."
Malacky Cash: "I'm getting married in Feltham next Thursday. I hope I don't have to wait as long as John. It's not nerve-racking if you plan it all."
Rasha Childs: "We planned to go when we heard it was coming to Hersham. Our husbands tried to put shame on us for coming, but we had to come because we love the show."
Caralise McGuinness said: "The bride's dress was stunning. I wasn't expecting it to be as classy as that, it was really beautiful."
Sergeant Mark Bracknell said: "It's been a really good day, everybody has enjoyed themselves. I decided to put in some minor road closures, to keep things flowing, but we've kept it low key.
"It's just nice to see the community out and having a nice day - maybe we should have arranged a panel meeting while everyone is together."
Fiona Fry said: "It 's not as brash as I expected. I couldn't wait to come when I heard they were filming it. It's like a little outing."
Mary Brosnan said: "I always watch the programme. I think it's jolly good for Hersham."
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