Dressmaker Sondra Celli, now going into her third season with the hit TLC show “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding,” stopped by the HuffPost Live studios on Monday to talk crystal wedding gowns, blinged-out toiled paper and 80-pound wedding dresses.
Celli, who lives by the motto, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that bling,” makes wedding dresses that are NOT for the weak at heart. Now in her 30th year of designing gypsy dresses, Celli has a team of 16 girls that work around the clock “rhinestoning all the time.” And like her gypsy dressmaker extraordinaire profile declares, “whoever has the most rhinestones wins.”
The designer makes her wedding dresses like almost any other custom designer would start out — going over ideas with the bride-to-be, picking out a silhouette and running with the design from there. The only time customers have ever “cussed her out” or gotten upset with the dress is when there aren’t enough crystals.
The reasoning behind the complaint, Celli explains, is that “status come with bling” and gypsies are able to express their social position through materialism. “It’s a way that they show they have more money than someone.” If that’s the case, then girls with light-up wedding dresses also covered in fur and crystals must certainly be considered queen of something?
When she’s not working on a ginormous gown, work at Celli’s studio can involve anything from bedazzling baby shoes (heels included) and pacifiers to pots and pans and the occasional ceiling fan. The most ridiculous thing Celli admits to rhinestoning is toilet paper, and she says she told the client, “if you’re going to flush your money down the drain, I’ll absolutely take it.”