When Chelsea Clinton and i-banker boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky got married yesterday in Rhinebeck, New York, I am certain all of you are thinking, “What a happy day for Chelsea! Why wasn’t I a part of it?” Well at least one of us was, in a very big way.
There were the handful of boldface names. Bill walking Chelsea down the aisle. The Oscar de la Renta dress worn by mom.
And of course, the gays were well represented. The whole thing was put on by Bryan Rafanelli, the Boston-based luxury event planner who handled many of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign events. He’s no stranger to the business of knot tying.
“One of my favorite man rituals,” Rafanelli told The Good Men Project (before Chelsea’s nuptials), “is when the priest or Rabbi says the words ‘You may kiss the bride,’ and the good guys pause and a bubble appears over their head like in a cartoon and it says, ‘Holy moly! She’s mine and there are 300 people staring at me right now so I better not blow this kiss!’ Where’s Al Gore when you need him? Another favorite and very telling moment is when the groom gets fixated on his tie. It’s a funny moment because it’s a sign he has definitely gotten the Wedding Bug and is desperate to be able to control at least one thing about his wedding.”
Rafanelli and the Clintons go way back, relays New York.
Most of the planning is falling on the shoulders of Massachusetts event planner Bryan Rafanelli, who has been Hillary Clinton’s go-to guy for Boston-area fund-raisers; he first donated to her Senate campaign in 1999, and according to prominent Boston philanthropist Barbara Lee, Rafanelli’s first Hillary event was a luncheon in 2001. During her presidential campaign, Rafanelli was an important bundler for her, earning the “Hill-raiser” designation for gathering over $100,000. Rafanelli’s partner, Mark Walsh, was Hillary’s adviser for LGBT outreach during her campaign as well. Rafanelli is a Bay State wedding force: He was responsible for Red Sox owner John Henry’s 2009 wedding, which took place on Henry’s 164-foot yacht, followed by a reception in Fenway Park with a performance by Maroon 5.
And let’s not forget, Rafanelli does gay weddings too. (Although I’m guessing when he married business and romantic partner of 14 years Mark Walsh, somebody else too charge.) Back in 2003, the Boston Globe noted “in its seven years, Rafanelli Events has done three commitment ceremonies. ‘Very classic,’ says Rafanelli. ‘Two of them were in hotels.’ One, for two women in 1997, started with a traditional Jewish ceremony in the backyard of a house and continued with a black-tie hotel reception. There was a first dance. The couple cut the cake. It was the little things that made the ceremony stand out: They decided not to throw a bouquet. Neither wore garter belts. Both wore white dresses.”
So what’re the big difference between, say, a heterosexual wedding like Chelsea and Marc, and a gay one like his? “What we’re asking for is what everyone else has,” says Rafanelli. “It’ll just be brighter and more colorful.”