Bryan Rafanelli, Homosexual Event Planner, Successfully Pulls Off Chelsea Clinton’s Wedding

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.”

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    How ironic, Straight folks have no problem having the Gays plan their weddings, cater their weddings, and create the floral pieces for their weddings. Yet so many of them have a problem allowing us to do the same for our own weddings……….

  • CJ

    Yes, sometimes my thoughts are similar to yours (Plays well).

    When Mariah Carey gets married (each yearly anniversary) I think about how some people can’t even get married once.

    Of course, the Obamas are probably excited for the day that their two daughters will get married.

    Straights have hopes and dreams for THEIR families – and yet don’t see the inequalities or realities for others.

    Are there other “straights” like Angelina and Brad (that refuse to get married until full marriage equality is established)??

  • Andy

    Bill Clinton signed DOMA in 1996 and urged Kerry in ***2004*** to adopt an anti-gay position. I’d never have anything to do with this sociopath.

    Bill Clinton urging Kerry to throw gays under the bus:

  • Tom Lang

    Of course Rafanelli got this gigue as well as Hillary’s failed presidential campaign…his husband is on the HRC’s Board. Massachusetts has a LONG history of Gay Inc/Equality Cottage Industry of one hand washing the other. It is amazing how many in Gay Inc. has spouses that profit from their partner’s connection to the movement.

    Makes one wonder if there is any motive for LGBT Equality or is the fight for equality and the monetary gain (for some) the greatest motive.

  • the crustybastard

    I refuse to recognize or respect any Clinton’s marriage.

  • Rick Brannon

    I am happy for Chels. She deserves a nice life.

  • condenasty

    I agree plays well…..I grew-up in the deep south and noticed all the ladies who lunch fawning over their hairdressers, florists or decorators….but at the end of the day they, were still card carrying homophobes who would vote with the bible and not from their personal experiences with these “dear men”. UGH!

  • Michael @

    Before the obligatory, know-nothing troll clocks in to regurgitate the myth that “Clinton gave us DOMA and DADT,” let’s do a little REALITY CHECK, shall we.

    It’s a pity how well the Obama Nostra managed to rewrite history during their fight with his wife for the nomination, such that the mere mention of her husband’s name causes some easily fooled queens now to have the equivalent of an epileptic grand mal seizure, forgetting that, before 2007, ADULT gays remembered both the good [see below] Bill Clinton did for gays as well as his part in DOMA and DADT. But, then, some people don’t mind being played, as exhibited by the queens who STILL think Barry’s their Messiah.

    Yes, Clinton was wrong to sign the DADT and DOMA bills but he did not “give them” to us. Sam Nunn gave us DADT and Bob Barr gave us DOMA because both of them hated gays AND Bill Clinton. Though I agree he should have on principle, his vetoes would have been erased the moment Congress overrode him BOTH times.

    DADT [within the ’94 DEFAUTH bill] passed in the Senate by NINETY-TWO to 7. In the House, it passed THREE HUNDRED & ONE to 134. DOMA passed by a vote of EIGHTY-FIVE to 14 in the Senate and a vote of THREE HUNDRED & FORTY-TWO to 67 in the House of Representatives.

    The bills themselves, far from their legend as the legislative equivalent of AIDS, actually changed NOTHING of substance. Go ahead, find us ONE gay soldier who was allowed to serve with impunity before 1993. Find me ONE gay couple that was allowed to claim each other on federal tax forms, or, if one was a foreign national, “marry” his/her American partner somewhere and automatically get US citizenship. The laws are just further codification of what already existed. Their evil was in the antigay MESSAGE they sent.

    At the risk of causing more seizures, the fact is that, contrary to all the uninformed or intentional Obama Borg propaganda, Obama has STILL not surpassed Clinton’s variety and reach of advances for gays. [Merely signing the hate crimes bill? Mary, PLEASE!] And, he’s faced nothing like the opposition to lifting the military ban that Clinton did in ’92 & ’93. Clinton came into office genuinely intending to lift the ban then caved to an overwhelming coalition of military, Congressional, and Antigay Industry bigots. Obama came into office ALREADY having caved to ONE bigot: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

    Clinton issued an Executive Order reversing one from Eisenhower over 50 years before that had banned gay federal employees. He was the first President to fill his admin with open gays [many of which Obama simply rehired], and the first to appoint a gay person to a position that had to be approved by the US Senate. He issued an Executive Order increasing penalties for gay hate crimes in the military and banned discharges of anyone whose gay identity was discovered in a security clearance investigation. In addition, his administration totally revamped the security clearance process for civilians, too, ending the “special procedures” under which gays were frequently delayed for or denied on security clearances, previously a serious problem in technology occupations with government contractors. For the first time, gays were included in the category of “distinct social group” for purposes of analyzing eligibility for political asylum in the US for people from oppressive countries. Clinton appointed the first gay federal judges and the first gay US Ambassador & US Envoy. He was the first President to meet with gays in the White House, address a gay political group’s event, and the first to declare June “Gay Pride Month.”

    And, oh yeah: still waiting for Michelle to show up in a gay pride parade!

  • shlong

    Is this really news? LOL Honestly, do straight people have any other options but have a gay manicurist, stylist, hair dresser, wedding planner, make up artist, interior designer, ballet dancers etc… I know, I know, I’ve entered the territory of un-P.C. stereotyping, but think about it. :)

    But I like the notion of a gay wedding planner coordinating a rabbi and a priest to do a wedding ceremony on Sabbath for the Clintons–would make a good comedy skit. LOL

  • ewe

    To me this is about as important as hearing John John Kennedy threw a frisbee in Central Park. How public servants have enriched themselves while the “public” remains underserved is glaringly obvious.

  • patrick

    @ewe: That WOULD be news, seeing how he’s been dead for 11 years!……But by most accounts the wedding was a classy beautiful event. Kudos to the event planner.

  • reason

    @ewe: The Clinton’s did not become wealthy until after Bill had left the Presidency. They served in office long before that making a crappy salary that they could have easily dwarfed in the private sector. Look at people like Mitt who made a ton of money before looking towards politics. The Clinton’s and the Obama’s went into public service becuase they cared, it was about the service not the money, granted who would have predicted they would ever make it to the presidents chair let alone governor or senator. How many politicians are out there that serve their entire life without rising up or making a lot of money. How many political staffers survive on a pittance all their lives. They are serving in the highest office in the land and their salary is a pittance compared with the difficulty of the work and scrutiny that comes with it. There is an over abundance of CEO’s that do a lot less work and have a lot less responsibility that make tons more than the President. Chelsea’s has a beautiful family, and I hope one of them dives into the political world at some point.

  • ewe

    Most people do not consider the Clintons and Obamas salary, pension or health benefits a “crappy” gig. Both Clinton and Obama are responsible for DADT and the obstacles to same sex equality. I do not compare people who voluntarily go into public service to the private sector. You do and you seem to use it to dismiss those who disagree with you as well. My original point was that this is unimportant.

  • gullible's travels

    oh give me a fucking break… “the Clinton’s and Obama’s went into public service because they cared” Who knows the truth about that.. I want to know where and how the Obama’s got all the fucking wealth they have now when years ago he was in NY without enough $$ for a hotel room.. come on.. it was ‘about the public service’… Bullshit! and bullshit! about the Clintons too.. its always about who the Bilderberg group’s handpicked and cultivated to lead the lemming-masses to the slaughter.. tools..
    and their abilities for wild earnings and wealth accumulation are a by-product of the “service” they so cared about.. they’d never have 1/10th of it had they not been in the office.

  • Sexy Rexy

    Wow. A gay wedding planner. Big fucking whoop.

  • Marianne Seggerman

    Isn’t homosexual wedding planner – redundant? Is there any such thing as a heterosexual wedding planners? As for the bride – she has conducted her private life with dignity and prudence – marrying for the first time at 30 to someone she’s known for almost 15 years.

  • reason

    @gullible’s travels: It’s clear where the Obama’s got all their wealth, he wrote two best selling book and got an Emmy for best spoken word. He also mesmerized the nation and articulated a dream that many in the democratic party share. Millions of people have purchased the books and know millions more around the world are going to especially as it is translated to more languages. His Harvard educated wife who is an attorney also went to work rather than squandering her skills as a house wife so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why he is rich. Clinton was a poor boy growing up, but is a self made man. It sounds like you are envious of their wealth, you could have it to if you put the time in.

  • AxelDC

    How nice of Bill to hire a gay man to produce his daughter’s wedding, but he signed the law making sure that his marriage would have no federal significance, nor be portable to other US states.

    The Clintons smile as they celebrate inequality in America.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    The Clintons smile as they celebrate inequality in America.

    That one sentence perfectly describes Clinton’s legacy. It should be the caption under the above picture on every queer blog.

  • tjr101

    @Michael @ Your the perfect Clinton apologist while bashing a president who hasn’t even been in office for two years.

  • ewe

    @gullible’s travels: Thank you. And all that public service furnished a 5 million dollar wedding too. Give me a break is right. Meanwhile the commenters are giving you and i negative remarks for bringing up the fact that Obama and Clinton are just as much an enemy to homosexuals as Bush and Reagan were. Damn idiots. Let’s all just throw a party. Maybe we can pretend to identify with one gay party planner and everything will be ok. What a bunch of bullshit. Today we have news networks that dress up frivolous fluff with a common British accent to give validity to their meaningless bellowing while a war of fear called terror is increasingly launched when those evil in the know are fully aware that Osama BinLaden has been DEAD as DEAD can be for ten years or so. Maybe if we dress in Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta, reality can be postponed just a bit more. PUKE.

  • Jeffree

    Let me tell you about “wedding planners”–I performed a little stand-up at a regional “wedding expo” and it’s hard to say for sure who’s what but it was 55% str8 women and 45% gay men.

    Very nice crowd though. I got referrals through them for other gigs. Very smart people too.

    Congrats to Chelsea! Over on the fundie.blogs they’re upset with her for marrying “outside the faith.”

  • ewe

    @reason: Bringing up the hypocrisy of the Clintons does not make a jealous person. You are no different than those who attempt to dismiss others for having a different opinion. Now that is what i call insecure. Wake up. Clinton has his offices in Harlem as a political statement and he probably makes a showing with his driver waiting outside once a month after having lunch at the Carlysle. There is your “first black president” by the way.

  • Michael @

    @whatever and tjr101:

    The FACTS speak for themselves. Both about Clinton [good and bad] AND Obama.

    Now take your Obama Borg Pharmacy-issued phenobarbital before you have another seizure.

  • Jeff

    The Article we’re all commenting about is about the ‘gay wedding planner’, not the Clinton’s politics, or how they, or the Obama’s made their money.

    I met and briefly dated “Bryan” 27 years ago when the spelling of his first name was “Brian” and he was still living with his parents in East Greenwich, RI. He was a smart, gracious and fun guy back then, and apparently still is.

    I’m impressed with his work ethic, and integrity – and applaud him for his ability to plan other people’s weddings when about half of America would be more than happy to exclude him from his own.

    Kudo’s to Bryan for a job EXTREMELY WELL DONE!

  • jason

    Words cannot express my contempt for Rafanelli. Here you have a gay douchebag who is contributing to the happiness of those who would seek to ban our marriages. Keep in mind that it was Bill Clinton who signed DOMA as well as DADT, two of the most homophobic pieces of legislation ever to come before Congress.

    Either Rafanelli is a turd or he’s a self-loathing tapeworm.

  • fredo777

    gay guy plans a wedding. stop the presses.

  • Michael

    Seems strange in the media, that nobody has commented on the fact that Marc is an i-banker and Chelsea is proudly heralded as a ‘hedge fund manager’, wow a match made in heaven! How embarrassing! I guess she will tout herself as one of the ‘ethical ones’ – no doubt…

  • Jones

    @AxelDC: And the Clintons smile while they spend over 2 million dollars in this wedding with millions of people unemployed. And while the country sinks, Clinton friends like closet case Oscar de la Renta live it up. Revolting.

  • fredo777


    Oh, come on. If you don’t like the Clintons, fine, but you can’t exactly look down on them for spending money on a wedding because there are others who are less fortunate. There will, sadly, always be those less fortunate + by your logic none of us should ever buy any luxuries or spend money on non-necessities until world hunger is wiped out.

  • Jones

    @fredo777: Yeah, but not everyone is a Clinton, not everyone is a millionaire, and not everyone is playing holier than thou. There is something to be said for discretion, something these people have never had. And mind you, I voted for Clinton. But still, the expense for this wedding really was unnecessary.

  • fredo777

    @Jones: “Yeah, but not everyone is a Clinton, not everyone is a millionaire, and not everyone is playing holier than thou.”


  • ewe

    @fredo777: No that is not the logic that is concluded. We are discussing how the Clintons profess to be public servants and it appears the only ones enriched by their public service is their own self interests. IE: a 5 million dollar wedding for daughter Chelsea. Of course there is nothing wrong with spending your own money but the money and the power and the prestige was given to them by the public and the Clintons have up to this point only talked about same sex equality while actually implementing laws that negate their words and prove the opposite. Ie: DADT. The Clintons are not allies to gay equality. They are actually against it and the record supports that. So who gives a fuck about a wedding for their daughter when there are gay couples that have been together and honestly committed in love longer than her parents pretend to be and are also being denied marriage equality while the Clintons exercise their POWER given to them by the people to close off air traffic for their shindig. Obama is nothing more but a repeat act and a same ol tired encore.

  • Chitown Kev

    Well…anyone who knows me knows that both the Obamabots and the Clintonistas wreck my nerves.

  • Equality NOW

    @Michael @ \

    I’d respond to every point in your 10 page Clinton-adoring diatribe, but I actually have a life. You must be some bored staff person at the Clinton Presidential Library or something.

  • fredo777

    @ewe: I’ll be honest w/ you in saying that I only read about half of that.

  • wompman

    Sure, Bill is on board with gay marriages now…that it no longer matters politically. And Hilary? Crickets. And he still hasn’t owned up to the fact that he BRAGGED about signing DOMA and those sound bites were used by the right wing to prove how everyone was against gay marriage.

    And yes, I find it sad that some straight people are just fine with gay wedding planners…maybe they’ll even let them drink champagne at the ceremony. But if that same gay wedding planner wants their own special day and to have their relationship legally sanctioned? Gasp, clutch the pearls and call out those sinners.

    Chitown Kev, I agree on the over the top Clinton and Obama defenders. Both have good and bad qualities, but in the end they both beat the Republican fool who came in between them in the White House by a country mile.

  • Jeffree

    I’m not a Clintonista by a long shot, but Hillary is one of the better Sec’y of State’s
    we’ve had in a while. People who work for her who have worked for other State heads will tell you that.

    In barely related news Alicia Keys got married — to a man called Swiss Beatz (props for the name!). They’re a very nice looking couple — go to the gooogles for pix. She wore Vera Wang (the gown, not the person) and the groom wore Tom Ford (the tux not the man).

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