Although the title of her sitcom Happily Divorced might suggest otherwise, comedienne-actress Fran Drescher is adamantly, ardently pro-marriage.
In fact, she proved it last night when she officiated the wedding of one lucky gay couple—Tom Wahlen and Russell Kemp—at XL Nightclub in New York City. The couple, who have been together for 20 years, were the winners of the “‘Love is Love’ Gay Marriage Contest,” in which couples submitted their personal love stories to TV Land (the home of Happily Divorced) in the hopes of catching Drescher’s eye and winning a dream wedding.
Although Drescher says she didn't play a direct hand in choosing the winners of the contest, she did however connect strongly with Tom and Russell’s story. Like Drescher, Russell is a cancer survivor, and during his treatment and recovery he waited every day for The Nanny to come on and make his day brighter.
“I think they are an exemplary couple,” Drescher told Out. “They seem to be wonderful parents, and their children seem very happy. I think the world needs to see more people like them.”
During the lovely ceremony, the couple’s two small children—daughter Madison and son Mason—played the roles of flower girl and ring-bearer and prepared love poems for their parents. Later, Drescher married Tom and Russell under a chuppah, in accordance with Jewish tradition, and presided over the breaking of the glass and the Hora.
WATCH: Video of the ceremony here.
Michael Fruman, a representative for Tom Ford who helped dress the grooms, had many kind words for the happy couple. “They’re great guys,” Fruman said. “They can be completely outrageous sometimes, but they also know how to be classy when the time is right. And in the end, Tom is very much the groom and Russell is very much the bride.”
The reception, which was catered by KITCHIN and Georgetown Cupcake, included not only the married couple’s 200+ invited guests, but also celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch and gay MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts. Sylvia Weinstock, who designed the couple’s wedding cake, was also in attendance.
“We made a cake that had drama but that wasn’t particularly feminine, because they’re two men,” Weinstock explained. “It’s very strong in its look...It has a bit of pizzazz to it...a little bit more personality of the people who are being married.”
Weinstock has been designing celebratory cakes for 30 years, and she frequently designs for gay weddings.
When all was said and done, however, Drescher still had a TV show to promote: The second season premiere of Happily Divorced airs tonight at 10:30 EST on TV Land. According to Drescher, we can expect more storylines about Fran moving into the single world, as well as more about the show’s secondary characters.
Plus, there’s this juicy tidbit: “There will be a part of my body that I’ve never exposed publicly on the show,” she told Out. When asked if she was nervous about it, she just said, “Nope. Anything for a laugh!”
It’s nice to know that behind her facade of classy wedding officiator last night, she was still the same Fran that we know and love.
Check out the photos from the wedding below and more photos here.
Fran Drescher with celebrity fashion stylist Phillip Bloch, plus Alysia Reiner & David Alan Basche.
Rita Moreno—who we will forever love from The Electric Company— joins the happy couple.
Fran and the happy family take the first slice of a fabulous Sylvia Weinstock cake!
Check out more fun photos on the Happily Divorced Facebook page.
The new season of Happily Divorced premieres tonight on TVLand.