Josh Kilmer-Purcell, 43, and Dr. Stephen Brent Ridge, 40 have made a home in Sharon Springs, a down-at-heel spa town 190 miles north of New York City, at the Beekman Mansion for several years now. It is the setting for their reality show about two gentleman farmers The Fabulous Beekman Boys(currently on the Cooking Channel), and they followed that up last year when they showed their enduring bond as contestants on the 21st season of Amazing Race, eventually winning (and kissing on-air).
The men, who have been together for 13 years, have been an empowering example to middle America about, simply by being two gay men not simply engaged in their rural community, but standing at the very center of it. As Kilmer-Purcell explained to us earlier this year in an interview: "Just by being ourselves and being visible without taking any sort of stance publicly is a much better form of activism for us than to position ourselves as America's gay couple. Of course homophobia exists, but there's another side -- we were just in Nebraska [as headliners at the Omaha Home & Garden Expo], and the number 1 question we got asked was, 'When are you getting married?'" Now they don't have to get that question any longer.
This past Friday, June 28, they officially tied the knot at their manor home, allowing people to sign up and attend from the community come first-come, first-served basis until all the spots were taken. According to the couple, they are limited by their insurance policy to having no more than 250 people on the farm at any given time--and all the spots were spoke for in about five minutes
Of course, the Both men chose to wear clothes from J Crew ("because we were in a modeling campaign, called 'real men,' for them a few years ago," Ridge explained) and big, clunky wellies on their feet.
"The boots--aside from being a signature element of The Fabulous Beekman Boys--were also necessary because it was an outdoor wedding and we had 3-inches of rain the night before," Ridge explains. "Lots of our guests were in muck boots and wellies, too."
Ridge's bowtie was made out of hand-woven fabric from one of the local artisans that they work with to produce products for the company, Beekman 1802. It was fashioned into a custom tie by Boutaugh.
"We tried to incorporate as many of the local craftspeople as possible," Ridge says. "Another artisan made the picnic blankets that were handed out as wedding favors, and another custom-monogrammed them while guests were at the wedding. Our blacksmith even made the rings."