Exclusive: These drag queens got married in Las Vegas on Say Yes To The Dress and it was spectacular
If you’re a gay couple who work as drag queens and want to get married, you could do worse than going to Las Vegas for a TV show in which Princess Diana’s wedding dress designer finds your outfits.
At least, that was Carl and Gary Cantwell-Finnegan’s plan — and it worked amazingly.
It’s been a good month for gay couples on the small screen, with long-running soap Neighbours screening the first same-sex marriage on Australian TV and MTV’s True Love or True Lies featuring multiple gay couples.
Carl and Gary went one better, taking their drag personas of Patsy Stone and Chichi Monroe all the way to Caesar’s Palace, where they tied the knot in David Emanuel-selected dresses on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress.
The pair met seven years ago on the Spanish island, got together the same day, and haven’t been apart for more than a week since then.
Speaking to PinkNews, Carl explained that “with LGBT+ rights being such a huge subject at the moment in the media, we thought it’d be a good idea to show the sector we work in and love: drag.
“And if we were going to do it in drag, why not do it against the most spectacular background, and that was Las Vegas. It was unreal.”
To receive help from David – and be married by him – was the cherry on top.
“We’d been obsessed with David ever since he did Diana’s dress, since I was a kid,” Gary said. “To be able to talk to him normally, like any person would, getting to know him, was amazing. He was so lovely.”
And both queens were stunned at how, with just 24 hours to play with, David was able to find dresses which suited them so well.
“I’m larger and taller than Gary – 6’2″ in heels – so I knew David would have his work cut out with me,” Carl, 37, said. “I thought he would never find a dress for me, never in a million years.
“How he managed to find a dress which both fit me and that I fell in love with was amazing, especially in a shop I’d never been in before.
“It was actually my first time in the States, so I had no idea what size I’d be, so I was completely gobsmacked.
“The second I put it on, it fit perfectly.”
He started tearing up in the dressing room, while outside, Gary told David it didn’t matter what he had on for the wedding, because “he’s going to look killer in whatever he wears.”
In the episode, which airs next week and which the couple hasn’t seen yet, Gary, 33, told the camera: “He makes me melt. I’d do anything for him.
“I’d never have become a performer if it wasn’t for Carl, because he gave me that confidence to say ‘I am good enough’ and ‘I can do this.'”
Carl returned the compliment, saying that if Gary “turned round to me tomorrow and said: ‘Let’s stop doing drag,’ I would drop it in a heartbeat. He comes before anything else in my life.
“He’s an extension of myself and I couldn’t imagine life without him. I really couldn’t. He’s my world.”
This emotional connection was clear during the wedding, which saw the queens approach David – who served as the celebrant – together, with their eyes closed.
Carl told PinkNews that when he finally opened his eyes and saw Gary, “I had a nervous breakdown. I did not expect the reaction I had.
“It was all the excitement and nerves which had built up throughout the day, hitting me all at once.
“To be honest, I didn’t even see the dress. I looked straight past the dress, the make-up and the wig — I just saw Gary in front of me, rather than Chichi.”
At that, Gary laughed and said: “Romance isn’t dead!”
“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” Carl added.
“It was so surreal,” Gary said. “Walking down towards David was so scary, but amazing, and seeing all the people looking down from the windows and taking pictures — it was just unbelievable. It was crazy.
“It was the most amazing weekend of our lives. We have no regrets.”
Carl explained that when it came down to it, “the main thing was that we were two gay men getting married.
“We see drag as our uniform, just like an ambulance worker or lollipop lady. We’re proud of our jobs, so we wanted to get married in our uniforms.
“What we want is for every part of LGBT+ to get their own little moment to promote what they do in the community. A lot of the world doesn’t know, even in the LGBT+ community, what we do,” he added.
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“Some people just see two men in dresses and think: ‘Why are they doing that?’ We think it’s quite important to give that bit of clarity and say what it is we do.”
He said that hopefully it would educate and perhaps open the eyes of those watching to new possibilities.
“There are a lot of kids out there who are suffering,” Carl said, “and that is unfortunate.
“Hopefully if there are kids out there watching who have had it in their mind and think they might want to go for it — if it helps one kid to turn round to their parents and say: ‘That’s what I want to do when I’m older,’ then that’s brilliant.
Gary added: “And if it helps the parents get a better understanding of what we do and creates that bit more acceptance for the gays, that’s amazing.”