May 11, 2008 -- After much anticipation on the set of ABC's "Brothers & Sisters," a wedding cake has arrived. The four-tier creation -- adorned with flowers and blackberries -- is locked in a freezer, out of sight from the curious cast members, who are wondering what the cake topper looks like.
Spotting a prop woman with the topper in her hands, Matthew Rhys -- whose character, Kevin, weds Sunday (10 p.m. ET/PT) in the show's Season 2 finale -- calls her over. "Is it a man and a woman?" he asks. Getting a closer look, Rhys smiles and says, "Oh, it's two men. Fantastic. There were jokes made that they wouldn't be able to find two men, so they'd have to doctor the woman by adding a moustache."
This is no typical TV wedding. It's a gay commitment ceremony -- the first same-sex union on American network TV between series regulars.
"It's all very progressive, evolved and about time," says Rhys.
"It's a milestone, and I was really quite pleased that I got to be a part of it," echoes Calista Flockhart, who plays Kevin's big sis Kitty.
The Walker family and guests have gathered in the living room to watch Kevin exchange vows with longtime beau Scotty Wandell (Luke Macfarlane).
Flockhart's character will officiate at the ceremony while her husband (Rob Lowe) ends up playing a key role -- significant because he's a Republican senator opposed to gay marriage.
During a break, Lowe waltzes off set. "It's pretty romantic in there," he notes, greeting his visiting kid brother, actor Chad Lowe, who explains, "I'm here to witness history."
When Rhys and Macfarlane finally arrive on set in their crisp suits and ties, the cast and crew let out a collective awwww.
There is much affection for the characters, who met at the start of the series. It is a sentiment shared by at least one show fan. Rhys tells of a letter he received from the mother of a gay son. She "took great strength in seeing Kevin interact with his mother, and how little of a problem it is for them," he says. "It was a lovely letter."
The note was a pleasant distraction from the good-natured ribbing he has been taking from his co-stars. "Luke and I were rehearsing who was to stand where, which would put one of us in the woman's position, and a few comments were made," says Rhys. "And neither of us was going to wear a white suit while the other wore black."
Dave Annable and Balthazar Getty, who play Kevin's brothers, have been engaging in their own teasing over Tommy being best man. "Dave's been locked in his dressing room, crying," jokes Getty. And Annable retorts: "Balthazar couldn't handle not being best man."
Both Sally Field (matriarch Nora) and Emily VanCamp (Rebecca) have come to set nursing colds, and producer/director Ken Olin has noticed that the other actors are avoiding hugging them on camera. Conspicuously absent from the gathering is Sarah's (Rachel Griffiths) love interest (Steven Weber), who will not return for Season 3. But her character's two young kids are there, and Griffiths wonders if some viewers will "have a problem with that."
She hopes not, but the liberal-leaning show does attempt to recognize those who oppose gay marriage by introducing Scotty's disapproving parents, who skip the ceremony. That volatile relationship is expected to be explored in Season 3. Another possibility: children.
"It would be interesting to go down the adoption route and see from a legal aspect how Kevin would campaign for that," says Rhys, whose character is an attorney.
Adds Macfarlane: "Kitty makes a speech about Scotty and Kevin building a family, which hopefully is foreshadowing."
Executive producer Monica Breen assures, "They will be a family. Kevin deserves a stable relationship in the same way that Kitty, Sarah and all the others deserve it. He will be facing many questions in his life — but now he has someone to share that with."