On Grey's Anatomy, wedding bells will be ringing.
Following the heartbreak of the chaotic musical episode, Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) will get married in an outdoor ceremony officiated by Bailey (Chandra Wilson, also the episode's director).
Callie and Arizona have seen their ups and downs this season. First, the couple planned to move to Africa so Arizona can work on her grant. But, much to her chagrin, she had to leave Callie behind at the airport after Callie expressed doubts about leaving Seattle. Arizona didn't last long abroad, though, and upon her return had to attempt to win Callie back as well as digest that her former girlfriend was pregnant with Mark's baby.
"I didn't know if they were going to make it through that," Ramirez says. "But I think that through the writing of Arizona's character, who just continues to fight for what she wants, the persistence pays off. At the end of the day, Callie realizes who she is and the life that she's chosen with Arizona is worth fighting for."
As for Arizona quickly coming around to understanding the tri-parenting arrangement, Capshaw attributes that to "the love that's there between them."
"Probably the baby did hurry things along a little bit, but the question that Arizona asks Callie about getting married is born, pun intended, out of not knowing what her place is and not feeling legitimate. Because Arizona is the one that saves the baby, I think that legitimizes them more than anything, but who doesn't like a good wedding?"
Executive producer Shonda Rhimes says she was "excited" about portraying a same-sex marriage on television and "dealing with the fact that it's not legal and it's not necessarily recognized by a church or by the state."
"We wanted to deal with that in a way that felt relevant and real, but also allow them a really magical wedding," she says.
"It's incredibly positive," Capshaw adds. "The whole thing that I like about the episode is that it's not politicized. It's about two people falling in love and taking the step that solidifies and legitimizes them in their minds and community."
The episode will be jam-packed, Capshaw continues. "It takes us from soup to nuts, as far as the wedding goes. Teddy and Arizona have a conversation where she says, 'You're the calmest bride I've ever seen.' It's like, yeah, we go from a makeshift rehearsal dinner to brideapalooza in 42 minutes! There's a lot that happens."
Also appearing in the episode: the families of the two doctors. Judith Ivey and Denis Arndt come on as Barbara and Col. Robbins, parents to Arizona, while Hector Elizondo will return as Carlos Torres and Gina Gallego will play Callie's mother.
"There has been a lot of family conflict that's come up for Callie," Ramirez says, recalling when Callie's father brought a priest to Seattle Grace to encourage her to date men before agreeing to a truce. "When you look at the bigger picture, I know that there are some folks out there who will really appreciate seeing how all of this develops with the wedding, and seeing how one or two particular characters deal with family members who may not really accept what you're choosing."
The Grey's Anatomy wedding will air Thursday, May 5 at 9/8c on ABC.