Jesse Keller and Dennis Michael Jason of Chilmark were married in a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, becoming forever forward #JasonPartyofTwo.
The Rev. Terry Newbury officiated. And after the final exchange of rings and pronouncement of man and wife, the bride kissed the bridegroom, leaving a tattoo of lipstick that artistically matched the fisherman’s constant blushing.
Jesse is a dancer and educator at The Yard; Denny is a Menemsha fishing captain.
Following the ceremony, the day’s events quickly moved to The Yard, the Chilmark performing arts colony where Jesse met Denny in 2010. Jesse has said she knew with certainty from the first moment that she would marry Denny. Denny, a tad more phlegmatic, continued to go fishing for some years while contemplating the oncoming headlamp of the train of life on his iconic wooden boat, The Little Lady.
The Yard always envisioned the day as a Godfather-style meeting of the arts and fishing families of the Vineyard, where beautiful meet grizzled, and where the strands of seafaring and choreography are ever raveled. Under the deft wedding planning leadership of Yard staffers Holly Jones and Scott Nelson, assisted by a volunteer crew of Jesse’s Yard artist colleagues and expert photographer Sally Cohn, The Yard campus was transformed into an indoor-outdoor banquet scene reminiscent of the French avant-garde artist banquets of the early 20th century.
There was theatrical lighting, Chinese lanterns way up in the trees, long community tables, unassigned seating, a signature cocktail (the Moscow Mule) favored by the couple and drunk by everyone else. And in an unusual rejoinder to the symbolic overhang of fishing and fisheries, Tim Laursen and Ann Khoan’s Movable Feast Catering brought the autumnal smoke (and the fragrantly chuffing smoker) to an extraordinary pig roast. Meat pleasures were compensated for by a gluten-free wedding cake and complement of cheesecake desserts, all prepared by former Yard artist staff member (and now, appropriately, Boston health executive) Michelle Sasso, who has been linked in the tabloids to Vineyard contractor Ty Rossi.
Of course, parents reigned (even as the forecasted rain held off): Ohio teacher Laurie and Coach Gary Keller, Polly McDowell and Menemsha harbor master Dennis Jason. There were first dances, the quadrille of two families dancing in interesting improvisations with their now conjoined progeny, toasts by brother, best man and roast master Bruce Gray and maid of honor Erin Blake, and a sparkling downside Up-Island Dance Hall led by another former Yard artist-intern, DJ Dylan.
Even for those long familiar with the principals, we all learned something new (and some things unprintable in a family newspaper) about their lives, and applauded and hooted them on, wondering at the accidents of the cosmos and sub-atomic collisions that brought us to this place, this moment, this marriage of the truly righteous (sorta).