Nicole Friedler


John & John

Ceremony: Gay Head Lighthouse 
Reception: l’étoile

On a freezing cold January afternoon, John Flanagan and John O’Hara snuck under the gate at the Gay Head Lighthouse. The couple had come down from Boston for the weekend and traveled from their Edgartown house to take in the cliffs and high surf at the up-Island landmark they had never visited before.

The men had spoken about marriage over the course of their seven-year relationship, but it was at that moment they realized they had found the perfect match in each other as well as the perfect location for their wedding.

The engagement site was one of many personal touches for the couple on their wedding day, which included everything from coordinated menswear to marrying on the anniversary of John F’s parents. For John F and John O though, their September wedding last year was about them as people, not about the event itself.

“When we decided to get married, it was such an evolution – knowing where we wanted to get married and how it all developed,” John O says. “We wanted it to be there, because it was a special place to both of us, and we wanted it to be intimate and our families to be a part of it.”

Not accustomed to being the center of attention, the Johns wanted to keep their party to fewer than fifty people, and did so by limiting the guest list strictly to people who knew them together. When the “amazing mix of people” boarded a bus from Church Street in Edgartown up to the lighthouse, the couple didn’t know what to expect. But when their guests began singing “Wheels on the Bus” followed by a “lighthouse” version of “Chapel of Love,” the only thing overwhelming was the amount of support and love.

“How could we be nervous? Everyone was having a really great time,” John F says. “By the time we got to the lighthouse, it was very exciting....It couldn’t have been a better day. It was more than we ever imagined.”

John F had long imagined one particular part of the ceremony: the wedding attire. “I had a vision in my head for over a year, and it looked exactly as I planned. No one could visualize it,” he says of the red and orange pants, blue blazers, Vineyard Vines ties, and homemade boutonnieres. “It felt like us.”

When John F found his red pants last summer, he instantly knew he would wear them on his wedding day. He also outfitted all of the groomsmen in blazers from Brooks Brothers (for whom he works) and requested that everyone attending wear bright colors. As for their Tiffany wedding bands, the two couldn’t decide on a matching pair; John F opted for something more traditional and John O for something “more funky.”

After walking down the aisle to their friend and opera singer Mara Kelley Morse performing “One Hand, One Heart” from West Side Story, the couple headed down to the beach with photographer Nicole Friedler while their guests went to the Edgartown restaurant l’étoile for appetizers.

The couple worked with l’étoile chef Michael Brisson to accommodate their large families (John O has six siblings and fifteen nephews and nieces). Together they came up with a menu that tied in with their Irish heritage while keeping with Vineyard traditions. Instead of a wedding cake, the pair opted for fun cupcakes from Sweet E’s down the street.

But in the end, personal flair played second fiddle to the most important thing for the Johns: their families and each other. “We have similar family backgrounds and values, which is what initially attracted us to each other,” John F says. John O agrees: “Once everyone was there, together we realized how close and how important they are to us.”


Photographer: Nicole Friedler
Celebrant: Pamela Danz of Bodysense
Cake: Sweet E’s 
Flowers: Marlene DiStefano of Island Ambiance
Ties: Vineyard Vines 
Spa Services: Anne Akerley of Island Tresses