Jake & James

An intimate, DIY wedding planned from afar.

James Barton-Souza didn’t plan to meet his future husband during a tour of the College of Charleston in South Carolina. But in spring of 2014, clustered among fellow incoming freshmen, he locked eyes with his tour guide, Jake Tucker, and their connection was undeniable.

They were inseparable until James returned to his grandparents’ home on Martha’s Vineyard that summer. When the couple grew weary of FaceTiming, Jake booked a trip up to the Island, where the two would wed nearly a decade later beside the Edgartown Lighthouse.

“The lighthouse and beach just fit that kind of symbolic portion of the way our relationship is,” Jake said. “[James] is the lighthouse – I can always follow him home. And then I’ll always be the sand between his toes that drives him absolutely nuts.”

The wedding was an intimate affair planned almost entirely by James during his rare moments of freedom between classes at medical school. He decompressed after exams by calling Juniper in Edgartown to discuss flower arrangements, booking guest lodging at the Dockside Inn in Oak Bluffs, and ordering desserts from Vineyard Confections.

Planning from afar, James decided to forgo some details to focus more on guest experience. With family and friends traveling from around the country, he wanted their time on the Island to be as carefree and affordable as possible.

“We aren’t the type of people who were picking out the blue flowers to go with the gold napkins and whatnot,” Jake said. “Instead, we had to really think about our guests who had never been to Martha’s Vineyard, and getting them transportation from A to B and accessible lodging. Everything was very pre-planned for them all,” added James.

The reception was held at a private home in Edgartown that provided both elegance and coziness. Guests could dance in the warm June air on the patio or relax indoors. And by the end of the evening, every guest was soaked in their wedding garb and splashing in the pool.

“Once [James] jumped in, everyone followed,” said Jake. “One after one, the wedding party was in the pool…and James and I shared a kiss under the string lights.”

Following their wedding, they returned to Charleston, where James began a four-year OB/GYN residency and Jake owns a landscape supply business. They won’t take a honeymoon until after his residency, but they plan to make regular trips back to the Island to relive the magic.


Wedding Date: June 10, 2023
Ceremony: Edgartown Lighthouse
Reception: Private Home
Photographer: Randi Baird
Officiant: Rev. Jacalyn Kane
Flowers: Juniper/Donaroma’s
Party Supplies: Tilton Tents and Party Rentals
Caterer: Little Rock Farm
Hair: Melanie Mello
Dessert: Vineyard Confections
Transportation: Oak Bluffs Land & Wharf Co.
Accommodations: Dockside Inn