Love at first bite

Derby-loving couple ties the knot at their favorite fishing spot.


This wedding gives new meaning to tying the knot.

For more than a decade, Michelle DeSiena and Darryl Goffreda have been coming to the Island to participate in the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby. When Michelle’s daughter got married eight weeks before their trip to the Vineyard for this year’s Derby, Darryl hatched an idea.

“He said, ‘While we’re up there, let’s get married this year,’” Michelle said. “This was a surprise to everyone but my three children.”

The New Jersey couple met while both were in the process of getting divorced. They met on an online dating site called, appropriately enough, Plenty of Fish.

They’ve lived together for years, and were content as a couple. Something about those nuptials for Michelle’s daughter had Darryl, an executive chef at Rockefeller University in New York City, lured into thinking of getting married. 

“I wanted to get married more than he did through the years,” she said. “He felt like it was time.”

And there was no doubt once the decision was made where they would get married. “We literally got married in our fishing spot [in Edgartown],” she said.

“Every year, I love to fish at that same spot, right between the fly and spin fishermen; it has always been my favorite place to watch the sunrise, view the sky as it changes around the lighthouse, and when I am truly lucky, catch a fish,” Michelle wrote in an email.

The bride wore a white wedding dress with XtraTuf fishing boots. Her bouquet, done by Donaroma’s, included her Derby pin, with the flowers held together by fishing line. The groom wore a boutonniere that also included his Derby pin.

As they exchanged vows, friends and other Derby fishermen cast their lines into the water in search of weighable fish. Michelle’s brother, Bob, officiated at the ceremony, and concluded by telling them, “Now go catch a fish.” Her three children and grandson were at the ceremony on Friday, Oct. 1, at sunrise.

There was no reception, but they enjoyed a cake made by her daughter and served on State Beach (without utensils!). Later, they shared burgers with the children at Fat Ronnie’s in Oak Bluffs before they had to catch a ferry home. That night Darryl and Michelle had dinner together at Rockfish in Edgartown.

Through the years, Michelle and Darryl have had other newsworthy fishing adventures. In 2017, Michelle reeled in a wallet.

While the Derby has been known to create “fishing widows” during five weeks in the early fall, Darryl found himself a partner willing to match him cast for cast.

“Fishing definitely bonded us,” Michelle said. All those hours spent trying to hook albies: “You can cast hundreds of times and not get a fish. We talked and talked and talked and laughed.”

In the future, Darryl and Michelle Goffreda say, they will return to the Island to celebrate their Oct. 1 anniversary and, of course, to fish the Derby. “The Island is such a big part of our lives,” she said. “If I had a choice, I’d move there in a minute. I just don’t have the means to do it. I just love — not just the people of the Derby — but everyone on the Island is always so wonderful to us. It’s like our second home, it really is.”


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