A Globally-Inspired Eclectic Vermont Wedding
Fiona and Peter
After Peter Montgomery proposed to Fiona Thomas in the fall of 2014, a number of friends and family trotted out the exact same wedding advice: Don't worry about the details; no one notices those little touches anyway, and if they do, nobody really cares. "But I notice, and I care," says the bride, a designer who owns Thomas Sires, a clothing and home boutique in Manhattan. Which is why, in the midst of all the planning frenzy, she did things like cut and iron the beige linen napkins that would grace place settings at the reception. "I can see people thinking it was the most idiotic thing to do, but ultimately, that's what I wanted," she says. "I think guests do notice the little things, and those things represent you." Sure enough, the oh-so-Fiona-and-Peter touches—a cheese table straight out of a French still life; a simple, heartfelt ceremony by a pond; inflatable guitars doled out on the dance floor—left an impression. Fiona recalls, "Everyone kept saying, 'This is so you.'"
It was a celebration two decades in the making. Fiona and Peter, who works in financial services, met and became friends at Hamilton College in upstate New York. After a series of moves (he to Switzerland, she back home to San Francisco), both settled in New York City. "We always remained close," says Peter. "By the time we got together romantically, in the summer of 2013, we already knew each other so well." Just over a year later, Peter popped the question. Then he handed his fiancée the reins planning-wise because, he says, "Fiona has a great eye and a style that's colorful, understated, and warm."
Which isn't to say the bride-to-be knew exactly what she wanted in her nuptials. "I love to throw a party, but I don't love being the center of attention," says Fiona. She and Peter contemplated eloping until they found River Road Farm in southwest Vermont. With on-site lodging, a pool, and plenty of land, it was just the spot for the idyllic weekend they imagined. "The morning of the wedding, vendors were setting up and kids were jumping in the pool," she says. "It felt very utopian."
That afternoon, September 19, 2015, 230 guests strolled the fields, sipping Champagne en route to the ceremony. One friend officiated the civil service, and another played guitar and keyboards, performing songs he had composed for the occasion. During cocktails, Fiona's young cousins skateboarded through the crowd, then everyone sat down, unraveled their favors—crepe-paper party balls with trinkets tucked inside—and donned their paper-crown and temporary-tattoo prizes before tucking into Chilean sea bass and grilled tenderloin. As dinner wound down, Fiona had her friend Peter Som cut yards of tulle off the dress he had designed so she could dance more easily.
"I like things that are steeped in tradition, but I wanted the day to be relaxed and funky, too," says the bride. That feeling carried over from the raucous pig-roast rehearsal dinner to the tail end of the reception: Rather than cut a cake, the newlyweds opened up the dessert bar to end all dessert bars, with nearly a dozen different treats. "I'm by no means a minimalist!" says Fiona. Just a realist who knows that when it comes to love, laughter, and sweets, more is definitely more.
A Calligraphed Stationery Suite
Arguably the cutest treat inside the welcome bags guests received: Sugar cookies frosted with a photo of the couple's terrier, Ivy, by Baked Ideas.
"We had driven by it the previous winter and wondered what it was," says Peter of River Road Farm and its 30 acres. Lucky for the engaged couple, the property, built in the 1800s as a horse farm, is now an event space that hosts parties, reunions, and conferences. The newlyweds stayed in a cottage on the grounds and family members settled in to the on-site bunkhouse, which sleeps sixteen.
The bride and groom horsed around with their nieces and nephews, the flower girls and ring bearers. Fiona wore a custom Peter Som gown, which had been hand-embroidered in India, and Peter chose a look from Suitsupply. Along with his new suit, the groom wore a lucky something old, a tie that had belonged to the bride's late father. "Fiona gave it to me after we started dating, and it's been my favorite ever since," says Peter.
The Bride's Jewelry
The bride's day-of jewelry included earrings she bought in Mexico and bracelets passed down from both her grandmothers.
The Bridal Bouquet
Well-wishers walked to the ceremony site, where benches were arranged in a semicircle, so that rather than enter through a central aisle, Fiona and Peter walked along the side of the pond toward guests and were surrounded by family and friends during their vows.
The mothers of the bride (left) and groom (right) were all smiles.
A Bountiful Spread
At cocktail hour, a lavish spread of cheese from the Cellars at Jasper Hill dairy farm in Greensboro Bend, Vermont, was accompanied by breadsticks and fruit. There were nine types of cheese featured, and the leftovers were frozen for the couple to enjoy later.
The signature cocktails, kir royales garnished with a lemon twist, were served in an eclectic mix of glassware.
Colorful Well Wishes
A Colorful Escort Card Display
The tasseled seating assignments were pinned to a board covered in ikat fabric and draped in garlands.
A Striking Tablescape
Time to Catch Up
The couple's friends caught up with one another at the reception.
Lounge-area banquettes were made even cozier with John Robshaw pillows and throws.
Inside the Tent
Chandeliers, embellished with eucalyptus, zinnias, and streaming ribbons, added to the wonderland feel inside the dinner tent.
Cutting the Dress
"I figured I wasn't going to wear my dress again, and cutting it post-ceremony would make it easier to dance," says Fiona.
Peter Som in Action
The dress's designer, her friend Peter Som, gamely agreed and lopped off the bottom 18 inches of the skirt.
Time to Dance
The flirty transformation inspired the couple to do a totally unplanned first dance to a "Stand by Me" mash-up suggested by the band.
Fiona's niece, the flower girl, upcycled the remnants of her dress it into a shawl.