A Globally-Inspired Eclectic Vermont Wedding

Fiona and Peter

Liz Banfield

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.

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A Calligraphed Stationery Suite

Liz Banfield

Red and indigo invitations, calligraphed by Anne Elser, were printed by Vote for Letterpress.

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Welcome Goodies

Liz Banfield

Welcome bundles, wrapped in Baggu totes, held a slew of tiny gifts, including mini gummy bears and camo-print bandages.

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Puppy Love

Liz Banfield

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.

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The Location

Liz Banfield

"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.

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The Style

Liz Banfield

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.

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The Bride's Jewelry

Liz Banfield

The bride's day-of jewelry included earrings she bought in Mexico and bracelets passed down from both her grandmothers.

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Something Blue

Liz Banfield

The bride showed off her something blue: leopard denim Manolo Blahnik sandals.

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The Bridal Bouquet

Liz Banfield

Fiona carried a bouquet of peonies, anemones, garden roses, ranunculus, sweet peas, nigella, and jasmine made by Birds of a Flower.

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The Ceremony

Liz Banfield

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.

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Motherly Love

Liz Banfield

The mothers of the bride (left) and groom (right) were all smiles.

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A Bountiful Spread

Liz Banfield

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.

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Signature Cocktails

Liz Banfield

The signature cocktails, kir royales garnished with a lemon twist, were served in an eclectic mix of glassware.

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Colorful Well Wishes

Liz Banfield

Instead of signing a guest book, well-wishers wrote their sentiments on scrolls of stationery from Bungalow, a Danish stationery line, and New York Central. Using the same paper, Fiona's friends made the patterned boxes displayed on the signing table.

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Paper Tassels

Liz Banfield

Paper tassels created by Parcel, a vendor whose goods are sold in Fiona's store, hung from each calligraphed escort card.

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A Colorful Escort Card Display

Liz Banfield

The tasseled seating assignments were pinned to a board covered in ikat fabric and draped in garlands.

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A Striking Tablescape

Liz Banfield

One-of-a-kind Indian linens from Auntie Oti were draped diagonally over dining tables and layered with colorful groupings of peonies, sweet peas, anemones, vines, and eucalyptus. Each plate was topped with a napkin Fiona made, and a crepe-paper-wrapped Surprize Ball packed with treats.

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Time to Catch Up

Liz Banfield

The couple's friends caught up with one another at the reception.

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Pillow Talk

Liz Banfield

Lounge-area banquettes were made even cozier with John Robshaw pillows and throws.

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Inside the Tent

Liz Banfield

Chandeliers, embellished with eucalyptus, zinnias, and streaming ribbons, added to the wonderland feel inside the dinner tent.

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Cutting the Dress

Liz Banfield

"I figured I wasn't going to wear my dress again, and cutting it post-ceremony would make it easier to dance," says Fiona.

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Peter Som in Action

Liz Banfield

The dress's designer, her friend Peter Som, gamely agreed and lopped off the bottom 18 inches of the skirt.

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Time to Dance

Liz Banfield

The flirty transformation inspired the couple to do a totally unplanned first dance to a "Stand by Me" mash-up suggested by the band.

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Going Green

Liz Banfield

Fiona's niece, the flower girl, upcycled the remnants of her dress it into a shawl.

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Sweet Somethings

Liz Banfield

"I love sweets," says the bride, who planned the meal's showstopping finale, including these mini chocolate tortes topped with edible flowers from Gourmet Sweet Botanicals.

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A Crêpe Cake

Liz Banfield

Bright blooms also ringed a three-tier mille-crêpe cake by Lady M Confections.

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Just Desserts

Liz Banfield

A spread straight out of a fairy tale included mini eclairs, fruit tarts, and two standouts: a croquembouche—a nod to the bride's French heritage—and a naked red velvet cake with cream cheese filling, all from Irene's Cakes by Design.

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Piped Macarons

Liz Banfield

Macarons from Creme Delicious featured henna-inspired designs applied by hand.

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Lemon Tarts

Liz Banfield

Amid the lavish dessert selection the bride wanted an array of little tarts "so everything wasn't so heavy," she says of these mini lemon versions.

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Fruity Delights

Liz Banfield

Fiona loves marzipan (not quite as much as she loves Peter, but a whole lot), so she made sure mini fruits sculpted out of the sweet stuff were on display in the dessert spread.

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Liz Banfield

Location, River Road Farm
Event planning, Storied Events
Catering, Hub's Catering, 802-362-7312
Flowers, Birds of a Flower
Photography, Liz Banfield
Stationery Letterpressing, Vote for Letterpress
Calligraphy, Anne Elser
Desserts, Lady M Confections crêpe cake; Irene's Cakes by Design croquembouche, eclairs, naked cake, and tarts; Creme Delicious macarons; Nuts.com chocolates; Gourmet Sweet Botanicals edible flowers
Reception music, The Silver Arrow Band
Rentals, lighting, and restrooms, Rain or Shine Tent Company
Bride's gown, Peter Som
Bride's shoes, Manolo Blahnik
Hair and makeup, Salon Ruelle
Flower girls' dresses, Chota Péro
Ring-bearer attire, Makíe shirt; Egg by Susan Lazar pants; J.Crew shoes
Groom's suit, Suitsupply
Groom's accessories: Hermès tie; Etiquette Clothiers shirt; Alden shoes
Transportation, Ethan Allen Coachworks
Cheese, Cellars at Jasper Hill
Dessert table serveware, Roost metal serving pieces; Iittala bowls and platters
Patterned paper, Bungalow; New York Central Art Supply
Pillows and throws, John Robshaw
Escort card tassels, Parcel
Escort card ribbons, Mokuba New York, 212-869-8900
Surprize Balls, Tops Malibu
Table linens, Auntie Oti
Fabric, Rising Tide Fair Trade
Trees, Equinox Valley Nursery
Welcome bags, Baggu
Welcome bag contents, Baked Ideas cookies; Gold Teeth Brooklyn cards; The Great Lakes Goods peace sign

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