A Whimsical Autumn Wedding at Lord Thompson Manor in Thompson, Connecticut

With a palette of slate blue, burgundy and peach and a carefully curated selection of vintage items, Stefanie Gargano (29 and a physician) and Christopher Parks (30 and a physician) pulled off an elegant fall fete with English garden flair. “I love all things vintage and am obsessed with shows like 'Downton Abbey,' and I wanted my wedding to have a timeless, romantic feel,” Stefanie says. “I wanted it to feel like you were transported to a grand estate in the English countryside in the 1920s.” Lord Thompson Manor in Thompson, Connecticut, provided the ultimate backdrop for the day with its expansive gardens, refined early-20th-century architecture and intimate settings. Since the venue was all-inclusive, the planning process was stress-free. “I knew I was going to be busy working 80 hours a week as a resident, and I wanted the wedding planning to be as hassle-free as possible and require minimal coordination between vendors,” Stefanie says. “I loved that all the food, decor, flowers, linens and place settings were all done by one person.” While the couple originally intended to host their “I dos” outdoors, the weather had other ideas. To prevent a downpour from interrupting the celebration, the ceremony was moved indoors to the atrium, which the Lord Thompson staff transformed into an intimate, romantic backdrop for the couple’s vows. Warm candlelight filled the room with a warm glow, while bundles of brilliant peach, burgundy and blush blooms brought a pop of brilliant color to the refined space. As a nod to Stefanie’s Polish heritage, her parents performed a traditional Polish wedding custom during the ceremony, in which they presented Stefanie and Christopher with bread in hope that they never go hungry, salt to overcome the difficult times in life together and wine to enjoy the sweetness in life. After the ceremony, the newlyweds and their guests enjoyed cocktail hour outdoors on the patio, where they sipped on signature drinks—manhattans, sidecars and vodka lemonades with mint—while acoustic guitar played softly in the background. Passed hors d’oeuvres, a spread of Italian charcuterie, fish tacos and lobster mac and cheese went over big with guests and gave them a preview of the culinary delights to come. Top-notch food was a top priority for Stefanie and Christopher, both of whom are self-proclaimed foodies. Lord Thompson Manor’s Chef Mike (a James Beard Award winner) hit it out of the park with a standout meal that paid tribute to the season. “Everyone said it was the best meal they had ever had at a wedding, and I agree—the food was unbelievable and not like traditional wedding food in any way. It tasted like something you would get at a five-star restaurant,” Stefanie says. After dinner the newlyweds and their guests made a beeline to the dance floor where local band Those Guys kept the tunes coming all night. “My brother, Chris and I heard about them from a friend, and we went to check them out during a snowstorm. They all showed up to play despite the weather, and even though there weren’t a ton of people in the crowd, they played like they were playing for a ton of people,” Stefanie says. “We had so much fun and danced all night, so we knew we had to have them for our wedding.” A tip from Stefanie: “Enjoy the planning process, and don’t get bogged down in the stress of little details—planning should be fun. You and your partner will inevitably fight over dumb things, especially when making the seating arrangements, but don’t let the stress of the wedding planning distract from the ultimate goal, which is the marriage.” —Libby MacCarthy