Garden Wedding at Lord Thompson Manor in Connecticut

Erin and Andrew
Photographed by: M Bénédicte Verley PhotographyLocation: Killingly Center, Connecticut, United States

Thanks to a couple of friendly dares, Erin Tubridy and Andrew Gates posted personal profiles on Match.com. Time passed, and just as Erin was giving up hope of ever being contacted by Mr. Right, Andrew emailed her. A few weeks later, the two decided it was time to meet. Andrew was so nervous during the date that when he excused himself to use the facilities, he inadvertently walked straight into the ladies room. Helpless to stop him, Erin witnessed the whole thing and found Andrew’s ability to be a good sport (and make her laugh) a winning combination. When the time came to pop the question, Andrew had a romantic plan all worked out: The couple would fly to Miami, have a fabulous dinner overlooking the water and take a walk on the beach where he would propose. Unfortunately, Erin was too tired for a big dinner out after the flight, and when Andrew insisted they still take a stroll, the skies opened up and literally rained on his parade. Not to be deterred, he steered Erin into the lobby of the swanky Delano hotel, ordered two glasses of Champagne and dropped to his knee in front of the crowded bar. “It was perfectly imperfect!” beams Erin of that unforgettable moment.

The same could be said of Erin’s arrival at the ceremony 15 months later. The limo taking her to the event at Lord Thompson Manor broke down en route. “I was standing on the side of the highway in my dress until we were rescued by my brother-in-law, who just so happened to get lost on his way to the wedding!” She arrived barely in time to switch from a Ford Explorer to a 1958 Mercedes convertible, a car her father bought ten years earlier in the hopes he would use it to drive Erin to her wedding one day. Which he did…right up the aisle.

As a curious hummingbird hovered over Erin’s head, the reverend recounted the heartwarming story of how the bride and groom fell in love, engaging those guests who were unfamiliar with the couple’s history. After the ceremony, a Champagne toast performed from an upper balcony overlooking the garden set the reception off on the right foot. The manor house boasted a luxurious but lighthearted atmosphere with tables dressed in various combinations of warm coral, chocolate and ivory hues. Antique stone urns filled with garden roses, peonies, ranunculus, fiddleheads, berries, French tulips and chocolate cosmos were surrounded by place cards tacked to small brown and green pears. The couple’s whimsical cake was decorated in complementary layers of coral, brown and ivory stripes and polka dots along with a custom-made monogram— a “G” encircled by dots—that Erin designed specifically for her invitations, programs and menus. Every room throughout the house was awash with the glow of a thousand candles, a mood rivaled only by the warmth of dancing, laughter and toasting.

The most memorable speech, however, was that of Erin’s father. He told the story of when Erin once called him from a middle school dance in tears because no boys would dance with her. He promised that one day someone special would ask her to dance, but until that day, he would always be there to be her partner. At the end of the toast, Mr. Tubridy pulled out a roll of “Daddy’s Dance Tickets with Erin” and passed them onto Andrew, “the only man he would ever trust to dance with his little girl.” But before relinquishing them altogether, he ripped off a ticket for one more dance with his daughter.

After the reception, Erin and Andrew invited guests to gather on the lawn and celebrate the “end” of the night by lighting sparklers. But for those who were ready for more, an after-party continued in the manor’s basement with sandwiches and warm chocolate chip cookies to keep the revelers fueled into the wee hours of the morning.

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