Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lord Thompson Manor: A Connecticut Treasure

I have the best job in the world. I get to celebrate couples and their families on a very, very special day in their lives. It’s also wonderful to get to discover the best venues around the state. I had the opportunity to work at Lord Thompson Manor in Thompson, Connecticut last week at Alice Lin and Jonathan Stilwell’s wedding and I cannot say enough good things about the venue, its owner and the remarkable staff. 

Tucked away in the northeast corner of Connecticut, Lord Thompson Manor is an absolute treasure. Built in 1917 as the summer home of the Gladdings, (the family who founded the department store of the same name in Providence, Rhode Island), the manor house is situated on a 40 acre estate, the grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmstead. The current owners Jackie and Andrew Silverstone celebrate the elegance and history of the manor house, having created the gold standard of wedding venues anywhere. 

Jackie Silverstone brings an inspired vision to everything she does. This is not a venue that you just rent for the night, it is a complete experience that Jackie, her general manager Ted Reynolds and the rest of the highly professional staff create. It’s like a destination wedding venue, even if you live just around the corner! That is how special it is. 

The couple I married, Alice and Jonathan, told Jackie the colors they wanted for their wedding, then gave her full creative freedom. It was truly one of the most beautiful weddings I have seen. Before the ceremony started, I wandered around looking at the gorgeous table settings, trying to take in everything because it all was a treat for the senses. Jackie did all the flowers herself, including the bridal bouquets. There were buckets full of every shade of purple flower imaginable and parisols gracefully sitting nearby. A table of whimsical clear glass vessels of every shape and size were full of purple candies and reflected the light from numerous votive candles. Even the cake table was something special…a deeply-hued purple cloth covered the round table and ever so slightly ballooned out with a gentle fullness then tucked back in at the bottom. I wasn’t sure how she achieved this, maybe it had crinoline underneath it? I don’t know, I just know that I love this kind of creative elegance and attention to detail. 

And then, there is the staff. The wonderful Ted Reynolds is the general manager and heads up a group of people who care about what they do and make sure you are beautifully taken care of. Ted is a classically trained vocalist (with a gorgeous tenor voice) and can bring his formidable skills to your wedding as well. So consider having a special song to begin your ceremony and for goodness sake…get Ted to sing it! 

Most of the adult staff have been there a good while and they treat you as if welcoming you into their own home. And truly, that is the feeling you get from the moment you step in the front door and are warmly greeted by LouAnne. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the best bartender in the world, Peter who has worked there for years. 

Even the young adult staff were amazing. The guys were smartly dressed in clean and well pressed tuxes. The young female staff were dressed in tea length, a-line black skirts, black tops and a strand of pearls and they all had impeccable manners. This is when I knew I had died and gone to heaven. Be still my heart. What these young people are learning from the mentoring of Jackie and Ted will serve them throughout their lives. It’s not just about butlering or table service…it is about poise and presence, about doing things with care, elegance, and grace. 

Lord Thompson Manor is a beautiful manor house, there is no question. But what Jackie has created and what Ted and his staff foster, goes way beyond that. They set the highest standard and do it in a warm and welcoming way. 

Thank you Jackie, Ted, Kate, Danielle, LouAnne, Peter, Kevin and all the wonderful people at Lord Thompson…and Alice and Jonathan for having me as their Celebrant!