Model and health and wellness influencer Tess Annique believes everything happens for a reason, and her relationship with retired NHL all-star Sheldon Souray, whom she first met in January 2017, is the ultimate proof.
“Our love story is unique because we met in treatment,” Tess says. “We became friends, but both returned to our normal lives. We reconnected a few months later and that’s when it all changed.” She continues, candidly: “We were both in a very low place when we met. It’s been beautiful to be on this healing journey with him. We’ve been able to inspire each other to become the best versions of ourselves, support one another’s sobriety, and live full, authentic lives.”
It was a match made in heaven—so it made sense that the proposal in August 2020 came as close to heaven as possible: a mountaintop in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where the couple spends their summers. “We went on a morning hike [with] the most breathtaking views of Lake Coeur d’Alene. At the top of the mountain, I heard our song come on: “In Case You Didn’t Know” by Brett Young. I turned around and Sheldon was down on one knee. I started crying so much I forgot to say yes!”
From day one, the couple knew they wanted a wedding that was authentic to them, full of intentional and meaningful details. They drew out the event into a weekend-long affair that elevated elements of their everyday lifestyle—dinner with friends, time spent outdoors, football on the couch—into something celebratory. “I wanted our weekend to reflect who we were as a couple and the love we have for one another,” Tess says. “I wanted to provide a unique experience each day, while staying true to our way of life in Idaho.”
Guests arrived at Gozzer Ranch, a residential community and golf club on the incredible Lake Coeur D’Alene, on a Friday—September 10, 2021—for a casual dinner hosted by friends of the couple. Saturday kicked off with a group workout in the morning before the men left for a round a golf, and the women for Tess’ bridal shower. “My friends surprised me with the most beautiful and intentional afternoon filled with so many tears of joy,” she says. “It was such a time of reflection and celebration.” Guests swam, boated, and enjoyed morning devotionals alongside pastries and coffee all weekend long.
After a Western-themed rehearsal dinner on Saturday night, the main event took place on Sunday—an easy, albeit untraditional, decision for the couple. “When we first started dating, we cherished Sundays,” Tess says. “We spent the morning going to Sunday service. Afterward, we would go to brunch, and then home to watch football. It was pure bliss. When we got married, we knew we wanted to recreate that on our special day.”
And that’s exactly what they did: Their ceremony began with a Sunday service and was followed by an uber-elegant brunch. Then, instead of hitting the dance floor, guests changed into custom sweats and hunkered down to watch football.
To help execute each event, Tess and Sheldon turned to planner Mindy Weiss. (You may know the name: She’s best known for planning some of the Kardashians’ epic events). “The easiest part of planning was that we had a very clear vision,” Tess says. “Everything was deeply intentional and carried meaning. There was nothing random about our choices.” She goes on: “When we were dating, Sheldon told me that we weren’t falling in love, we were ‘rising in it.’ [So] that was the theme of the weekend: ‘Cheers to rising in love.’”
Read on to see the stunning celebration—and countless big and little surprises revealed along the way—planned by Mindy Weiss, Lauren Shapiro, Minya Alisa, and Julian Brailsford of Mindy Weiss Party Consultants, and photographed by Valorie Darling.
The couple curated welcome bags for their 80 guests, filled with "his" and "her" favorite sweets, a custom matchbox featuring a sketch of the couple by Handmade Highlights, and a shirt and hat from hockey lifestyle brand Violent Gentlemen. The logo is in homage to the golf invitational Sheldon founded—named for his NHL nickname, Hammer. “It was very important for me to work with small businesses,” Tess says of the planning process. “I was heavily involved in working with each vendor. We were grateful to work with some incredible vendors from all over the world while supporting small businesses. It took a village!”
It’s our happy place. It only made sense to have our wedding there.
“Coeur d’Alene is where we fell in love,” Tess remembers. “When we first reconnected, Sheldon invited me up to Idaho—it was the weekend after Labor Day. Fast forward four years, and we got married the exact weekend we reconnected.” The couple even has a home within the Gozzer community. “It’s our happy place. It only made sense to have our wedding there,” she adds.
On Saturday night, the couple hosted a “western chic” rehearsal dinner. “We wanted to stay true to the nature of our surroundings,” Tess says of the decor. “I wanted to implement lots of natural materials, emphasizing leather and natural woods. It was a warm color theme: lots of tan, brown, and mahogany mixed with natural florals in white and green.”
“I had this vision for all of our menus and signage to be calligraphed onto pieces of leather—we used faux—and it turned out so cool,” Tess says. In addition to the bar, the couple flew in a cigar roller from Miami-based My Cigar Roller. “It was the perfect touch. All the men loved it.”
Guests were encouraged to dress in Western wear—“they came dressed to the nines!” Tess says—and the bride and groom were no exception. Tess put a bridal spin on the theme in a vintage Versace gown from the ’90s that she happened upon in an online estate sale, and had altered at the label’s Beverly Hills flagship.
“This was the dress of my dreams,” she says. “[It had] the most beautiful intricate embroidery and beading on a corseted bodice. The fabric was so delicate because it’s 20 years old. When I put it on for the rehearsal dinner, it fit like a glove. As a lover of fashion, this dress is now one of my most treasured pieces.” She completed the look with a custom hat by Teressa Foglia and Lucchese boots.
The couple didn’t have a dance floor at their brunch wedding, so they planned for Saturday night’s event to be the dance party. And it didn’t disappoint: “Our friend, country music superstar Dierks Bentley, was so kind and performed after our barbecue dinner,” Tess says. “Sheldon and Dierks have been friends for a while. When our wedding date was approaching, Dierks said he wanted to play a few songs. He came up to Idaho with a few members of his band.” He ended the set with “Home”—and all 80 guest linked arms and sang. “It was truly unforgettable," the bride reminisces.
We had coffee together, listened to music, and got ready as we normally would. It was the most beautiful start to the day.
The next day, Sunday, was the main event, and prep began early for the 1 p.m. ceremony. The couple bucked tradition and got ready together. “It was one of my favorite parts of the day, Tess remembers. “It was Sunday morning. We had coffee together, listened to music, and got ready as we normally would. It was the most beautiful start to the day. My heart was at peace.” (By the way, Sheldon designed this rose gold oval engagement ring for Tess himself!)
“Our flower girls are so special to us,” Tess says. “Sheldon’s best friend has three daughters. They wore the custom white linen dresses and baby’s breath flower crowns. They were the stars of the show.” Each wore a dress by My Little Dani and shoes by Tilly Whistle, and carried a Babys Breath By Sarine basket from which to toss petals; Tess sourced their entire look from Etsy vendors.
For beauty, “I wanted a soft romantic look for my wedding day,” says the bride, who enlisted her go-to hair and makeup team of Suzy Espinoza and Kandice Delgado for the big day. “I wanted to look like the best version of myself.” Delgado used soft hues of pink, bronze, and rose gold on Tess’ face, and did a nude lined lip. “I am a huge fan of Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillowtalk collection, so we used products from that line.”
“It was special to have Sheldon help me in my wedding dress; and I tied his bow tie,” Tess remembers. “On a day of beautiful chaos, it was a wonderful moment of peace. It’s not for everyone, but I loved spending every second with him that day.”
They added a shared final touch to their looks: “When we first started dating, I was wearing Marrakech by Aesop—it’s a unisex scent, musky and mysterious, yet not overpowering,” Tess says. “Sheldon loved it so much, he started wearing it too.” Both the bride and groom spritzed the fragrance for their wedding day.
My dress arrived in Idaho two days before my wedding, and it was absolutely perfect.
Tess’ original custom gown arrived from Europe eight weeks before the wedding—in the wrong color. “It would probably be most brides’ nightmare. But in that instant, I knew it wasn’t meant to be,” she remembers. So, staying true to her vision, she found and fell in love with a corseted strapless sheath dress by Berta and took it to her seamstress, Rita, at The White Dress.
“We cut the gown apart and she started sewing it right on my body,” Tess says. “We used extra beading and lace to create custom sleeves. I found lace Jimmy Choo shoes that matched perfectly. Rita sewed lace from my dress and beaded my shoes. The look flowed perfectly. My dress arrived in Idaho two days before my wedding, and it was absolutely perfect.”
“Listen to your gut. Plan in advance. Try to go with the flow as much as you can,” Tess advises other brides about dress shopping. “The first time I went to try on dresses, I went by myself. I knew exactly what I was looking for and I wanted that time to focus on how I felt in the dress. I often find myself seeing how other people are feeling and making sure they feel included—but it was incredibly important for me to take this time just for myself.”
For his part, the groom donned custom Tom Ford from head to toe—or, most specifically, from lapel to loafers. “We designed his suit together,” the bride says. “We wanted something classic yet unexpected. He decided on a black jacket with sharkskin texture and tapered tuxedo pants. He has impeccable taste, and it was such a fun, creative experience to have together.”
“I wanted to keep our decor simple and elegant, yet unique,” Tess says of her vision for the ceremony. “We used thousands of white roses—but instead of bouquets, we used individual stems to create a rose garden in the middle of a massive lawn overlooking the lake. Each rose was hand placed in a small hole on the lawn. It took such a massive team and was a labor of love, but it turned out perfectly.” Guests were seated along the 80-foot aisle, 40 on each side, facing each other. “I loved how all our guests were front and center,” the bride adds.
The couple honored their favorite day of the week through unique elements like the wedding programs by JRC Prints. “In the spirit of Sundays, I wanted to incorporate a newspaper,” Tess says. “It included the typical program information, but also had fun facts, stories, and a crossword puzzle! Guests loved this unique touch.”
A string quartet played an eclectic mix of songs as guests found their seats, then took up again as Sheldon processed in. “My husband loves Pearl Jam, so he walked out to ‘Better Man,’” Tess says. “When we first started dating, he joked that he loved the song so much he wanted to walk out to it on his wedding. It came true!”
Tess’s processional was one of the most special moments of the day. “Sheldon has two daughters, [so] I asked my stepdaughters to walk me out to the start of the aisle of roses. Then, they walked down to their dad. We kept it a surprise. He had tears in his eyes [and] I knew it meant so much to him.” Tess’ own father then met her at the beginning of the aisle and walked her toward Sheldon as the strings played “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United. “I thought it was such a special, yet respectful, way to have everyone involved. It was perfect.”
The duo enlisted two special pastors in their lives to perform a Sunday service and wedding ceremony—pastors whose followings put them on par with some of the stars on the guest list (yes, that’s Cindy Crawford and husband Rande Gerber in the crowd): Chad Veach and Judah Smith, the latter of which married the Biebers.
“When we first got sober, we had a ‘God’ moment,” Tess recalls. “We both independently went to Pastor Chad’s church on the same day—a serendipitous moment that brought us back to believing in something greater than ourselves. It was magic.”
“I’ve worn at least 50 different wedding gowns; one of my first photoshoots was a bridal editorial,” Tess says of her career as a model. So for her real-life wedding day look, it was a veil that set it apart. “I wanted the blusher because it felt regal; it’s what made me feel like a bride,” she says. “My veil was from Rita Vinieris [and] was adorned with lace that complemented my dress perfectly.”
Tess and Sheldon exchanged personal vows. “I knew I would be a mess if I didn’t write them down,” the bride remembers. “I had them written a month in advance; I wanted them to be perfect. Sheldon grabbed the mic and spoke his vows from the heart. I can still remember the last sentence of his vows perfectly: ‘I hope I die before you, so I never have to live a day without you.’ When he started crying, I lost it.”
The most memorable moments of our weekend were when we did what felt right for us.
As the newlyweds recessed out, white flower petals showering down, the strings took up “Anyone” by Justin Bieber. “A wedding is about celebrating your love,” Tess says, offering a piece of advice to other brides-to-be. “Choose what feels right and authentic to who you are as a couple. It’s what makes the day so unique and special. The most memorable moments of our weekend were when we did what felt right for us.”
Photographer Valorie Darling specializes in fine art film photography—so, in addition to digital, she snapped some photos of the couple on film, like this romantic shot. “I loved how the film turned out,” Tess says. “I wanted very organic photos, yet still artistic, and Valorie captured the weekend perfectly.”
“Because we are sober, every signature drink had a mocktail and cocktail version,” Tess describes. “It was a wonderful way to provide a variety of options for our guests—a few of my girlfriends are pregnant and loved the non-alcoholic alternatives.” One of the couple’s favorite brands, Ritual Zero Proof, provided non-alcoholic spirit alternatives for Bloody Marys, Aperol Spritzs, peach bellinis, and more. “My favorite of the weekend was the Spicy Souray, a spicy margarita mocktail made with the brand’s tequila alternative,” Tess says. Meanwhile, Fre Wines provided alcohol-free wine.
Before sitting down for a mid-afternoon meal, guests enjoyed the couple’s favorite brunch foods—in miniature form. “We had mini donuts, macaroon towers, mini chicken and waffles, mini pancake stacks, and French toast dippers in mason jars filled with syrup. Last but not least: a European grazing station adorned with fruit, pastries, cold cuts, and artisanal cheeses.”
Actor Taylor Lautner and Tay Dome were among the celeb-filled guest list (and the couple got engaged themselves not long after!).
Between ceremony and reception, the bride slipped into a strapless satin Galia Lahav gown with a draped bodice and high slit. “My second look was so fun,” she says. “It fit like a glove.” Speaking of gloves, she added a pair of custom ones by Kerry Parker to her outfit. “I always loved gloves and thought they were so elegant and regal,” Tess says. “I reached out to Kerry and asked her to bring my vision to life.” The fingerless tulle style featured ivory threadwork: “On one hand, the text read ‘to have & to hold,’ and on the other it said ‘to love & to cherish,’” the bride describes. “They were one of my favorite touches of the weekend. We loved how they turned out so much, Kerry decided to sell these gloves, naming them The Tess Vow Gloves—you can buy them today!”
It's the most magical brunch table I’ve ever seen: one decadent 80-foot table in the middle of thousands of white roses.
“My family is from Germany, and I’ve always loved European brunch,” Tess says. “I knew that’s exactly how I wanted the brunch after our ceremony to feel. I envisioned live music, one long table, crisp white linens and an elegant tablescape filled with delicious European foods.”
To take advantage of the stellar view, planner Mindy Weiss suggested repurposing the ceremony space for brunch. “While everyone was at cocktail hour, the staff turned over the space, in under an hour, into the most magical brunch table I’ve ever seen: one decadent 80-foot table in the middle of thousands of white roses,” Tess says. “It was a dream come true.”
Fresh white tablecloths, gold flatware, white stone plates, and gold chargers set the scene. “Each guest had a crystal-cut glass and gold-rimmed coupe,” Tess describes. “We found beautiful white lace-trimmed napkins, and Michaela from Ink & Press Co. made handwritten name scrolls for place cards, and handmade menus that matched our invitation suite.” Individual white roses in bud vases lined all 80 feet of the table. “I’ve always gone with the mantra of ‘less is more,’” the bride says. “Keeping it simple yet stunning was important to me.”
Brunch is both of our favorite meals, so we had so much fun planning the menu.
The newlyweds made their entrance to their seats at the head of the long table. “Brunch is both of our favorite meals, so we had so much fun planning the menu,” Tess says of the family-style meal. “We’ve known Chef Kevin at Gozzer for years so we were able to really dial in what we wanted. The end result? Stone fruit and fresh ricotta salad, chilled seafood towers, avocado and tomato, peach and burrata, and fig and goat cheese tartines, crème brûlée French toast, eggs Benedict, and grilled wagyu skirt steak.”
The day was as much a celebration of friends as it was of the couple’s love for one another. So, the duo booked photographer Dennis Gocer of The Collective You to capture black-and-white portraits of each guest. “Dennis has turned into a dear friend,” Tess says. “I’ve worked with a lot of photographers before, but none like him. He’s a true artist. He’s able to capture the heart and soul of all those he photographs.” Guests got to take home their portraits at the end of the night as favors—and the couple received a book featuring all the photos after the wedding. “It’s so special to have as a reminder of that day,” Tess says.
The cake was simple and modern—five fresh white tiers—but the display was elaborate. “We decided to mimic our floral theme of freestanding roses,” Tess says. “The cake table was full of moss.” Inside, white cake was layered with freshly cut strawberries and fresh buttercream, and each slice was served with more berries and a dollop of whipped cream. “It was delicious,” the bride remembers. “We boxed up extras and ate it all within the first week after the wedding.”
Our pure bliss and admiration for Sundays were captured in the most authentic way.
Brunch wrapped in the late afternoon. "Since we danced the night away on Saturday, we didn’t plan for a major dance party,” Tess remembers. “Instead, we decided to watch Sunday night football. We all changed into comfy clothes and spent the evening eating pizza and hanging with those we love most.” But of course, even the comfy clothes were artfully curated: The couple collaborated with The Denim Blonde on custom Til Death Do Us Part sweatsuits, emblazoned with “Mrs. 44,” an homage to Sheldon’s old hockey number. “It was such a fun way to incorporate that aspect into our wedding, and heavenly to end a very busy weekend of wardrobe changes in a sweatsuit,” Tess remembers. (In fact, they loved the end result so much, they’re releasing it as a limited-edition collection.)
As the wedding weekend wound down, the couple relaxed with their nearest and dearest in a way that, once again, felt truly genuine. “Our pure bliss and admiration for Sundays were captured in the most authentic way,” Tess says, looking back. “It may not be for everyone, but it was perfect for us.”
Venue Gozzer Ranch
Planner Mindy Weiss
Officiant Judah Smith
Alterations The White Dress
Stylist Lisa Marie Cameron
Hair Suzy Espinoza
Makeup Kandice Delgado
Rings Larry Flowers
Save The Dates Papier
Invitations Ink & Press Co.
Floral Design Anthesis Co.
Cake Sweet Frostings
Favors The Collective You
Photo Booth Funny Booth
Videography Ferguson Films
Photography Valorie Darling