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A Magical Wedding in the Wilderness of Idaho

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

White Lane Studio

Tess Vinnedge and Peter Sternfeld met one fateful summer night in New York at a friend’s rooftop gathering in the city. Sparks flew quickly and before they knew it, they were emailing each other little love notes. “Every single morning we would send a photo, quote, or poem,” explains Tess. “We sent over 1,000 emails back and forth for the first two years of our relationship.”

When it came time to propose five years after meeting, Peter knew he had to do something with their early correspondence. “He proposed on the dock of my family’s summer cabin on Priest Lake, Idaho,” she remembers. “He gave me a book titled Photo of the Day filled with our daily emails.”

The two agreed to tie the knot on Priest Lake, the bride’s family’s summer escape for the past three decades. “My family spent every summer there, and it has a magical energy, as if time is standing still,” Tess says. But getting to Priest Lake isn’t exactly easy. “The closest airport is two hours away. But we wanted to share a three-day weekend there with everyone in the same place—no cars, TVs, or cell phones. I tried to keep the vibe as authentic, organic, and simple as possible; the remoteness helped with that!”

Tess spent a weekend running around New York with her mom trying on all kind of wedding dresses, but she already had her heart settled on wearing her grandmother’s gown. “I knew I wouldn’t find anything I loved as much,” she explains. She worked with a seamstress in New York, but during the middle of their engagement the couple ended up moving to Los Angeles. (He’s a financial analyst at William Morris Endeavor; she’s the West Coast representative of Edwynn Houk Gallery.) Thankfully, a stylist there was able to pick up where the seamstress in New York had left off and finish reconstructing the vintage dress.

After taking care of her “something old,” the bride picked a pair of nude Jenni Kayne d’orsay flats for her “something new,” and her custom opal and sapphire engagement ring worked perfectly for her “something blue.” A vintage, white fur stole from her mother’s best friend served as her “something borrowed” and Lily of the Valley flowers in her hair provided the perfect finishing touch.

When the wedding weekend finally arrived, the weather unfortunately decided to turn at the last minute. “I figured if I didn’t have a rain plan it wouldn’t rain! But Saturday’s forecast changed from 0% to 90% and after many tears, we decided to make the Friday rehearsal ceremony the actual ceremony,” she says. A family friend picked Tess and her parents up from their summer cabin in a beautiful wooden boat, making the bride’s arrival to her wedding a splashy affair—figuratively not literally! Guests were treated to a flower crown workshop while getting ready, and the crowns perfectly complemented the venue’s natural surroundings. The bride later walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of the Beatles “Something” and the couple was then married by Tess’s sister.

Afterwards, the couple hosted a big barbecue on the sand, followed by toasts from friends and family. They later screened The Princess Bride and distributed bags of popcorn, pillows, and blankets. “It was super cozy; it felt like one big sleepover,” Tess recalls. Just as the weather had warned, on Saturday it rained all day long, but the relaxed vibe from the day before continued on with guests taking yoga classes led by a friend and boardgames and huckleberry daiquiris providing extra entertainment.

That evening, the couple threw a big dinner and a party. “The rain was still pouring down, but the fires were roaring inside,” says Tess. “Peter and I said a few words and then the most epic 10-person Motown band led us into the Hora—who doesn’t love a good Hora?” For their first official dance as man and wife, Tess and Peter danced to Shirelle’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” The evening ended with fried pickles, a bonfire sing-along, and a sparkler send-off. A number of friends and family even jumped into the lake in the middle of the night—perhaps giddy from all the fun they’d had that weekend in the wilderness of Idaho.