A romance that starts in a hockey league calls for a wedding that’s ultra-cool. For Tori Bjorke and Devon Gordon, a marriage on ice was the perfect way to begin their lives together.
The couple met three years ago when Tori joined the men’s city hockey league Devon played in. They were on the same team and became friends. Tori had played hockey in high school and was a referee for ten years before joining a team. “The league was pretty receptive (to me),” Tori said, laughing. “Plus if you’re skating circles around the guys, they don’t have much to say.”
As the hockey season neared its end, the couple’s love story began – though Tori admits she was clueless at first. “It was funny when we first met. With hockey, there’s not a lot of women that play. I’m around guys all the time so I don’t necessarily pick up on it if somebody’s trying to flirt with me. Devon tried to flirt with me and I was caught off guard.”
His persistence paid off. “We started hanging out in groups with other hockey people and then by ourselves. We decided we liked each other and enjoyed spending time together,” Tori said.
“We decided it was a good idea to get married. We ended up shopping for rings after that,” Tori explained. Tori told Devon to hang on to the rings and ask her to marry him. Devon was planning a surprise proposal, but Tori jumped the gun and caught Devon off guard. “Well, I got impatient. It had been a month or two,” Tori said.
She enlisted the help of her 7-year-old son, Phillip, and made him a shirt that said on the front, “Devon will you marry my mom?” and on the back said, “I’m cool with it.”
The three went to dinner, where Phillip’s shirt caused a sensation with other diners and their waitress.
“Devon was oblivious,” Tori admitted. “I told Devon to read Phillip’s shirt and then he started laughing. It was a disaster. I was so embarrassed!”
Nevertheless, the couple made it to the altar. “We thought it would be cool if we had the wedding at Scheels Iceplex Hockey Rink. It meant something to us,” Tori explained. “They’d never done a wedding at the Scheels Iceplex before, but the rink manager was very receptive to the idea. They were good about stuff we wanted and they were really accommodating. They know both of us personally.”
There was actual ice in the rink the day Tori and Devon wed. A rug was placed in the rink so the wedding party could walk to center ice – to the song “The Final Countdown.”
Phillip made his arrival on a zamboni emblazoned with a big sign that said, “Devon here comes your bride.” It’s a memory that still makes Tori cry. “The zamboni dropped Phillip off at the penalty box. We kept it a surprise from Devon,” Tori said.
Devon, however, didn’t see the sign. “Devon was getting mad and saying, ‘Don’t they know there’s a wedding?’” Tori said, laughing.
Tori’s father and stepfather walked her onto the ice. She met Phillip at the penalty box and the two continued to center ice where Devon was waiting. The couple wrote their own vows and were married by the captain of their hockey team.
About 200 guests sat in the stands to watch the ceremony. Though there was ice in the rink, heaters were turned on for the comfort of the wedding party, family and friends. “I told my guests to wear something to be comfortable in. I just wanted people to show up, celebrate and eat my food,” Tori shared.
During the ceremony, Tori and Devon chose a special symbol that united them and Phillip as a family. The song “Helium” played as together, the bride, groom and Phillip created a painting that represented them all.
“I thought it would be cool to include my son in the unity ceremony. With our wedding colors, we squirted paint on this canvas,” Tori said. “We did a practice one at home so we knew what to do.”
After the ceremony, guests gathered in the hockey rink’s warming room for a reception. The bride’s family prepared much of the food and hosted a taco bar full of anything guests could ask for, like taco bowls, taco shells, queso and chips. The staff at the Scheel Iceplex helped with serving and stocking the taco bar.
The couple cut into a small cake at the reception, and the bride’s grandmother baked a dessert smorgasbord of cookies – chocolate chip, sugar cookies, gingerbread, double chocolate, and peanut butter.
Afterward, guests started dancing in the warming room but soon took to the ice. “Randy Preston, the guy who announces for the Stampede Hockey games, was our DJ,” Tori said. “There was a request for a father-son dance so Devon and his dad had to dance together to a slow corny song.”
No hockey-themed wedding would be complete without skating, so Tori and Devon included it in their reception. “I thought it would be fun for the kids, so we had free open skating for everybody,” Tori said. “We had a bunch of people from hockey come, so they opened another sheet of ice and played hockey. Devon went and played hockey for an hour with them.”
In addition to their family painting, the couple has very personal mementoes from their wedding day. Tori’s mother made jewelry that Tori and her bridesmaids wore during the wedding. Tori and Devon also had a special hockey jersey made.
“It has the date we got married on it, and we just had immediate family and the wedding party sign it. We put it in a shadow box,” Tori explained.
Tori and Devon just bought a house and the jersey will hang in their new bedroom, she said.
The couple cherishes warm memories of their wedding day on ice. “It was obviously not traditional, but we wanted it to be something that was important to us. The day was truly magical,” Tori said.
WEDDING DATE: April 29
LOCATION: Sioux Falls, SD
WEDDING DRESS: David's Bridal
MENSWEAR: Men's Wearhouse
BRIDESMAID DRESSES: David's Bridal
ENGAGEMENT RING: Riddle's Jewelry
WEDDING RINGS/BANDS: Riddle's Jewelry
DJ: Randy Preston
ENTERTAINMENT: Randy Preston
VENUE & RECEPTION: Scheels Iceplex
PHOTOGRAPHER: Heather Sargent
VIDEOGRAPHER: Wholly Cowen
CATERER: Scheels Iceplex
LODGING: Best Western Ramkota
HAIR SALON: Alyssa at Fringe
MAKEUP: Sabreena at Fringe
EVENT PLANNER: Scheels Iceplex (Tania, Eric, Susan)