In 2019, Tess Mann and her husband, Joe, purchased the beautiful building at 31 W. Broad Street in the historic district of Cookeville that soon became home to Couture by Tess Bridal. After years of dreaming about opening a storefront, this space that once housed a printing press was transformed into a destination for couture bridal fashion. The structure’s brick walls, refinished original hardwood flooring and stamped tin ceiling tiles serve as a charming backdrop for an inventory of very glamorous gowns curated by Mann.
Tess Mann is a fashion designer recognized by the United States Patent Office and was awarded her label’s trademark in 2018, indicating that her designs are unique and cannot be copied. She designs under her own labels, Tess Mann Haute Couture and Couture by Tess. Her bridal store also supports other designer labels that align with the quality and creativity of Mann’s brand, giving brides-to-be plenty of options for their big day.
Mann’s education in psychology and criminology led her to a successful career as a federal law enforcement officer with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation lasting over twenty years. She began her fashion business by operating as an appointment-only bridal boutique on the top floor of her home in Collierville, Tennessee in 2013 then moved to Cookeville, Tennessee upon her retirement from the Bureau. She has been pursuing a fashion career full-time since opening the doors to Couture by Tess Bridal in Cookeville.
Even from a young age, Mann has had a fascination with fashion design. She began participating in the Miss America preliminary scholarship competitions as a young woman then realized she needed a formal evening gown. Not being able to afford a luxurious competition gown, she and her mother began designing and sewing. She continued to sketch designs throughout her college education and designing for fun throughout her life.
From Illustration to Runway
As a true designer, Tess Mann custom draws ornamental embroidery and laces for her designs. Fashion illustrations are hand-drawn and sent to manufacturing in New Delhi, India, the hub for the finest laces and fabrics.
“Personally, I am in love with fashion from previous decades and eras. A lot of the inspiration that I get truly is from the late Middle Ages through the Roaring ’20s. My two latest collections were presented at our fashion show hosted in Nashville last summer. The Nostalgia Collection is a new collection donning various fashion techniques from different eras while assimilating modern touches. New Discovery is a smaller collection that has utilized designs from previous Couture by Tess collections and re-imagined based on clients’ feedback over the years,“ said Tess Mann.
Philanthropy plays an important role for the Couture by Tess Bridal brand. When the team was on the hunt for a venue for a Phantom of the Opera-themed fashion photoshoot, they stumbled upon STAAR Theatre at Antoinette Hall in Pulaski. Upon hearing more about the massive restoration project, Mann decided to help. Having a soft spot for historical architecture and the arts community, not only was the venue chosen as the photoshoot’s location, but she is giving back with a special fundraising campaign. Mann has committed to donate $100 from every purchase of her Couture By Tess trademark label, and 5% of her boutique’s sales from selected bridal gowns sold such as Randy Fenoli Bridal and Robert Bullock Bride. This donation period began January 1, 2023 and runs through December 31, 2024.
Memorial Day Giveaway.
In an effort to honor first responders and active female military, Couture by Tess Bridal is honoring USA first responders and active female military this year for its annual Memorial Day drawing for which one lucky bride will win a dream wedding dress valued at $4,000 or less from the Tess Mann Haute Couture or Couture by Tess brands. Participants may enter the Memorial Day drawing between February 14, 2023 through May 24, 2023. Entrants must have a wedding date between January 1, 2024 through December 31, 2024.
Brides-to-be can find out more and enter to win by filling out the entry form on the Couture by Tess Bridal website: https://www.couturebytessbridal.com/dress-give-a-way-entry
Photos By Barrett Dennison, El Osito Films and Provided