Gene Simmons' Daughter Sophie Is Married! Inside the Sunset Ceremony in Her Mom's Backyard

The musician and her longtime love James Henderson exchanged vows in front of 50 guests at her mom Shannon Tweed-Simmons' Malibu house on Feb. 22

Sophie Simmons is married!

After the musician — who is the daughter of KISS rocker Gene Simmons and actress Shannon Tweed-Simmons — and her longtime love, James Henderson, tied the knot at a Los Angeles courthouse on Friday, the pair exchanged vows in front of 50 friends and family members at her mother's Malibu home on Feb. 22.

"We couldn't be prouder of our daughter," Gene and Shannon tell PEOPLE in a statement. "James is a solid young man, and Sophie can do anything she puts her mind to. We wish them a lifetime of love and happiness. If they are even half as happy as we are, they will last long."

The day kicked off at 4:30 p.m., with guests arriving to drinks and light bites ahead of the ceremony. As the sun started to set, the main event began. Simmons walked down the aisle in a sparkling blush dress by Galia Lahav and Maria Elena Bridal headpiece to Band of Horses' "No One's Gonna Love You."

"When my fiancé and I first started dating nine years ago, he took me to a Band of Horses concert," says Simmons. "I was so tired from filming our reality show Shannon & Sophie back then, I fell asleep on his shoulder. We were way too early in the dating phase for me to do that. Luckily, he thought it was cute, and he woke me up for that one song."

Sophie Simmons and James Henderson Wedding
Sophie Simmons and James Henderson. Madison Aycoth; Photographer - Instagram: @madisonaycoth - Web:

Simmons adds that the location for her nuptials, the backyard of her mother's "she-shed" was everything they wanted. "The view truly can't be beat and I love that it is intimate and family oriented," she says. "James and I never wanted a big wedding so this is the perfect space for us."

Since there's a wide range of religious beliefs between both of their families, Simmons, 30, and Henderson, who works in film, opted to have a judge marry them.

"We wanted to be respectful to both of our families," she explains. "We thought we would just sidestep religion altogether and make it a non-issue. We wanted to do the ceremony somewhere so beautiful that it wouldn't matter if it's not at a church or temple or whatever."

Sophie Simmons wedding
Sophie Simmons and James Henderson. Madison Aycoth

Additionally, the couple "took out all the language in the vows about the wife obeying and things like that," Simmons says. "We wanted it to be super equal, because our partnership is really equal."

At the time of her fitting earlier this month, Simmons had already written her vows — and that she practiced reading them many times over in her car.

Gene Simmons and Sophie Simmons attend 'The Children Matter', an exclusive charity event benefiting MATTER & The Starkey Hearing Foundation presented by Bridgehampton Benefit at Southampton Arts Center on July 29, 2017 in Southampton, New York.
Gene Simmons and Sophie Simmons. Mike Pont/Getty

"I've been practicing in the car because I'm like, 'I am not going to cry,'" she says. "But I am so going to cry. I cry in the car, and then come in the house and James will be like, 'Are you crying?' I'm like, 'No, I'm fine!' Even though we've said all these things to each other before, it's emotional."

While her vows will certainly be sentimental, Simmons expects Henderson to lean heavily into the jokes for his vows.

"I have no idea what his vows are, but he's really funny, and he's kept a 10-year-long running list of all the stupid things I've ever said," she recalls. "I had to tell him, 'They're vows — they're not supposed to be funny. That's what your speech is for!' Neither of us have been married before, but I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to roast your fiancée at the altar."

Standing by the couple's side during the ceremony — which was put together by Lady Liberty Events' Dalit Cohen — were their bridal party. On Henderson's side, he had his brothers and two of his best friends. On Simmons' side, she had her older brother, Nick, 34, and several of her cousins and friends. "It's a good mix of people," she says.

For their wedding attire, the women in the bridal party got to "pick what they wanted," Simmons says. "I sent them a website, and I was like, 'All of these dresses are super nice. If you can find a dress you think you can wear again, get that one. There are no colors we're going by. I just want everyone to be comfortable.'"

sophie simmons/Instagram
Sophie Simmons and James Henderson. sophie simmons/Instagram

All of the men in the bridal party — with the exception of Henderson in Tom Ford — wore black suits rented from The Black Tux.

"My fiancé chose to wear a Tom Ford suit because he saw a picture of David Beckham in one," Simmons says. "I was like, 'Well, it's on David Beckham, so anything would look nice.' But it is a beautiful suit, and it looks great on my fiancé."

So much so that even Gene started looking for a Tom Ford suit of his own after seeing Henderson in his. "He saw James' Tom Ford and was like, 'That's nice,'" she says.

After exchanging vows, Simmons and Henderson took their first steps as a married couple down the aisle to "First Day of My Life" by the groom's favorite band, Bright Eyes.

RELATED GALLERY: All the Celebrity Weddings of 2023

The couple then joined their guests for a meal catered by Haute Chefs LA at cozy, intimate table set-ups that were decorated to play off the natural beauty of the space. The menu featured some of their favorite foods, including pastas, pizzas, spicy chicken sandwiches, salads, and vegetables.

"My fiancé and I had been to a couple weddings, and by the time dinner came, we were so starving," Simmons says. "I'm vegan, so there's usually no option for me, and there's never enough food for him. I was like, 'The one thing I want to make sure at my wedding is no one should be hungry.' So at every point of our ceremony, there's snacks, and we wanted it to be stuff we actually liked. We're not a very fancy couple, so it goes with our vibe."

As for Henderson, "all he wanted was an ice bucket of Diet Coke and the spicy chicken sandwiches," Simmons says. "I was like, 'It's yours, babe. Whatever you want.'"

Sophie Simmons.

During dinner, the couple had the aisle converted into a movie lounge so that they could watch films by David Fincher — Henderson's favorite director — with their guests. "David Fincher is not super wedding-y since his films are pretty dark, but it's our wedding," Simmons says.

Other Fincher nods at the ceremony included Fight Club pink soap in the restrooms, posters printed with the couple's Fight Club rules (which asked guests not to take photos from their cellphones during the evening since Madison Aycoth Photography & Shark Pig Cinematography would be capturing every moment) and a groom's cake shaped like a box, referencing the famous "What's in the box?" scene from SEVEN. Inside the groom's cake was another cake modeled after Henderson's head.

In addition to the groom's cake, they had a multi-tiered coconut flavor floral wedding cake made by The Butter End.

In between eating, DJ Wade Crescent kept guests dancing. Simmons also surprised her dad with a song she had written for him for their father-daughter dance, which she titled "Daddy's Girl."

"Since I was little, I've written my parents songs for gifts," she says. "I wrote him a Father's Day song years ago, and he hasn't stopped playing it. So, I was like, 'All right, it's time for a new song.'"

As the night came to a close, guests were able to take home donuts, hot chocolate and the disposable cameras they used throughout the night.

"We know it's nontraditional, but we just wanted to walk down the aisle, have dinner under the stars with everyone we love, and then get back to it being just us in our honeymoon suite," Simmons says. "We didn't want to be too tired to actually enjoy being married that first day."

Gene Simmons of Kiss on stage at the Tons of Rock festival on June 27, 2019 in Oslo, Norway.
Gene Simmons. Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

On Thursday, the celebrations will continue with the couple hosting 250 of their family and friends for a speakeasy-style reception in L.A., during which Simmons will also wear a dress by Galia Lahav.

"The reception party is the big moment," Simmons teases. "We're going to party until the sun comes up."

Then, on Friday, they'll have a brunch for all of their friends who flew in for the party from overseas. Stylist Marco Rodriguez is styling Simmons for the brunch, and he also styled her for their rehearsal dinner.

After years together, Simmons says she and Henderson knew they were ready to take this next step in their relationship during the early months of the COVID pandemic.

"I thought if he gets sick or if I get sick, we can't go in the hospital unless we're married," she says. "We were like maybe it's something we should consider: we're getting older, and we want to start a family in a couple of years. If something happens, it'll all be squared away."

After getting engaged in Zurich, Switzerland, in July, Simmons said her dad suggested they get married before "the end of the year."

"We tried, but it was literally impossible," she says. "So February was the first we could make it happen. In just six months, everything fell together."

Simmons says the moment she saw her Galia Lahav ceremony dress she was drawn to it, and once she tried it on in-person, it was a done deal.

"I was like, 'This is it,'" she says. "I knew it immediately. We tried on a bunch just for fun afterwards, but I was like, 'This is my dress.' It fit like a glove, and it was exactly how I thought it would be in my mind."

Sophie Simmons. Jason LaVeris/Getty

In between wedding planning, Simmons also kicked her health regimen into high-gear with her trainer Jill Forster at Body By Simone and Dr. Jessica Cho at Wellness Century City.

"I'm kind of thankful that there was such a short timeline because it made me do all the things health-wise that I was putting off for a really long time," Simmons says.

Like their wedding, Simmons and Henderson's love story came together in the most unlikely of ways. After a workout at a Los Angeles gym in 2014, Simmons and her cousin — who served as her maid of honor during the ceremony — grabbed a coffee at the café next door, where Henderson was her waiter.

"I was like, 'Damn! Of course the day I look like crap, the waiter's really hot,'" she recalls with a laugh. "My cousin convinced me to write my number on our receipt, and so I did it and ran out. She then said, 'Wait, how will he know if it was you or me?' She's blonde, and I'm brunette, so I ran back and wrote, 'Brunette.' Then ran out again."

Later that day, Henderson called, while Simmons was at dinner with her cousin. She told him, "If you're really serious about taking me out, you'll come to dinner right now." He showed.

"He came and hung out with us and ate vegan food," she says. "I was like, 'He's a really cool guy.' We've been together ever since."

Simmons adds: "Not a lot of people meet when they're 20 and stay together... It's tough, and it's a lot of work, but we're ready."

As they head into this next chapter, Simmons suspects not much will change between her and Henderson.

"Everyone's been telling me that being married is slightly different, but we have dogs together, and we live together," she says. "He has his job, which is no longer a waiter, by the way, and I have mine. We have our separate lives, which is what I think makes our life together work."

Though the couple is waiting to do their big honeymoon in the summer, they'll go on a "mini-moon" in Maui for three days, right after all the wedding festivities have commenced.

Related Articles