So much love. It was impossible to ignore in 2011, with 10 country artists saying “I do” everywhere from Las Vegas to Connecticut, Tennessee to Texas and Antigua to Puerto Rico. There were first marriages, second marriages, a same-sex marriage and even a few same-genre marriages. Most were small, intimate affairs, but one was a star-studded event, full of day-after stories and tweets and full media coverage.
The most-publicized wedding of the year took place May 14 when Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton tied the knot near San Antonio. The ceremony and reception took place at the 125-acre Don Strange Ranch. The couple exchanged vows on a cowhide rug under an arch made of antlers in a lantern-lit barn. She wore her mother’s wedding dress and Casadei cowboy boots.
The groom was styled by Trish Townsend (who is also Carrie Underwood’s stylist) and wore an Ermenegildo Zegna suit jacket and vest, a Sartori tie, Wrangler jeans and a pair of Lucchese boots that Neal McCoy gave him. Shelton’s groomsmen wore Scully Western jackets, Joseph Abboud shirts, Wrangler jeans and Old Gringo boots they received from the groom himself.
McCoy was the official wedding singer, although I think everyone there took a turn at the microphone.
But Lambert and Shelton are just two of the country artists who are celebrating the holidays for the first time as husband and wife this year. And here they are, in chronological order:
Shania Twain/Frédéric Thiébaud: There were only 40 guests at the sunset ceremony when Twain married the businessman in Rincón, Puerto Rico , on Jan. 1. Thiébaud was attired in a black shirt and white suit. Twain wore a white dress with a black sash that she found in a small boutique in Lausanne, Switzerland, plus Lorraine Schwartz jewelry and Calvin Klein shoes. Her son Eja walked her down the aisle.
Kellie Pickler/Kyle Jacobs: The former American Idol finalist married songwriter Kyle Jacobs in Antigua on Jan. 1. Who was there when they eloped to the West Indies ? Well, let’s see. There was Pickler. Jacobs. The minister. And God. How’s that for an intimate ceremony? It was exactly the kind of wedding the couple said they wanted. (Beverly Hills-based celeb wedding photographer Joe Buissink was there, too. But, still, it sounds very, very intimate.)
LeAnn Rimes/Eddie Cibrian: The singer and actor exchanged vows on April 22 in Malibu, Calif. She wore a Reem Acra gown, and he wore a Ermenegildo Zegna tuxedo-like outfit. The wedding took the 35 guests by surprise when they arrived at the private California estate with the understanding they were attending a more routine social event. Once there, they watched Rimes and Cibrian exchange vows.
Chely Wright/Lauren Blitzer: The singer-songwriter, best known for her No. 1 hit, “Single White Female,” married the social activist on Aug. 20 in Connecticut. The brides wore long wedding gowns by J. Crew Bridal. The two women didn’t wear veils because they reportedly like their hair too much. They were married by a rabbi and a reverend in front of 200 guests at Blitzer’s aunt’s private home. Connecticut is one of the first states to allow and recognize same-sex marriages.
Randy Houser/Jessa Lee Yantz: The singer-songwriters embarked on their most significant collaboration on Sept. 2 in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic . Only 20 family members and close friends were there, and the couple were married by their close friend Rob Hatch in a sunset ceremony. They wrote their own vows and sang an a cappella version of Lulu Belle & Scotty’s country classic “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” at the ceremony.
Sunny Sweeney/Jeff Hellmer: The Texas-born singer-songwriter married law enforcement officer Jeff Hellmer on Nov. 11 in Las Vegas. The couple and a small group of friends went to the Vegas institution — A Little White Chapel — to say their vows. But this was not an impulse decision fueled by a night of gambling and drinking. Sweeney had even talked quietly about their impending marriage a few days earlier when she was at the Big Machine Records party following the CMA Awards in Nashville. The couple reportedly wrote their own vows, with Hellmer crafting his from some well-known country lyrics.
Jessica Andrews/Marcel Chagnon: Andrews married singer-songwriter Marcel (who goes professionally by his first name only) on Nov. 11. The couple kept the wedding private, and not too many details were revealed. The two songwriters make their home in Nashville.
Jennifer Nettles/Justin Miller: The Sugarland vocalist married entrepreneur Justin Miller in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains on Nov. 26. She wore an Alexander McQueen gown for the sunset ceremony at a chapel in the mountain’s foothills. (Miller is the one in bed in Sugarland’s 2006 single “Want To.”) The wedding was small, without a huge celebrity and/or media presence. But Nettle’s Sugarland partner Kristian Bush was definitely there.