HARDY and his fiancée Caleigh Ryan have officially tied the knot. The newfound husband and wife got married on Saturday (Oct. 29) in a short and sweet ceremony at a stunning new venue called Diamond Creek Farms in Nashville, Tenn.
They wed in front of 350 lucky guests.
Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Lauren Alaina, Devin Dawson, Mitchell Tenpenny, Lindsay Ell, Travis Denning, RaeLynn, ERNEST, Renee Blair, Jameson Rodgers, Morgan Wallen and more were among those who attended the wedding day festivities. And HARDY says each person in attendance holds a special place in his heart.
“I could have invited a lot more people, but we wanted people there that know us, and love us,” HARDY told People in an exclusive interview.
On hand to officiate their wedding was HARDY’s good friend, Smith Ahnquist. According to the 2022 ACM Awards Songwriter of the Year, the two met at a songwriting session.
“He’s a songwriter, and he’s one of our favorite people. He’s very strong in his faith, and we wanted that to be a big part of who would marry us,” HARDY explained of his buddy, to which Ryan added, “When we asked him, he was so nervous. He’s so cute, though. He is such a great guy, and we just knew he’d be such a solid choice.”
Along with bringing meaning to who would marry them, the wedding ceremony was filled with personal touches ranging from a caramel cake in honor of HARDY’s grandmother who loved the flavor to what the bride and groom incorporated for their “something, old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition to how guests were served at the wedding.
“I love those little family ties. I’ve never been passed down an heirloom like that before, so it really means a lot to me,” Ryan shared of the aquamarine ring she donned for her, “something blue,” which belonged to her late great-aunt Rosie.
As for her something old, Ryan was given HARDY’s baby bonnet — which his mom brought over ahead of the big day. Her grandmother’s lucky penny was her “something borrowed” while her dress was her “something new.”
And the dress wasn’t just new. It was custom-made to match Ryan’s style and personality.
“We go to a lot of awards shows where you get to wear beautiful dresses, so it really was about finding my wedding dress versus just another beautiful dress,” Ryan, 25, who worked with Naama & Anat and Haute Bridal to make her dream gown come to life, said. “That was my biggest obstacle. So I ended up creating a dress from scratch.”
“She did a fabulous job,” Ryan said of her designer. “I love it. It came out so beautifully, and I’m so excited about it. We were playing around with the idea of a second dress, but I just love my gown so much that I want to wear it the whole time.”
HARDY, meanwhile, marked his special day while dressed in a suit that he accessorized with a bow tie and his late, great-uncle’s custom gold cufflinks.
Another special sentimental moment that made their ceremony different from many others is HARDY, and his now wife refrained from saying their vows aloud to the party. Instead, they kept those words for themselves and read them to each other in an intimate setting.
“We’re going to write our own vows and do them privately,” HARDY told the outlet ahead of the ceremony. “We want the ceremony to be like 30 seconds long. We just want to have a big party for everybody. I’m trying to avoid having a complete meltdown in front of everyone, and I don’t think I could get through vows at the altar, and she’s the same. The vows will be for us. It doesn’t have to be for everybody else.”
HARDY and Ryan enjoyed a first dance as husband and wife to Journey’s “Faithfully” – a special song for them as they heard it at a time when the singer/songwriter was still navigating his music career. HARDY was at a point in life where he wasn’t sure if he could pursue his career and a relationship full-time.
“We put it on, and I teared up going down the road. I got choked up for like 30 seconds. It was at the time I was getting ready to sign a record deal, and I was a little apprehensive about it — I loved her so much and was a little worried at the time about how I was gonna be able to balance that,” HARDY explained. “There’s a line in ‘Faithfully’ that says, ‘They say that the road ain’t no place to start a family,’ and that line just shook me because I was so worried. Now, years later, we’ve been able to balance all that stuff. But that was just such a huge moment for me because how hard that line hit me assured me how much I loved her. I wanted to always make sure that she came before any of that.”
Once the party commenced, folks enjoyed music by a DJ and live music by Mustache The Band – a group the married couple knew from HARDY’s home state of Mississippi, where Ryan received her bachelor’s degree. Attendees could receive wedding-themed tattoos, munch on Southern and Italian-styled appetizers, and were served cocktails by two mini donkeys provided by Black Burro Events.
“It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Ryan said of the animals. “I’m so obsessed with it. It was one of the first things I paid for and booked immediately.”
But, the guests and bride and groom didn’t stay at the Diamond Creek Farm all night. Later, they moved the party to Luke Bryan’s 32 Bridge on Broadway – something that took a bit of persuasion for HARDY.
“I’m biting the bullet, and we’re going to Broadway, which is something I don’t do,” HARDY said with Ryan adding, “I love Broadway! I don’t care who makes fun of me. To get Michael to go down there is literally an act of God. I feel so lucky. This is like a wedding present.”
HARDY and Ryan began dating in the spring of 2018 after sparking up a friendship online. Their initial meeting took place at his show at the Lyric in Oxford, Mississippi, where he locked eyes with her on a balcony.
“Once we met each other, there was no one else,” Ryan said. “We never entertained anyone else. It was just so easy.”
The pair returned to that same spot in August of 2021, where HARDY got down on a knee. For their Honeymoon, HARDY and Ryan plan to fly to Thailand and Vietnam.
“We’re so excited,” Ryan said.
Check out some Instagrammed photos and videos from Mr. and Mrs. Hardy’s wedding below!