The morning of her wedding, Carrie Underwood
was the picture of a relaxed bride-to-be, primping with her bridal party while her Canadian hockey player fiancé, Mike Fisher, played golf with his groomsmen. Her one worry: that she wouldn't keep it together during the wedding. "My sister told me if I feel like tearing up, say the Pledge of Allegiance," says Underwood, 27. "I must have said it 20 times that night!"
Hers weren't the only eyes brimming on July 10, when she stepped into the white tent set up on the lawn of Georgia's Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation resort as a string quartet played Wagner's "Bridal Chorus." "I was sad because she's my baby," says the singer's mom, Carole. "But I always said a prayer she'd find the right person, and I know she did."
Wearing a Chantilly lace and silk organza Monique Lhuillier gown and a diamond tiara (Fisher's wedding gift to her), Underwood "looked stunning," says Fisher, 30, a center for the Ottawa Senators who met Underwood through mutual friends at one of her concerts in 2008. "I was thanking God for her, for that moment. It's something I'll never forget."
At the end of a ceremony that included the couple's favorite scripture passages, traditional vows and an eagerly awaited pronouncement of husband and wife ("I was like, 'Just say it, just say it!'" says Underwood), Fisher bent down to kiss his bride, and their 250 guests erupted in applause. The only objector? Underwood's dog Ace-who, dressed in a Swarovski crystal-encrusted pink tuxedo, had trotted down the aisle with the ring bearer and flower girl-"was barking at us like mad," says Underwood. Adds Fisher: "We were laughing, everyone was laughing, and Ace was barking."
Afterward guests moved to the reception held inside the hotel ballroom, which was decorated in decidedly feminine style. "Mike was like, 'There's pink everywhere!'" says Underwood with a laugh. "There was pink lighting and pink things hanging from the ceiling, flower balls and ribbon and sparkles." While the guests nibbled on sushi and crispy risotto lollipop hors d'oeuvres, Underwood changed from her "girlie, dainty" gown to a strapless Lhuillier cocktail dress. "The wedding dress was huge," she says. "I wanted to get my boogie on, so I had to change."
For the couple's first dance, Underwood surprised her groom by getting contemporary Christian singer Brandon Heath to perform "Love Never Fails," a song that's "really special to us," she says. "They are just madly in love," says their wedding planner Jayne Bubis. "They didn't leave each other's sides all night."
Certainly not on the dance floor after a deejay started spinning a mix of country and pop music, from Lionel Richie to Guns N' Roses. "Everybody was dancing and acting the fool," says Underwood, who celebrated with her new husband into the wee hours. "The night exceeded all the hopes I had. It was a great party."