As the first rays of early morning light glimmered over the ocean, Jake Owen broke into a wide grin watching his barefoot bride-to-be, Lacey Buchanan, walk toward him across the beach. "He was beaming, and she looked like she was floating over the sand," a guest says. For a minute, "I felt like everything stopped," Lacey says. "I looked up and saw Jake smiling at me and felt such peace knowing we're always going to be together."
The picture-perfect moment in Jake's hometown of Vero Beach on May 7 was like something from a movie-or, perhaps, a music video-fitting for a couple whose romance began on-camera. The pair met three years ago on the set of Jake's "Eight Second Ride" video. "From the day I met her, I told all my buddies I was going to marry her," says Jake, 30. Lacey was less certain: "I could tell he was in a bachelor frame of mind," she recalls. They kept in touch, and when Jake asked her to be in his "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" video, "there was something different about him-he knew what he wanted," says Lacey, 22.
And once he knew, he didn't waste time. On April 7 Jake proposed onstage in his hometown in the middle of a charity concert. Immediately, "I had a feeling of comfort," he says. Their brief engagement was "just perfect for us," says Jake, who faces a summer away from the couple's Nashville home while opening for Kenny Chesney
and Tim McGraw
's Brothers of the Sun tour. "I gave her a ring because I wanted to marry her. We could have done it the next day, as far as I was concerned. We're laid-back people, so why add stress?"
Just 25 guests (family only) watched Lacey walk down the aisle to Pachelbel's Canon in D, wearing an Amsale gown she found on the designer's website. "I just didn't have time to go to a store!" she says. "But I fell in love with it right away. I wanted something that looked like my mom's wedding dress-simple, elegant-but that I could walk in the sand with." After the 10-minute ceremony, officiated by Jake's uncle, the party moved to the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa for a champagne toast and brunch. As the newlyweds danced to "Can't Help Falling in Love," guests nibbled on smoked salmon crostini, omelets and buttermilk pancakes. By 10:30, the couple had set off on their honeymoon and guests were taking home caramel- and chocolate-dipped candy apple favors.
For Jake, the day's simplicity emphasized the true meaning of marriage. "My parents have been married for 30 years and my grandparents for almost 60," he says. "I got to witness the beauty of their relationships and learn from them. I want to reflect that in my marriage. I want to be someone my wife relies on and leans on. I want to be that man for his wife."