Anthem for 'I Do'

updated 09/08/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/08/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Little Big Town's first hint that their new single could be a hit: a pair of "Little White Church"-obsessed toddlers. Though too young to really understand the lyrics, Phillip Sweet's 2-year-old daughter Penelopi and Kimberly Schlapman's 3-year-old Daisy are devoted fans. "Penelopi can sing it from top to bottom," Sweet says. "We'll get into the car and she'll ask for it until I get it on-and she'll be singing and dancing in her little seat."

The song's cheeky "put a ring on it" message has struck a chord with older listeners too. "It's an anthem for girls everywhere!" notes Karen Fairchild.

Fairchild first jotted down the song title as she was driving around Nashville. "Little white churches are on almost every corner," she says. The bluegrass-infused chorus came to her later-in the shower. "Someone once told me, 'When you're dating a boy, don't wash and fold his clothes and cook too much for him-he'll fall for all of that and not for you,' " Fairchild says of the song's inspiration. "It happens a lot. Us girls just need to make them work a tiny bit harder!" "It's so true," adds Sweet. "Sometimes you've got to make the guy chase you."

The band gathered at Schlapman's house to write with producer Wayne Kirkpatrick and banged out the rest of the song (off their upcoming album The Reason Why) in about four hours, aided by a little Southern hospitality. "Kimberly is the best hostess ever," says Fairchild. "She'll have coffee and pastries ready. It's like being at Paula Deen's! And when Wayne threw out the 'chicken and gravy' line, we just fell about laughing."

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