Brian Kelley and Brittney Marie Cole's Whimsical Wedding Photo
01/04/2014 AT 09:00 AM EST
"If you know us, you know that we really just dance to our own beat," Kelley, 28, tells PEOPLE exclusively. "We thought, 'Let's do it our way.' "
And so it was – the pair tied the knot at their new Nashville home on Dec. 16 in an intimate sunset ceremony in front of 40 guests (including his Florida Georgia Line bandmate Tyler Hubbard).
After the nuptials – in which the couple exchanged gold bands passed on to them by Kelley's parents – the newlyweds and their guests enjoyed a tapas-style dinner in a renovated barn on the 32-acre property, followed by drinking and dancing inside the house.
"We partied and celebrated, but it was intimate," the "Cruise" singer tells PEOPLE. "We focused on each other."
"There was a lot of country music, of course," Cole, 23, shares. "But we also wanted songs my 84-year-old godmother would know."
The bride, a psychology student at the University of Georgia, found her short, lace wedding gown on Etsy. "It's a dream dress," she says of the long-sleeve off-the-shoulder design, which she paired with a feathered headband.
The couple decided to get married earlier this year after seven months together.
"There was no official proposal or exchanging of rings," Kelley admits. "We had just fallen in love, and I knew I couldn't live without her. It sounds like a terrible cheesy movie, but when you know, you know! With her, I just really wanted nothing more than to be married."
Reporting by GILLIAN TELLING
For more photos from the wedding (including one of Kelley and Hubbard!), pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.