“The finale was on a Wednesday,” she tells PEOPLE, “and by Friday, I was back in Kentucky for a rehearsal dinner, and I was married on Saturday. It was a whirlwind week.”
Bland, 23, tied the knot with Jared Hines in a traditional, relaxed ceremony in the chapel at Campbellsville University in Kentucky. “I wasn’t a bridezilla,” says Bland. “I was pretty easy to please. All that mattered to me was that I was getting married.”
Not that the details didn’t matter. About 275 guests attended the ceremony. The couple had seven bridesmaids wearing light pink and seven groomsmen in gray suits. The flowers were white.
“Everything was so airy and dainty,” Bland tells PEOPLE. “That’s the opposite of what I normally do, but I really wanted it to be light and pretty.”
Bland chose an off-the-rack strapless gown from Oleg Cassini. “People always said you’d know when you found the right dress,” she says. “I had tried on gowns all day, literally 25 dresses, and this was the last one I put on, and I fell in love with it. It’s simple and timeless.”
Rather than going to a reception hall, Bland chose to have the dinner on the grounds of her aunt’s farm. Guests dined on spinach stuffed pork, Hawaiian chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and string beans.
“I didn’t make it a country theme,” she says, “but I wanted it to be outdoors. Just laid back and casual.” The ceremony ended with the release of several Chinese lanterns and a fireworks display.
Bland’s one requirement: that their photographer, Malicote Photography, would take a lot of photos. “That was the one thing that I went overbudget to do,” she says. “Even if I’m losing my memory when I’m 80 years old, at least I’ll be able to look at pictures of my wedding to remember it.”
Bland, a former Miss Kentucky Teen USA, admits to having some nerves on the morning of the wedding.
“I had some butterflies,” she says, “but once I got to the church, we did a first look where Jared and I could be together and have a quiet moment alone. It was very emotional. At that moment, I knew that everything was going to be perfect. And it was.”