February 13, 2012 12:00 PM

Moments before Danny Gokey and Leyicet Peralta were set to say “I do,” they thought they’d lost their wedding rings. Turned out it was a false alarm (their photographer was shooting the jewelry), but the scare prompted them to have the bands tied tightly to the ring pillow. Maybe too tightly. “I had to break the strings, and they went flying everywhere,” says Gokey, 31, of his altar mishap. “I was laughing so hard!”

And that wasn’t the only unique moment at the Jan. 29 ceremony in Coral Gables, Fla., where Peralta, 25, a model, wore pink Crocs underneath her gown. “My wife’s aunt is so traditional, she joked the earth would swallow Leyicet for that,” says Gokey. As guests ate Cuban-style food and chocolate cake, the American Idol season 8 alum sang Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” to his bride. Next up? They’ll join fans on a fund-raising cruise for Sophia’s Heart, the kids’ charity he founded in honor of his first wife, Sophia (she died of heart-disease complications in 2008). “Now there’s love and hope,” says Gokey. “You’re happy again when you find your soulmate.”

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