Inside Chris Lane and Lauren Bushnell's Wedding: Tears, a Surprise Kiss and One Crazy Bouquet Toss
"I was just on cloud nine the entire time," says Lauren Bushnell. "I don't think I stopped smiling once throughout the night"
Bachelor alum Lauren Bushnell and country star Chris Lane both predicted she’d be the weeper at their Nashville wedding on Oct. 25. But Lane turned out to be the one who broke down during their self-written vows.
“I didn’t even get to finish because I had already gotten choked up a little bit and then I regained composure and then started losing it again,” Lane, 34, tells PEOPLE. “So I just went ahead and ended wherever I was on my sheet, and I just said, ‘I love you, baby.’”
The rush of emotions definitely caught the usually even-keeled Lane off guard. “I think I was just very happy in the moment, and I meant it from my heart,” the “I Don’t Know About You” singer says, “and she looked so beautiful, and having both of our families there, I guess it made me a little emotional.”
But Lane still wasn’t finished with going off script: He then spontaneously leaned in and locked lips with Bushnell — long before the appointed “you may now kiss the bride” moment. “That was an accident,” he says, “but that’s out of habit because we kiss each other so much.”
Bushnell, 29, loved the bonus smooch, and during an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, she tells her new husband so: “It was cute. It was almost like you were looking for approval after your vows. You were like, ‘Did I do good?’”
The newlyweds were side by side when they spoke to PEOPLE less than 48 hours after they’d exchanged vows, with Bushnell reporting that “we might be the slightest bit tired, but we’re still very excited and happy.”
For her, there was only one minor glitch on their special day. “I walked down the aisle a little too fast,” she says. “Maybe that’s because I was so excited. I just couldn’t wait.”
Not even Nashville’s rainy day could dampen her sunny mood. “I was very set on having an indoor venue for that reason,” Bushnell says. “It actually made for a very emotional, beautiful day. And I’m from Oregon, so it made me feel right at home with the rain.”
Lane surprised Bushnell with his marriage proposal at the Portland-area home of Bushnell’s parents back in June, which gave the couple only four months to plan the ceremony and reception. But event planner Ninth & Everett helped make sure every detail of the evening wedding went off without a hitch.
Bushnell spent her afternoon getting ready with the help of her sister and maid of honor, Mollie, as well as her mother and Lane’s mother. “That was probably the most special time of the day with my mom and sister,” she says, “because we just got to hang out and get ready together, and they helped me get in my dress.”
It was a moment Bushnell had long anticipated. The stunningly sleek silk gown with dramatic train was created, with the bride’s guidance, by Nashville designer Olia Zavozina. “I felt so good in it,” Bushnell says. “The dress is such a statement in itself, but it just fit me so well, and I was so comfortable. I felt like I was wearing a slip dress.”
The big reveal to Lane arrived during a photo session before the ceremony — but first he had to wait to turn around as she entered the room. “The suspense was killing me,” Lane recalls. “Lauren had kept her dress a secret the whole time, so I never had a chance to see anything. Just seeing her in it was even better than I thought it would be.”
The emotional ceremony segued into a cocktail hour, which was followed by dinner and dancing, all held at event venue 14TENN. Once their officiant, Dr. Clayton King, introduced “Chris and Lauren Lane” to the 160 family members and friends who’d gathered, the bride and groom were ready to celebrate.
Also attending: four of Bushnell’s fellow alums from The Bachelor Season 20, Amanda Stanton, Jen Saviano, and twins Haley Ferguson and Emily Ferguson. Bushnell is the first among them to walk down the aisle, and she was thrilled to give her friends a reason for a mini-reunion.
“It’s been a long time since Amanda, Haley, Emily and I have all been together,” Bushnell says. “Of course Jen lives in Nashville, so I see her pretty frequently. But it’s crazy how quickly time passes and the next thing you know, it’s been a year or two since we’ve all been together. I’m so thankful that Amanda, Emily and Haley all wanted to fly quite a long way to be here.”
TN Event Designs transformed the ceremony space into an intimate dining area for the formal dinner to be served. The Beyond Details-catered menu featured roast chicken, beef filets, Parmesan risotto, asparagus and strawberry shortcake for dessert. The meal was paired with wines from Oswego Hills Vineyard and Winery, located near Bushnell’s family home in Oregon.
After toasts from Mollie Bushnell and Cory Lane, the best man and Lane’s identical twin brother, the couple stepped out for their first dance, to “Big, Big Plans,” the song Lane wrote for his marriage proposal. He had re-recorded a special acoustic version for the romantic moment.
“I was just singing every word,” Bushnell says. “Every single lyric is so special to me.”
The couple chose the first verse of Rascal Flatts‘ “My Wish,” for the father-daughter dance and the second verse for the mother-son dance. During the song’s final chorus, Lane beckoned his bride and her dad back out on the floor for a group dance.
Though their social media followers know Lane and Bushnell love being playful with each other, they report they were on their best behavior for the cake-cutting. But maybe the baked confection, a classic white-cake flavor with salted caramel filling created by Dessert Designs By Leland, was too good to waste on a cake smash.
“Lauren did put a little bit of cake on my face,” says Lane. “Other than that I gobbled it down.”
Perhaps the most high-spirited moment of the evening arrived during Bushnell’s bouquet toss. As Emily Ferguson successfully lunged for the prize, she also accidentally tackled the bride to the ground.
“Yes, Emily was so excited that she caught the bouquet,” Bushnell says, laughing. “Honestly, it was so much fun. Needless to say, I think she wants to get married.”
The night ended with the arrival of a Shake Shack food truck, which served burgers and fries to feed the appetite that guests worked up on the dance floor. Even then, Bushnell found little time to eat amid all her excitement and visiting.
And that’s why, when the couple finally crawled into their wedding bed around 1 a.m., Lane found himself sharing it with something unexpected: his bride’s takeout cheeseburger.
“Yes, it’s true,” Bushnell says with a giggle. “I ended the night eating Shake Shack in bed. Chris did not partake with me, so I just ate my cheeseburger next to him.”
The next morning, the newlyweds’ first order of business was picking up their 7-month-old mixed-breed hound, Cooper, from his doggy hotel. Bushnell was tickled when the pup bounded into the car and Lane gleefully announced, “Buddy! Mom and Dad are married!”
“So he literally is our son, needless to say,” she adds.
The couple had initially planned on a short getaway after the wedding, but they decided they were road-weary after recently returning from Lane’s 12 days of concerts in eight European countries. Bushnell accompanied Lane as he supported Brad Paisley‘s sold-out world tour.
“It was one of those things where we both agreed that a honeymoon at this time sounded like being home in our own bed with our dog,” Bushnell says. “So we decided to stay put and then we’ll take our honeymoon at some point once time allows.”
They also have yet another big day that’s fast approaching: In mid-November they’ll be moving out of their downtown Nashville apartment and into their first house, also in the city.
In the meantime, they both say they’ll be savoring their wedding memories.
“Honestly,” says Lane, “it was the best day of my life.”
Bushnell says she surprised herself that she was the one who didn’t cry — but she now realizes there was a reason.
“I was just on cloud nine the entire time,” she says. “I don’t think I stopped smiling once throughout the night, so it was an emotional night, but just in a different way. I thought I was going to be shedding tears left and right, but I think I was just so overjoyed and so happy. I was smiling ear to ear the entire night.”
For more on Lauren Bushnell and Chris Lane’s wedding day, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.