Officially engaged on June 16, Chris Lane and Lauren Bushnell took just four months to plan their autumn wedding. The timing was Lane’s preference. “Fall is my favorite time of the year,” he told PEOPLE.
Bushnell revealed she initially toyed with the idea of eloping, but Lane said he told her, “You’ll look back one day and wish that you had done a wedding.” In the end, Bushnell was grateful he talked her into the formal ceremony and celebration. “I’m glad that we had a day to remember with all the people that we love,” she said.
TIED UP WITH A BOW
YES TO THE DRESS
The 29-year-old bride huddled with designer Olia Zavozina to create a simple yet stunning silk gown with a dramatic train. “The dress is such a statement in itself, but I was so comfortable,” Bushnell said. “I felt like I was wearing a slip dress.”
Zavozina was at the wedding to help Bushnell maneuver with her train. “And then, thankfully, after the ceremony,” Bushnell said, “she created a bustle so I was able to move around a little bit easier.”
Bushnell’s Sarah Flint pumps were handmade in Italy and stamped with the couple’s wedding date. Her wedding band was studded with pavé diamonds, and her engagement ring featured a 3.5-carat emerald-cut diamond. Lane chose a simple gold band.
For her wedding jewelry, Bushnell went minimalist with pearl studs and a pearl bracelet.
Bushnell expected to be the weepy one during their self-written vows, but it was Lane who broke down. “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,” he said. “So I just went ahead and ended wherever I was on my sheet, and I just said, ‘I love you, baby.’”
The officiant, Dr. Clayton King, is a South Carolina pastor and author whose books have had a strong influence on Lane.
SEALED WITH A KISS
The couple lingered on their liplock at the end of the ceremony, but the first kiss actually arrived earlier — an impromptu smooch after Lane broke down during his vows. “So I got two kisses,” the bride said, with no complaint.
The wedding’s “secret garden” style extended to the formal dinner afterward. Guests feasted on a Beyond Details-catered menu featuring roast chicken, beef filets, Parmesan risotto, asparagus and strawberry shortcake for dessert.
The newlyweds soaked in the applause after being introduced as “Chris and Lauren Lane.” Sharing her husband’s last name “just solidifies that we are one unit now,” the bride said. “And I’m excited! ‘Lauren Lane’ does have a nice ring to it.”
“I feel like I’m the luckiest guy in the world to be marrying her,” Lane said of his bride, and she had identical sentiments: “I feel like the luckiest girl.”
Reflecting on his life partner, Bushnell added that “he just makes me a better person. I know that sounds kind of cliché, but he truly does. Every aspect of him, in my opinion, is perfect.”
Lane’s identical twin brother, Cory, was his best man, giving him the rights to offer a toast at the dinner. Bushnell’s younger sister, Mollie (seated to the left of the bride), served as maid of honor, and she also toasted the couple.
Bachelor alum Emily Ferguson reacted in shock after her assertive lunge during the bouquet toss resulted in her accidentally tackling the bride to the ground. “Emily was so excited that she caught the bouquet,” Bushnell said, laughing. “Honestly, it was so much fun. Needless to say, I think she wants to get married.”
LET THEM EAT CAKE
The traditional white wedding cake featured a salted caramel buttercream filling. Created by Dessert Designs By Leland, it proved to be too good to waste on a cake smash. “Lauren did put a little bit of cake on my face,” Lane reported. “Other than that I gobbled it down.”
SO HAPPY TOGETHER
Lane and Bushnell have no doubt they’ve met their lifetime match. “I truly feel like God specifically made everything about her for me,” Lane said.
“He is truly my best friend,” said Bushnell, “but also the man that I love. I could not feel more grateful.”
SHALL WE DANCE?
For their first dance, the couple chose “Big, Big Plans,” the song that Lane wrote especially for his proposal back in June. He re-recorded a special acoustic version for the wedding reception. “I was just singing every word,” Bushnell said. “Every single lyric is so special to me.”
BURGERS AND FRIES
Under an umbrella for Nashville’s rainy night, the newlyweds got a sparkler sendoff from their guests. Next up: a move from their apartment to their first house. “We have a lot to look forward to,” Lane said. “There’s just so many firsts that we’ll experience. Hopefully kids — just the whole nine yards. I want all of that with her. And I can’t wait.”