"I was washing buses for money when she said yes," Deaton tells PEOPLE. "So that shows how much faith she has in me. She loves me unconditionally"

By Tomás Mier
September 22, 2019 12:30 PM
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Credit: Katherine McQueen/Katherine Joy Photography

King Calaway’s Chris Deaton and fiancée Molli Benson just said: “I Do!”

The band’s drummer and fiancée tied the knot Saturday at a romantic, candlelit ceremony at the Homestead Manor in Thompson Station, Tennessee — and Deaton’s bandmates were his groomsmen.

Deaton, 26, sported a “basically James Bond” tuxedo while Benson, 25, stunned in a Sarah Seven wedding dress with rose gold accessories on their big night.

“As soon as I saw the dress on me, I knew it was the one,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I think I knew because I was excited for Chris to see me in it.”

Credit: Katherine McQueen/Katherine Joy Photography

Deaton’s five bandmates — Caleb Miller, Simon Dumas, Jordan Harvey, Chad Michael Jervis and Austin Luther — stood by his side as groomsmen, and Benson says the group “are family now.”

“I wanted to ask the band guys in a special way to be groomsmen in the wedding, but I also wanted it to happen organically,” Deaton says about asking the group to join him on his wedding day. “We had all picked up guitars and were just laughing and having a good time. It just felt like the right moment. All of them flipped out. Chad Michael Jervis bawled. It was a great moment.”

And the rest of the band was ecstatic when they found out, too.

Credit: Katherine McQueen/Katherine Joy Photography

“There’s no place we’d rather be on this special day than standing beside our brother while he marries his beautiful bride,” they tell PEOPLE. “We’re so lucky to have had so many moments and memories together that have brought us closer as a band and as brothers, and this is one we’ll never forget.”

“It’s been very special to watch Chris develop bonds with the other five guys in the band,” says Benson. “Not only is the music amazing, but they’re just some of the best people that we know. I can see how happy he is when he’s with the guys.”

King Calaway is continuing to rise in stardom, but Deaton was far from successful when he proposed in December 2017. “I was washing buses for money when she said ‘Yes,’ ” he says. “So that shows how much faith she has in me. She loves me unconditionally.”

The band and Molli Benson

Long before then, the two knew each other from high school theater.

“But before I could take her out, I had to meet with her father,” Deaton recalls. “So I went to her dad’s office. As a high school senior, that was pretty intimidating. But here we are almost eight years later.”

And their relationship is stronger than ever — even when Deaton’s gone with the band, who are set to release its debut album Rivers on Oct. 4.

“We have always encouraged each other to do whatever it takes to reach our goals, even if that means we aren’t in the same state for a while or can’t be together,” she says. “I think that’s why we make a great team. I am so proud of him, not only as the drummer for King Calaway but the kind of man he is.”

Molli Benson and Chris Beaton
| Credit: Katherine McQueen/Katherine Joy Photography

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Deaton, meanwhile, raved about his new wife whom he says “doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.”

“She sees the best in everyone she meets,” he says. “She is constantly putting up with me, which means she is a very strong woman!”

Guests at the wedding were served top-notch Southern cuisine from barbecue to macaroni and cheese from Puckett’s Grocery, a local restaurant where Deaton’s parents actually got married.

King Calaway
| Credit: Alex Ferrari

The couple danced to a choreographed number of Bruno Mars’ lively track “Perm” as they wanted to set an upbeat tone for the rest of the reception.

“Chris can always put a smile on my face,” Benson says. “He is the most selfless person I know and challenges me to constantly find the joy in life. He puts his whole heart into every job he has in front of him.”

She adds: “He is so amazing with kids and I know he will be the best father one day.”

King Calaway drops their debut album Rivers on Oct. 4.