HARDY and Caleigh Ryan Are Married! All the Wedding Details — Including Tattoos and Beer Burros

The couple tied the knot in front of 350 guests at Diamond Creek Farms in Nashville on Saturday

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
HARDY and Caleigh Ryan. Photo: Brooke Taelor

HARDY and Caleigh Ryan are married!

The "Wait in the Truck" singer, 32, and his love of four years tied the knot in front of 350 guests at Diamond Creek Farms in Nashville on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Ahead of the wedding, Ryan told PEOPLE that they chose their venue because it was "brand new and absolutely stunning."

"It's like huge, green pastures. It's a beautiful stone venue. It has an outside ceremony space that looks out to all the trees and Tennessee landscape. It'll be moody," she said of the setting, which she planned with Grey Boroff of House of Grey Events.

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
Diamond Creek Farms. Brooke Taelor

For the big day, the bride wore a dress that she custom-designed with Naama & Anat and Haute Bridal after failing to fall in love with any of the dresses she tried on at a bridal shop.

"We go to a lot of awards shows where you get to wear beautiful dresses, so it really was about finding my wedding dress versus just another beautiful dress," Ryan, 25, said. "That was my biggest obstacle. So I ended up creating a dress from scratch."

For more HARDY's wedding, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

As she worked with her designer to create her dress, Ryan said she would travel back and forth from Nashville to Austin.

"She did a fabulous job," she said. "I love it. It came out so beautifully, and I'm so excited about it. We were playing around with the idea of a second dress, but I just love my gown so much that I want to wear it the whole time."

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
Caleigh Ryan and HARDY. Brooke Taelor

Though Ryan did end up changing into a shorter going-out look, she said it was more of an "exit dress" since they continued the party on Broadway after the reception.

"I obviously can't wear my wedding dress out, but I'm really, really excited about it," she said.

Ryan finished her look with makeup by Halee Brooke, hair by Jessica Miller and a bouquet by The Florista.

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
The atmosphere. Brooke Taelor

She kept with tradition by using HARDY's baby bonnet — which his mom brought over ahead of the big day — for her "something old," her dress as her "something new," her grandma's lucky penny for her "something borrowed" and her late great-aunt Rosie's aquamarine ring for her "something blue." "I love those little family ties," Ryan explained. "I've never been passed down an heirloom like that before, so it really means a lot to me."

As for the groom, he wore a suit by STITCHED in Las Vegas, a bow tie and custom gold cuff links that belonged to his late great-uncle.

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
HARDY. Brooke Taelor

Before they walked down the aisle, the couple did a first look, which HARDY jokingly predicted was "gonna kill me."

"I know that if it was in front of a giant crowd of people, he would be trying as hard as he possibly could to not cry," said Ryan. "And I'm like, 'No, let it all out.'" (The newlyweds report that HARDY did, in fact, let the tears flow.)

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
Caleigh Ryan and HARDY. Brooke Taelor

Like the first look, the two chose to keep their exchange of vows intimate.

"We're going to write our own vows and do them privately," HARDY said. "We want the ceremony to be like 30 seconds long. We just want to have a big party for everybody. I'm trying to avoid having a complete meltdown in front of everyone, and I don't think I could get through vows at the altar, and she's the same. The vows will be for us. It doesn't have to be for everybody else."

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
The private vow exchange — with a special guest!. Brooke Taelor

One of HARDY's best friends, Smith Ahnquist, married the couple.

"I met him through songwriting," HARDY, who himself is the 2022 ACM Awards songwriter of the year, said. "He's a songwriter, and he's one of our favorite people. He's very strong in his faith, and we wanted that to be a big part of who would marry us."

Added Ryan: "When we asked him, he was so nervous. He's so cute, though. He is just such a great guy and we knew he'd be such a solid choice."

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
Caleigh Ryan and HARDY. Brooke Taelor

Also amongst their guests were country music friends Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Lauren Alaina, Devin Dawson, Mitchell Tenpenny, Lindsay Ell, Travis Denning, RaeLynn, ERNEST, Renee Blair, Jameson Rodgers and Morgan Wallen, whom HARDY just opened for on tour.

"I could have invited a lot more people, but we wanted people there that know us and love us," Hardy said.

Though pal Thomas Rhett wasn't able to attend the wedding due to a scheduling conflict (he and wife Lauren Akins were just returning from Italy after celebrating their own 10-year wedding anniversary), the couple said he's already given them some "heartfelt golden nuggets of advice for life and kids."

After the ceremony, the couple had a cocktail hour featuring two "beer burros," a.k.a. mini donkeys who cart around beer in baskets to guests.

"It's the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life," Ryan, who used Black Burro Events, told PEOPLE. "I'm so obsessed with it. It was one of the first things that I paid for and booked immediately."

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
Kate the beer burro with HARDY and Caleigh Ryan. Brooke Taelor

At the reception, the couple had a DJ and a Mississippi-based cover band called Mustache the Band.

"They only play '90s country," said HARDY, a Mississippi native. "They've been such a staple in my party life in Mississippi. We have a big county fair where they play every year, and they're just awesome and fun. They squeeze the word 'mustache' in the lyrics wherever they can."

Since Ryan went to Ole Miss for college, she knew the band too.

"It was very full circle because he knew them from his hometown, and they would play basically every sorority function where I went to school in Mississippi," Ryan said. "We did go back and forth with what kind of band we wanted and then we were like, 'No, we have to go Mustache.' It's too good, and they're hilarious."

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
The family with Mustache the Band. Brooke Taelor

For their first dance as a married couple, HARDY and Ryan chose "Faithfully" by Journey.

"It's very appropriate," HARDY said. "Two months after we started dating, we were in Arizona on a road trip, and we played that song. We put it on, and I teared up going down the road. I got choked up for like 30 seconds. It was at the time I was getting ready to sign a record deal, and I was a little apprehensive about it — I loved her so much and was a little worried at the time about how I was gonna be able to balance that."

"There's a line in 'Faithfully' that says, 'They say that the road ain't no place to start a family,' and that line just shook me because I was so worried," he continued. "Now, years later, we've been able to balance all that stuff. But that was just such a huge moment for me because how hard that line hit me assured me how much I loved her. I wanted to always make sure that she came before any of that."

RaeLynn gets a tattoo at HARDY's wedding 10/29/22
RaeLynn gets some wedding ink. Courtesy RaeLynn

In between dancing, guests had the option to get a 10-minute love or wedding-themed tattoo by Mike Stoll — something that many guests, including RaeLynn and Ryan's mom Sheri, took advantage of.

"I'm excited to see someone get their very first tattoo at our wedding," HARDY, who got the wedding date inked on his hand, told PEOPLE.

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
HARDY and Caleigh Ryan show off his new ink. Brooke Taelor

When it came to food, the couple went with a buffet-style feast of Southern and Italian choices by G Catering.

"We're doing a lot of passed apps and then one traditional Southern entree as a nod to Michael's family and one Italian entree as a nod to my big crazy Italian family," Ryan said. "We opted out of a seated dinner to maximize the party vibes."

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
The cake. Brooke Taelor

For their cake, they paid homage to HARDY's grandmother by choosing a layered cake that included caramel by Dessert Designs by Leland. "My grandma's caramel cake was my favorite growing up," he said. "The cake-tasting day was the best day of my life." Churros were also available for non-cake fans.

The food continued well into the night, with hot chicken sandwiches and tater-tot nachos served as late-night snacks. "No one will go hungry," HARDY said.

After the reception concluded, the party continued onto Broadway, where the couple and their guests were treated to a VIP experience at Luke Bryan's multi-level bar 32 Bridge.

"I'm biting the bullet and we're going to Broadway, which is something I don't do," HARDY said, as Ryan added, "I love Broadway! I don't care who makes fun of me. To get Michael to go down there is literally an act of God. I feel so lucky. This is like a wedding present."

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
HARDY and Caleigh Ryan. Brooke Taelor

The entire day was a dream come true for the couple, who first started dating on April 19, 2018. After Ryan — a San Diego native — popped up on his "For You" page on Instagram, HARDY slid into her DMs.

"We just started talking about San Diego and how she goes to Ole Miss and my family's Mississippi State thing," HARDY said. "We kept in contact until I had a show nearby her school and told her I'd love to meet her there."

When the day of his show arrived, Ryan said she "dragged" her roommates Brooke and Amanda to come with her.

"It's funny because we met up on the little balcony area in the venue — The Lyric," she said. "And I saw him come through the door and I was like, 'Oh my God.' I was just chugging my drink — I was so nervous. Brooke actually went up to him first and asked, 'Are you Michael?'"

HARDY said he responded, "Yes, where is that lady?"

"Caleigh comes walking up the stars, and my first impression was that she was a lot taller than I thought she was," he said.

From there, it was history.

"Once we met each other, there really was no one else," Ryan said. "We never entertained anyone else. It was just so easy."

"I loved her after the third time that we ever hung out," HARDY said. "It was the realest thing I had ever experienced. I actually told her I loved her at Stagecoach, out in the crowd."

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
The invitations. Brooke Taelor

HARDY said his feelings were only solidified when he met Ryan's family.

"When I met her mom and dad, I saw how great of people her parents were," he said. "This was the most rock-solid situation. I just knew right then and there that everything that I thought about her was true and that she was perfect and amazing."

Though they had talked about getting married early in their relationship, Ryan said she wanted to wait until she finished school and started a career. The proposal came in August 2021 and happened at the very spot they first met at The Lyric — which HARDY marked with camo gaff tape to be sure.

As for his favorite thing about Ryan, HARDY said it's her "ability to light up a room." Ryan, meanwhile, said her favorite thing about HARDY has been getting to know his "softer side."

"He is very caring and very thoughtful and a very loving person," she said. "A lot of people don't get to see that. It just makes it feel that much more special to me that I get to share those moments and sides of his personality with him."

They also love that there's no lack of humor in their relationship.

"Humor is one of the things we bonded over," HARDY said. "We love to laugh together."

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan. Credit: Brooke Taelor
HARDY and Caleigh Ryan. Brooke Taelor

With a career currently on the uptick, HARDY said it's been hard managing his personal and professional lives, but he and Ryan make an effort to have date nights.

"We're really good about over-communicating, and I think that's our biggest rule: Talk about everything and anything," Ryan said. "If we feel like we need to spend more time with each other, we're really good about just straight up saying it and asking for what we need. We're totally honest."

Michael Hardy and Caleigh Ryan Wedding
Caleigh Ryan and HARDY. Brooke Taelor

In the future, HARDY says they both want "like four kids" to fill their new Nashville home, but first comes the honeymoon. After his upcoming performance at the CMA Awards on Nov. 9, HARDY and Ryan will jet off to Thailand and Vietnam. "We're so excited," Ryan said.

Following their honeymoon and the holidays, HARDY will drop his sophomore album, the mockingbird & THE CROW, on Jan. 20, 2023, followed by the kickoff of his tour of the same name on Feb. 16.

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