For Grammy-nominated Christian singer Jamie Grace, who first rose to fame on YouTube, marrying Aaron Collins on April 14, 2018 was a dream come true.
Diagnosed with Tourette syndrome (a neurological disorder that can cause uncontrollable tics and compulsive utterances or obscene outbursts) when she was 11 years old, Grace, 26, never allowed it to hamper her spirit, instead choosing to raise her voice and inspire others through song.
But though she’d achieved some of her wildest dreams — including being nominated for a Grammy and a Billboard Music Award when she was just 19 — dating was always a challenge. That was until the Atlanta-native connected with Collins, a model and actor, 23, last November and they embarked on a five-month courtship that ended in the wedding of her dreams.
“Aaron is, by far, the most amazing man I have ever met,” Grace tells PEOPLE of her new husband, whom she first met at one of her shows in 2016 before he “slid into my DMs on Instagram” last November, later proposing in January.
As they stood at the altar inside North Metro Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia, “I was more giddy than anything,” says Grace, who chose to recite traditional vows.
Surrounded by 1500 friends, family and fans — the wedding was standing room only with 1000 others on the waiting list, after the singer opened her wedding invitation to the public — it all went off without a hitch.
“I was genuinely surrounded by every person who could calm any possible nerves,” says the bride, who wore a custom gown that featured a 14-foot train by designer Johana Hernandez. “It was an absolute fairytale wedding and I almost couldn’t believe it was happening.”
That disbelief came from years of dating struggles. As she told Essence in March, “I always felt like I was kind of in a limbo when it came to dating and telling guys that I had Tourettes because it wasn’t something life-threatening, and it wasn’t something that I, in a dating relationship, really needed them to do anything.”
She continued, “But I did need understanding, and I did need the freedom to be able to twitch so that I’m not sitting at dinner for two or three hours, and holding in a huge part of who I am and then getting sick later because I was trying to suppress everything.”
While some guys “wanted me to prove it to them or they thought it was funny and I was just gonna cuss,” she told Essence that when it came to Collins, he had an unusual reaction. “He was so nonchalant about it, it made me even more nervous. I was like, ‘Wait, he didn’t ask me a bunch of questions…Why is he so relaxed right now?'”
And he also shared her Christian faith and views on abstinence. “I’ve been very open about saving sex for my husband,” says Grace, who explains courting as dating with intention. “It was a decision that I made when I was a teenager. Aaron and I decided separately, before we met, to be intentional in our dating lives in a way that would someday lead to marriage.”
And finding true love was worth the wait. Says Grace of her new husband: “He is patient, kind, hilarious, driven, talented, joyful, handsome and a fearless leader who seeks to love God and love people in every moment of his life.”