Canaan Smith's Wedding Day Was Gorgeous and We Have the Photos to Prove It
There are a few reasons we're obsessed with Nashville musician Canaan Smith, and it's not just because his upcoming full-length album, Bronco, is chock full of songs perfect for wedding receptions. The country artist also just happened to surprise The Knot Dream Wedding couple on their special day and serenaded them for their first dance with "Love You Like That" -- and what's even more fun is that Canaan is a newlywed, too! He married his longtime love Christy Hardesty (the inspiration for some of his music!) almost one year ago in a beautiful Ohio wedding. But the most important thing about the day? Undoubtedly their family and friends, they agree.
How did your love story start?
Canaan: We met at a concert on her birthday. Christy's older brother bought her and her twin sister tickets, and I happened to be there too. I went over to them, since they were celebrating, and I was struck by how sincere and pretty she was. I was dating someone else at the time, so I didn't get her number, but I became a free man again eventually and tracked her down. We both just knew the first time we hung out together after that. That was two years ago in July.
How did you propose?
Canaan: We had planned to go hang with her dad, stepmom and sister in Florida in March -- but I got the ring in November. I knew how important it would be to have her family right there to celebrate afterward. It was a nice time to pop the question -- they were getting dinner ready and we had some time to kill. We went down to dock and I told her how serious I was about us. I read a Bible verse about what I believe love should be, and then pulled a ring out of a pack of gum. She had no idea it was coming.
Tell us a little about your wedding planning process.
Canaan: We were trying to decide what city to have our wedding in, since after moving to Nashville, a lot was out of our price range and we didn't want to ask too much of our family members. We decided to have it in Ohio, Christy's home state, on August 29, 2014. We wanted a backyard feel and agreed on a venue that we both liked. We found The Taylor Mansion in Columbus, that has brick exterior and a pretty fountain in front. We got married on the front porch. And there's a cute little pathway on the side of the mansion that leads to the back with tiki torches, where we had our reception under a big tent, and the buffet was held in an old carriage house. It was perfect and affordable. We're very easygoing and would have had it in our backyard eating corn on the cob, but we got lucky with an unassumingly fancy place.
You both looked amazing -- what went into choosing your looks?
Christy: My wedding dress was the second dress I tried on. I wanted something simple with a strapless neckline and lace. It was Vera Wang with a sash around the middle and a flower. My whole look was very subtle -- I even got my hair done at a blowout bar. And I wanted my girls to have bridesmaid dresses they could wear again, because I hate it when you can't re-wear a nice dress. I chose a poppy red summer dress from Anthropologie, and they've all worn it multiple times since then.
Canaan: I don't like to get too dressed up -- I'm a simple guy. My guys wore black dress pants with a skinny fit, white button-up shirts with the sleeves rolled up, tan vests and black shoes. I wore black pants with a white shirt rolled up -- and leather suspenders. I couldn't find any I liked in a store, so I got leather suspenders shipped to me overnight on Amazon.
What's a unique touch you put on your wedding?
Canaan: Our signature drink, called The Greenup, for Greenup, Kentucky, where we hung out for the first time. It had gin, St. Germain, soda, muddled mint and limes. It was killer. And our favors were cups that said "Best Day Ever" with our wedding date on them, so our guests were drinking The Greenup right out of their cups.
Did you write your own vows?
Canaan: No -- my long-term friend and manager did the officiating, and it was his first wedding. We had a Christian ceremony and he did some basic, purpose of marriage readings.
What was your first dance to?
Canaan: Some friends of mine are in the band Mockingbird Sun, and we played their song called "My Hometown." The lyrics say, "You're my hometown/you're my life now/you're my blood that runs so deep/you're my sunshine/you're my good times/you're the words that I can't speak/I've done the world and back around/you're my hometown."
Our first dance was a big moment -- I think it's the first moment after the ceremony where you realize the commitment you made.
What kind of music did you have?
Canaan: We kept it simple with a DJ, but we had a live cello, violin and guitar player for the ceremony.
Christy: I walked down the aisle to Ellie Goulding's "How Long Will I Love You." Eric Church's "Love Your Love the Most" was also played, along with "My Hometown."
Would you change anything about your wedding day?
We found out about a day after the wedding that some friends had gotten sick. We made some phone calls the morning after to say hello to a few people, and we learned that a dozen friends and family members got sick. We called the caterer and they were horrified and said nothing like that had ever happened before. They paid for everyone's hospital visits and gave us our money back on the chicken. It turns out that it was salmonella!
Yikes! So what was the most memorable thing about your wedding day -- besides the salmonella?
Christy: The party in general was so much fun, and we had an after-party that we went to on a party bus.
Canaan: Also, when we were cutting the cake, we both got forkfuls of it, and I just ate mine immediately. I couldn't wait, I guess! And we both loved our maid of honor and best man's speeches. They were both super heartfelt and sincere. My best man did a stand-up style speech, and it was great. That's a big thing to entrust, because some people are reluctant about it and don't like speaking in public. We couldn't have heard two better speeches -- they were just awesome.
Give us some advice about the first year of marriage.
Communication is key, especially when you're not in the same city. It's all about considering the other person. When I'm on tour, we talk on the phone, e-mail, text, FaceTime and Snapchat. Make each other feel like you're part of their day, even if you just have tiny windows of time. Send photos and text, but also make sure to sit down and have a conversation that matters.
How do you feel about people using "Love You Like That" as their first dance?
I'm totally honored. As an artist, you want your song to mean something to that level, which is why performing it at The Knot Dream Wedding was such a big deal.
Have you done anything like this before?
Yes, once. I got a Facebook message from two fans about another song that has a message of getting through tough times because you had someone to lean on. They lost their first child as a newborn, and it was the toughest time for them, but the song got them through. They now have a new nine-month-old baby boy and named him Canaan -- so I visited them as a surprise. I literally walked right into their lives on a Wednesday in Oklahoma.
Congratulations on Bronco being released on June 23! What's it like to have your first full-length album finally coming out?
It's the best feeling, and so rewarding. I've been working on this for so long, and I'm really thankful.
See 17 gorgeous photos from Canaan and Christy's wedding day below from photographers Melissa and Victor Berrios.