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"It was awesome!" exclaims Carolyn Dawn Johnson, still glowing about the ceremony that united her and Nashville businessman Matt Fisher. "It was beautiful, and much more magical than I imagined."
The couple was married March 28 in the lovely Canadian Rockies resort town of Banff. Carolyn's uncle and grandfather -- both ministers -- performed the ceremony before about 75 friends and family members.
"It was just right," she says.
Carolyn's friend Christy Sutherland sang the Lord's Prayer, along with "You Are," from Carolyn's debut album, Room With a View. Then came the big moment -- Carolyn and Matt exchanged their self-written wedding vows, which they'd stayed up until 3 a.m. finishing the night before.
"It was pretty emotional," she reports. "Matt was so choked up, he turned to the audience and said, 'I've gotta think about basketball or something!' The whole congregation laughed, and it really lightened the mood and made it a little easier for him to say. It was really sweet!"
Following the ceremony, the newlyweds traveled by horse and carriage to the scenic Banff Springs. "So we had 20 minutes to just revel in the fact that, Oh my gosh, we're married!" says Carolyn. "It was a really beautiful thing."
Later an intimate reception found friends and family toasting the couple. "My grandma gave us some advice, because she and my grandpa had just celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary," smiles Carolyn. "That was sweet."
And of course, there was musical entertainment -- songwriter pals Shaye Smith and Mary Danna sang, and Carolyn herself performed a new song about Matt called "He's a Keeper." Unfortunately, the tune will not be on CDJ's long-awaited new album, due early next year. She expresses a little frustration at the many delays in the album's release. "It is getting drawn out," she says, admitting that her decision to get married was one of the reasons for the holdup. "I'm like, 'Aaargh!' "
That little growl of aggravation also describes Carolyn's state of mind during the days before the wedding, when it seemed as if all the plans were going haywire. She was already exhausted from a week of charity work when one headache after another began popping up.
"The day before the wedding," she recalls, "I said to Matt, 'I hope I can be happy tomorrow. I'm so tired and stressed, and some things aren't going right.' "
The bridesmaids' dresses weren't shipped from Nashville as expected, so Matt had to fly them in with him -- and they were still being altered by a hastily enlisted Banff seamstress a few minutes before the ceremony. The gifts the couple bought for the bridesmaids, groomsmen and pastors -- including the bridesmaids' jewelry -- arrived only an hour and a half before the wedding, after being stuck in customs for two weeks. The ceremony itself got underway a half-hour after the planned two o'clock start time.
But once the couple walked down the aisle -- as snowflakes lightly fell outside -- all the hangups and holdups were forgotten. The elements clicked into place, and a picture-perfect ceremony unfolded.
"Everything was just plans -- pieces of paper, contracts, phone calls and ideas," explains Carolyn. "And when the day comes, you don't know how it's gonna turn out. But it was wonderful."
As the newlyweds prepared to jet off for their honeymoon in Jamaica, a chain reaction of canceled and missed flights caused another comedy of errors, leaving Carolyn and Matt exhausted by the time they reached the hotel in the town of Ocho Rios. "We went to bed at a quarter 'til seven that evening and slept 'til eight the next morning," she laughs. "We were zonked!"
But they wound up having a terrific time in Jamaica, and are now enjoying life at home in Nashville. There are no plans to expand the family -- at least for now. "We want to have a few years by ourselves," she says. "Then we'll move into that complex land!" For the time being, they're just happy being newlyweds.
"I think marriage has only made my life better," gushes Carolyn. "I feel more peaceful now that I've got a partner with me, through thick and thin, no matter what. Whether I have a career or not, he's going to be there."
-- Chris Neal