CHAPEL OF LOVE

On a chilly day in November, it was business as usual at a small wedding chapel in Gatlinburg, Tenn. The preacher didn't know it, but this wasn't just any nervous couple exchanging vows - it was country singer Blake Shelton and his fiancee, Kaynette Williams, exchanging "I do"s. And not even a wedding serenade by Blake during the ceremony gave it away!

"They had no idea what I do for a living, which was exactly the way we wanted it," explains the singer of the hits "Austin," "Ol' Red" and "The Baby."

"We were cracking up because after the ceremony the preacher said, 'You know, we've had some people sing songs. You did better than a lot of people. You were actually on key a little bit, so that was nice for a change.' We thought that was really funny!"

Fresh off a short honeymoon, Blake and Kaynette happily stepped back into their wedding garb for an exclusive Country Weekly photo shoot. They were married Nov. 17 during a break in Blake's whirlwind tour with Toby Keith.

It was a small wedding - in fact, it couldn't have been any smaller. "It was just Kaynette, myself, the guy who married us and a photographer," notes Blake with a smile. "It was totally something that we wanted to do - just she and I. Our whole lives are always in the public eye, plus we live on a bus with 10 other people. There's just always people around. We never have time for us, so it seemed like the perfect way to do this. It was a moment we would always share, knowing it was just the two of us."

For their special day, Kaynette wore a Demetrios wedding gown she picked out over the Internet while the busy couple were on the road. "I wanted something simple but still pretty," reveals Kaynette.

The groom found his wedding day outfit in his closet. "I wore my Wranglers and boots and cowboy hat," says Blake with a grin. "She told me I could wear whatever I wanted to wear, so I opted just to be comfortable in something I'm used to wearing."

No one could ever accuse Blake of being a hopeless romantic, but even he couldn't help getting emotional on his special day. "I remember how pretty Kaynette looked," he confesses proudly. "She looked so classy. I've never seen her with her hair done that way. She stepped out of that room and into the chapel, and I just couldn't believe how classic and beautiful she looked."

Kaynette's favorite memory of the wedding is the song Blake sang to her. "I didn't know Blake was going to sing a song," she confides. "Before the ceremony I could hear him in the room playing his guitar, but that's what he does when he's nervous or anxious. So I thought that's what he was doing. But then during the ceremony he sang a song called 'Julia' by Conway Twitty.

"My dad passed away on Blake's birthday seven years ago," she explains. "My dad taught me to dance to that song. The words to the song fit Blake and me. Blake said a little speech before and said he was singing the song for someone who couldn't be there. I won't forget that. That means more to me than anything."

Blake and Kaynette are from the same small town of Ada, Okla. They share a fiveyear history as a couple, but they've known each other even longer. "He was 15 when I met him, and I was just out of high school," remembers Kaynette. "Even before I was dating him I always thought he was just the funniest person. You can't help but have a good time and laugh around him.

"Then six years later, after we finally did go on a date... I'm telling you, from the first real date we had, I loved him. I just love being around him. We didn't date very long before I moved to Nashville. I had lived in Ada my entire life and I was my mom's baby, but I just knew I wanted to be with him."

"I knew Kaynette was the one," adds Blake, "just because I can't explain it. I can't say it's because we get along or because of the way she looks. It's just something I feel - you know what I mean? It's nothing more than just knowing you're right."

The wedding happened so fast that Blake's touring mate, Toby Keith, didn't even have time to give his opening act a proper sendoff. "Toby's one goal was to do the whole bachelor party thing with me - and you know everything that would include, especially knowing Toby," declares Blake with a wink. "But it got messed up because they thought I was going to be there the last night of the tour, but we had to fly out that night.

So they had to scramble.

"Toby's whole thing was he was just trying to get me drunk. He got me on his bus and kept telling me that I'd better get drunk or he was going to kick my ass - because his whole plan for me got ruined."

The photo shoot is ending and it's time for Blake and Kaynette to shed their wedding clothes and climb on the tour bus for another late-night road trip. They're headed to another gig with Toby.

Kaynette looks across the room at her new husband and smiles, remembering their wedding day.

"I had a moment with Blake by myself," she sighs. "I don't get those anymore. For the life we live, it was perfect."

Story by Wendy Newcomer

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