On Sunday, October 27, “All On Me” singer Devin Dawson married singer-songwriter Leah Sykes in an outdoor farm wedding in Tennessee. The couple, together for two-and-a-half years, exchanged vows before friends and family in a personalized and rather thoughtful ceremony.
The couple met while attending Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. After one date, Dawson knew Sykes was the one for him. “After our first date I told my brother I didn’t want to let anyone else be with her,” he told People. “He told me to lock it down then! This is big because we never really talked [about] love or relationships together at all.”
To make their wedding day even more special, the couple incorporated their love story details into their ceremony and reception—a trend that continues to rise in popularity. According to The Knot 2018 Real Weddings Study, more couples are putting their own spin on their nuptials. Seventy percent of all couples who wed in 2018 had at least one signature element such as a creative cocktail, unique theme or additional guest entertainment (like musical performances).
Dawson and Sykes looked to their hometowns and relationship milestones for personalization inspiration. See all the sweet details below.
They Paid Tribute to Their Love Story Origin
Instagram / katesbarra
Since the couple met while attending Belmont University, it’s only fitting they chose to exchange vows nearby. Dawson and Sykes got married in Franklin, Tennessee—just a drive away from Nashville.
The couple told People that they also chose the open farm because it lends itself perfectly to a fall wedding. The garden and foliage made for beautiful décor, while a 250-year-old oak tree served as a naturally gorgeous altar.
The Color Scheme Nodded to the Groom’s Love of Black
Dawson is notorious for always wearing his signature color: black. The couple incorporated this hue into their color scheme by adding in touches of burgundy and champagne to create a personalized autumnal color palette. While champagne and burgundy were some of the most popular wedding colors in 2018, incorporating black added a unique touch to their fall ceremony.
The Couple’s Siblings Held Multiple Wedding Roles
The couple has said how important family is to them before, so they made their wedding day all about family. Dawson’s best man was his twin brother, Jacob Durrett. Sykes’ sisters were a part of her wedding party too—and one of them served as the maid of honor. Sykes’ older brother, Jacob, also officiated the ceremony for an extra-special touch.
The Couple Performed a Duet During the Ceremony
Dawson and Sykes shared their love of music and faith with their guests during the ceremony. The couple sang a worship song called “How Deep the Father’s Love” at the altar since faith is a huge part of their relationship, they told People.
They Exchanged Handwritten Vows
Another nod to Dawson and Sykes’ singer-songwriter professions? In addition to reciting traditional vows, the couple chose to recite their own written vows to each other. “You better believe that two songwriters and artists wanted to write our own vows and promises!” Dawson told People.
Her Custom Ring Design Included “Something Old”
Instagran / leahgracesykes
Dawson designed Sykes’ custom engagement ring and wedding band with a ring shop owner in Nashville. According to People, the country singer spent months designing a “simple, elegant and timeless” engagement ring—but with a personal touch. The country crooner embedded Sykes’ great-grandmother’s wedding diamond in the band underneath the main diamond “as a reminder to always keep something for yourself in a world full of spotlight and access.”
Dawson custom designed the wedding ring to match and fit flush to the engagement ring, which features a 1.75-carat diamond as well as a full platinum setting and band.
They Served Margaritas From Their Favorite Date Night Spot
Instagram / stvmklr
One of the most popular ways couples are putting their own spin on their wedding day? Serving a signature cocktail. Dawson and Sykes chose to pay homage to one of their favorite date night spots in Nashville by serving guests handmade margaritas. The couple also bucked tradition by switching out champagne for tequila shots for the toast.
According to the couple’s wedding website, they spent nights out enjoying restaurants all over Nashville. In addition to the drinks, the food choices also reflected the Dawson and Sykes’ favorite spots to eat in Nashville. Guests enjoyed a “Nashville-style” cauliflower dish and a selection of tacos during the reception.
They Arranged a Hometown Coffee Bar
Personalized food and drink choices didn’t stop there, though. To pay homage to their hometowns, the couple arranged for a hometown-inspired coffee bar at the reception. Guests were able to sip on a variety of roasts from his home state of California, her home state of Florida, and their current home of Nashville.
A Fashion Surprise
Dawson told People that he was planning a big surprise for Sykes during the reception. “I have a small surprise for when Leah and I are announced,” he said. “It’s something very big for me as a man who hasn’t worn anything but black in five years.”
Instagram / katesbarra
The surprise? A white tuxedo coat. Guests commented that Dawson’s fashion surprise made him “a new man” and that Sykes “made this happen.”
Instagram / ellrod
The Wedding Hashtag
According to our study, wedding hashtags are becoming more and more popular among couples. Sixty-two percent of all couples who got married in 2018 had a wedding hashtag on Instagram. Dawson and Sykes followed this trend and created one for their wedding day as well, #SykedToBeDurrett, which incorporates both of their last names.
Instagram / blackberryfarm
While Dawson and Sykes are planning for a larger honeymoon in 2020, they did plan a small, local trip to enjoy newlywed bliss. The couple told People that they love road trips, so they decided to venture out to Blackberry Farm after the wedding. “It’s a private mountain resort and farm in the hills of Tennessee. We picked it because it’s close (we love road trips) and it’s gorgeous. It’s the perfect place to relax and treat ourselves in luxuries that we don’t usually afford ourselves. We will take a full honeymoon abroad at the top of the year.”