Brantley Gilbert and Jana Kramer are still on a romantic high after becoming engaged over the weekend. While the future groom pulled out all the stops to pop the question, including renting out the historic Ryman Auditorium for the momentous occasion, he admits the event came much earlier than he originally planned.
"I had set a date for a good bit later," he explains to The Boot. "A buddy of mine, I told him I was planning on doing it. He was like, 'I don't care how you plan on that, but you're never going to be able to wait that long.' I had my heart set on it pretty heavy. I thought, 'What's a better day than my birthday?' I knew she wouldn't be expecting it. I figured she'd be trying to figure out something for me. It was awesome."
The happy couple had been dating for about a year, and recently moved in together, but Brantley says he knew early on that the "One Tree Hill" actress was "The One." "To be honest, it didn't take me long at all to figure out that she's absolutely amazing," he says. "I never really thought about it again. I know everybody said it was quick, but I've never been one to really care what everybody thinks. We feel like it's been forever. I was holding back. There's no doubt in my mind. A buddy of mine said, 'It's not whether or not you can live with someone, but whether or not you can live without them.' I said, 'Well, let's get this show on the road.'"
The "More Than Miles" singer felt the Mother Church of Country Music was the perfect place to propose. "We always said, if it wasn't for country music, we never would have met," he notes. "She's an actress out in L.A., and I'm a small town Georgia boy. The Ryman is the heart and soul of country music. If there's a building you think about when it comes to country, that would be it. Plus, it's where Johnny Cash and June [Carter Cash] met, and we'd like to think that we might be a similar love story."
While the singer-songwriter didn't admit to us that he became emotional while on bended knee, his fiancée divulges they both shed a few tears during the romantic moment. "He had blindfolded me -- and I thought, 'Why are you blindfolding me?'" she tells Detroit radio station WYCD. "He was like, 'We always talk about how if it wasn't for country music, we never would have met. About 30 steps to our right is where Johnny and June met.' And he's always idolized that love story ... Then he turned me around, he was down on one knee, and he asked me to marry him!"
Brantley and Jana will have to do much of their wedding planning on the road. He kicks off the 2013 leg of his Hell on Wheels tour on Jan. 31 in Independence, Mo., with Kip Moore and Brian Davis serving as his opening acts. He will also hit the road in May as an opener for Tim McGraw on the Two Lanes of Freedom tour. Keep track of all of Brantley's upcoming concerts and venues here.
The lovebirds will take a detour from their busy tour schedules to attend the April 7 ACM Awards in Las Vegas. Both are up for New Artist of the Year, with fan voting in their categories going on now here. Come back to The Boot next week for more of our chat with Brantley, as he tells us what this cool nomination means to him.
Watch Jana Kramer's 'Whiskey' Video