Carly Pearce + Michael Ray — Country’s Greatest Love Stories
The whirlwind romance of Carly Pearce and Michael Ray is the stuff of modern fairytales. As Pearce described to Taste of Country in 2018, she started responding to Ray's Instagram stories after he caught her eye.
"I've had a crush on him for a really long time and just always thought there was more to that pretty face, and there totally is," Pearce says. "I did what every girl does in 2018: slid into the DMs."
Funnily enough, Ray shared in a later radio interview that he didn't quite realize Pearce had a thing for him: "I don't know if it's a guy thing, but I don't catch on to hints worth crap," he admits. "I was also afraid to be like, 'I think she's into me,' because I want to see her again. So if she's not into me, and I go in thinking she is, that's weird."
However, the pair didn't make their budding relationship "Instagram official" until July of 2018. Each musician shared the same lovey-dovey photo — a cuddling session on a couch backstage at the Grand Ole Opry — on their respective accounts. "And then one random night at the Nashville Palace changed everything," Pearce captioned the snap, along with a heart emoji.
Once they were together, Ray wasted no time proposing; in fact, he went all out for the big event. "I wanted this to make The Bachelor look like a date night at Applebee’s," he told People. To that end, Ray popped the question on Dec. 19, 2018, at a resort in Tulum, Mexico, where the couple was on vacation with Pearce's parents. He arranged for white rose petals to be laid out in a trail from their room to a rooftop deck, which itself was decorated with flowers, tiki torches and candles, and a romantic table setting for two.
Pearce, at first, didn't realize what was going on: "Oh, the wind must have blown these flowers up here," is how she responded, she recalled to People. “I honestly thought that they got blown up in a perfect line — miraculously. Looking back, I think I just didn’t want to allow myself to think it was anything else."
When they reached the deck, Pearce and Ray were greeted by a photographer and a mariachi band. Pearce finally caught on to what was happening, and after Ray pulled out a gorgeous ring — which had a four-carat round diamond ringed with a carat's worth of smaller diamonds — and getting down on one knee, she actually said she'd marry him before he even asked.
"My bad,” Pearce told People later. “This is what I do! I’m always the one initiating."
Pearce has also taken charge of wedding planning, which has gone rather smoothly. "We’re pretty set,” Pearce tells People. “My mom and I are doing it just ourselves. It’s actually been really good." Jake Owen is singing their first dance song at the ceremony, and she even found a dress quickly: "It was the second one I ever tried on," she says. "After the dress, who cares about anything else?”
Still, even when Pearce and Ray do get married, expect nothing to change about their relationship. "I've been very quiet with my relationships in the past, and there's a reason for that," Pearce told PopCulture.com in 2018. "I think I never really was sure of something, until I met Michael. I've known him for a long time, but there was just something different. And just like I feel I take you on a journey in all of my stories in my music, this is a really big part of what is making me really happy right now, and I want people to be a part of that and to share in that.
"He just so happens to do the same thing," she continued. "It makes it interesting and fun, and great, but we want people to be able to share in it with us, because we're really happy."