Russell + Kailey Dickerson — Country’s Greatest Love Stories
Russell Dickerson and his wife Kailey have the kind of fairytale romance that's the envy of hopeless romantics everywhere. Married on May 5, 2013, the two gush about each other any chance they get -- and have an impressive work-life balance.
The Dickersons originally met at Belmont University, Wisconsin native Kailey -- who herself participated in musicals and choir in high school -- recalls in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I don't remember meeting him, but I remember the first time I heard him sing in a classical music class," she shares. "I was, like, 'Dang, this guy can sing.'"
Their relationship was platonic until 2010, Kailey adds: "We were strictly friends, but we started hanging out a lot, and I started asking myself, 'Why do I want to be around Russell all the time?'" she recounts.
"Our junior year, we were at this party, at the side of this house, and there was this 'Are you gonna kiss me or not?' moment, and he did," she continues. "I was like, 'Wow, all right, we're doing this.'"
When it came time to get engaged, on the day of the Super Bowl in 2013, things continued to be magical. Kailey knew Dickerson was going to propose at some point soon, since the pair had gone ring-shopping recently, but she didn't expect that he'd choose the day after her best friend got married.
“[I thought] he’d probably wait until she got back from her honeymoon," Kailey tells The Knot. However, her besotted beau had other plans, and had asked Kailey's newly married friend and her husband to come to Kailey's "little crappy apartment" before they departed.
“Russell texted them and was like, ‘I’m about to propose, can you guys be here in 30 minutes?’ And they hadn’t left for their honeymoon yet. She was like, ‘Can we shower first?’ so she walked in with wet hair,” Kailey recalls.
That wasn't the only surprise Dickerson had up to sleeve: He proposed by pretending he needed Kailey to help him set up a camera to film a YouTube video -- but instead, he sang her a song and then popped the question.
The couple's 650-person wedding in Nashville, at the Houston Station, was just as unique, especially because they switched up the exchanging of vows to make it more personal. “We exchanged letters and closed our eyes and read our letters with our backs to each other,” Kailey tells The Knot. “Then we held our hands and prayed, but we didn’t see each other reading the letters.”
At another point, they revisited the field where they took engagement photos, and were met by a kind stranger who gave them more access to take better snaps. “On our wedding day, we didn’t really plan it, we said, ‘Let’s see if we can go back,’” Kailey tells The Knot. “And as we pulled up from the ceremony — we’re in a trolley, mind you — we leave it on the side of the road and started walking and this woman pulls up.”
The Dickersons aren't afraid to mix business with pleasure; in fact, creative-minded Kailey handles her husband's photography and music video responsibilities, and has always had a hand in keeping his career in order.
“We honestly spend 98 percent of our time together and we love it,” Kailey tells the website Hudson & Emily. “It’s so powerful because he’s not singing to some 40-year old camera operator in a normal studio setting; he’s actually singing to me.”
And, as Dickerson told Billboard upon the 2017 release of his debut album, Yours, being married has been great for his creativity.
“I love it, and I just want to communicate that,” he says. "Some people try to put on this facade of being single and desirable, but some people want a relationship. That’s what’s changed for me, is being confident in being taken. It’s the best thing ever.”