Bobby Bones Marries Caitlin Parker in Intimate At-Home Ceremony: See the Wedding Photos
The radio host, Breaking Bobby Bones star and American Idol mentor and Parker tied the knot at their Nashville-area home on Saturday evening — and PEOPLE has all the exclusive details.
“We love home. We picked this place out together — that was really one of the first decisions that we made as a couple. And so she thought, ‘What if we got married here?'” Bones, 41, tells PEOPLE.
Adds Parker, 29, “It was such a big gesture for Bobby to want to get a home for us both, that had some of my touches. We got to start fresh. For me, it really wasn’t even a question. It was just — if we’re getting married in Nashville, we’re getting married at the house.”
With the help of Ninth & Everett owner and planner Josiah Carr, the couple’s backyard was transformed into the wedding venue of their dreams. Blooms from Stella Rose Floral were everywhere while a “C + B” from Alpha-Lit Nashville lit up the area. Additionally, string quartet Viva La Strings played while floating in Bones and Parker’s pool during the cocktail hour.
“Josiah has just been the best — not only planning, but also being a bit of a therapist at times for different reasons,” Bones says. “Honestly, I didn’t know the value of a wedding planner. I thought they hired a couple of people, you ate your cake and you called it a day. But he has been so great and helpful and giving in ways that I never expected him to be.”
Bones and Parker planned to forgo a first look ahead of the ceremony — “I will not see her until she’s walking down the aisle,” he tells PEOPLE — but both were looking forward to the other’s appearance as the wedding march began.
Parker was also awaiting the moment her father would hand her off to her fiancé. “I am so close with my dad and he’s just the perfect example of what a man should be to his wife and his daughters,” she says. “His blessing means a lot to me. And I just like the idea of being passed over from my favorite man in the world to my new favorite man in the world.”
After the groomsmen — including retired tennis pro Andy Roddick — walked in to The Office theme song, the couple’s two dogs, Stanley and Eller, also made their way down the aisle in bow ties and pearls — though days before the ceremony, Bones was unsure if the rambunctious pups would be able to “pull it off.” He joked, “We’re rooting for them, but it’ll be a game-time decision.”
Bones and Parker, who wrote their own vows, were married by her childhood music minister, Jeff Elkins. “I don’t have a godfather, but if I did, it would be him,” Parker says of Elkins, who’s also her childhood best friend’s dad. “He was the only option.”
For their wedding, Bones wore a custom suit with bow tie by Alton Lane, preferring to “blend in” with a classic look so Parker could “come down and own the show” in her Galia Lahav gown.
Parker found the perfect piece at The Dress Theory Nashville much quicker than she initially expected.
“It was probably the third dress that I tried on, and I knew it immediately. I had five girls [including bridesmaids Abby Smyers and Bobby Bones Show personality Amy Brown] with me and three of them started crying! It was the absolute opposite of what I thought that I wanted from the start — completely different,” she tells PEOPLE. “Bobby’s very superstitious about it. He doesn’t even want me to say the word ‘dress.’ He won’t look at my phone — he’s afraid a picture will pop up. He won’t go into the closet where it’s hanging, even though you can’t see it.”
Parker finished her bridal look with hair by Sarah Klein and makeup by Marz Collins.
Following the ceremony, guests — including country stars Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, Chuck Wicks and radio personality Charlamagne Tha God — enjoyed a cocktail hour with apps passed on marble trays in the shape of Bones and Parker’s home states of Arkansas and Oklahoma while listening to the floating quartet White Door Events set up in the couple’s pool.
The party then moved into a tent on the property for dinner and dancing, where the pair were officially introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Estell. Pals Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay then took the stage to sing Bones and Parker’s first dance song — the Jesse and the Rippers version of The Beach Boys’ “Forever” from Full House.
Other industry friends provided additional entertainment, as Gary LeVox serenaded the crowd with Rascal Flatts’ hits “Bless the Broken Road” and “Fast Cars and Freedom” while Ronnie Dunn performed the Brooks & Dunn classic “Neon Moon” as a light-up moon was lowered from the ceiling as a surprise for the newlyweds.
Bones tells PEOPLE he was especially looking forward to the dances — both the first and last. “I know I won’t cry then,” he says of the Dan + Shay performance, but if a few tears sneak out, “I can just hide on her shoulder.” The pair planned to share a private moment at the end of the night as well. “We’re going to do a last dance when everybody’s gone,” Bones explains. “I look forward to that with no pressure.”
Bubbles & Brews Nashville provided champagne and craft beer, while Beyond Details catered the event, serving steak, crab cakes, mashed potatoes and vegetables. Cakes + Co provided sweet treats, including Bones’ favorite Funfetti cookie dough cake that he previously had for his birthday. “They’ll be very full when they leave here,” Bones jokes of his guests.
But the couple was most excited about the evening’s send-off — a Sonic Drive-In pop-up serving everything from “put a ring on it” onion rings to Nashville hot chicken sliders to the couple’s personal concoction, the Bobby Water. (Despite the name, the drink — which features water, strawberries, cherries and Nerds — was Parker’s creation. “Bobby went on air the next day and was like, ‘So I invented this crazy thing at Sonic.’ And I caught wind of it and was furious!” she recalls with a laugh. “That might be the biggest fight we’ve ever had.”)
Bones and Parker consider the Sonic snacks the “most personal part of the night” because it reminds them of the early days of their relationship when they were figuring out their feelings for each other.
“When she was coming from Los Angeles to Nashville and I would pick her up at the airport, I would go by Sonic and get her drinks first,” Bones explains of the first few months of dating long-distance in 2019. “It was like, ‘Hey, you just flew for five hours. This is an odd thing I’m doing because I’m trying to show you how much I care about you, but I don’t really know how to express human emotions.’ So to have that as a big part of our wedding means a lot to us. It wasn’t some sort of product placement. We actually pursued them and were like, ‘Is there any way you will do this here?’ And they went above and beyond.”
After meeting through mutual friends on the West Coast, the couple dated for a few months before the pandemic hit in March 2020. Parker, who was living in California at the time, decided to travel to Tennessee to ride things out. “I came with a mindset of, ‘I’m going stay for about a week because L.A. is shut down and Nashville isn’t.’ It was just, ‘I’d rather be with my boyfriend locked in the house than by myself in L.A. locked in the house,’ so that part was easy. It was months later when I was about to graduate grad school where we had to really think about if I was going to officially make the move or continue long-distance.”
For his part, Bones “was mostly just trying to convince her to be here. I wanted her to stay the whole time. When it was time to have those conversations, I didn’t want to because I didn’t want her to even think about going back.”
By the summer, Parker had decided to stay in Nashville. “When she finally agreed to move here, I just knew I was going to propose,” Bones tells PEOPLE.
He continues, “I knew immediately that it was extremely different, even from the start. Early on, it was like, ‘I really needed to treat this delicately and invest my time and my capabilities because this is going to be for a long time.’ I wasn’t freaked out and that’s how I knew it was right. I never once went, ‘Oh God, what’s happening here?’ Mostly I was like, ‘Maybe this is what people are talking about when you watch movies and read books.’ That’s how I knew she was the one — because I wasn’t freaking out.”
Bones proposed to Parker in the barn on their property last October, soon after they’d moved from his bachelor pad where they’d quarantined together. Parker knew accepting was the right decision.
“I had conversations with my mom growing up about when you fall in love with that right person and how you know,” she recalls. “And she always told me that it’s just not hard. You will go through a lot of things together as a couple, but that the relationship itself shouldn’t be hard. That it feels like a sense of peace washing over you. And with Bobby, that’s how it’s always been. When I’m with him, there’s such a strong sense of peace about us no matter what it is we’re going through that day. I just know he’s the one for me.”
Of course, not everything’s perfect — Parker wishes Bones would stop biting his fingernails and learn how to soak a plate (“I don’t even need you to do the dish; just put water on it before you let it crust over in the sink!”), while Bones is irritated that Parker’s “better than him” at just about everything, including time management. But he admits he needs to hear it.
“She’s the first person that actually tells me, ‘No’ or ‘You don’t need to spiral this way.’ And I’ve listened — probably not as much as she likes — but I’ve never listened, honestly ever. I get so annoyed by being told what to do, but this is actually, ‘Hey, let me help you get a little more balanced.’ I’m getting better because I see it’s for my own good.”
Bones grows introspective. “I’ve just been so alone, by myself, independent. I’m finally starting to have substance in my life. She’s constantly trying to convince me that my life is more than just what I do for a living and trying to show me that my worth is more than just what I put out on TV or on the radio,” he says. “I haven’t been much of a human. I’ve been very much a robot for all of my life until now, but I can feel small cracks in that really unhealthy frame that I used to live inside of. I’m learning.”
As talk turns to the future, both Parker and Bones say they hope to have children — and develop their own family traditions.
“We want kids. I never really had a family growing up,” Bones tells PEOPLE of his childhood burdened by poverty, an absent father and a mother (now deceased) who abused drugs and alcohol. “It’s also a growing process for me to be a better, more well-rounded human. I’m looking forward to that.”
Adds Parker: “My family is really big on traditions. Christmas Eve, we do the same thing every year, and we always go on a family vacation. I really look forward to continuing some of those with him, but also starting our own.”
But first, the honeymoon. “There’s a little motel about a mile from the house, so we’re going to go stay for a day,” Bones initially jokes, before confirming he will in fact be enjoying a brief break. “I’ve never taken two weeks off of work!”
The Breaking Bobby Bones season finale airs Sunday night at 10/9 CT on Nat Geo. For more from Bobby Bones and Caitlin Parker’s wedding, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.