Karen Waldrup Marries Cody Henson in Romantic South Carolina Beach Wedding: See the Photos!
2020 was a year of uncertainty for Karen Waldrup. A viral sensation with over 350 million online views of her country covers and original music, Waldrup found herself dealing with the unnerving uncertainty that comes with being an independent artist in the middle of a pandemic.
But one thing was for certain — she wanted to marry Mr. Cody Henson.
And that's exactly what Waldrup did on Saturday as she wed Henson, 29, after nearly two and a half years together, PEOPLE confirms exclusively. In front of an intimate group of guests, Waldrup, 34, walked down the aisle of Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Folly Beach, South Carolina to marry the man she has long called her "knight in shining armor."
"They say if it rains on your wedding day it's good luck,'" Waldrup told PEOPLE mere hours before making the trek from Nashville to the South Carolina coast in a brand new, 12 bunk bus provided by Star Master Coaches. "I guess when you have a pandemic happening during your wedding day, it's good luck tenfold."
The beaming bride wore an Essense of Australia dress that she found on a shopping trip with her mom at Bella Bride Boutique in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this year. The dress featured a skinny plunge sweetheart neckline, a French lace-inspired bodice and cascading, off-the-shoulder straps.
"I said a prayer on the morning we went shopping that we would find the dress," recalls Waldrup, who tried on over 25 dresses before picking her dream one. "We found it the next day and it really was a 'that's it' kind of moment! The dress was just perfect."
With makeup by Bailey Cole & MAC Cosmetics and hair by Jennifer Murphy, Waldrup seemingly floated down the aisle to the altar that was surrounded by lush and full arrangements of white, ivory, blush and lavender blooms with mixed greenery designed exclusively by Roadside Blooms Floral. The "Me Again" singer held a bouquet of seasonal white, ivory and blush blooms with spring green greenery.
Waiting for her at the end of the aisle was not only her fiancé donning a Jos. A. Bank tuxedo, but also Father Michael Fye, who flew from Nashville, Tennessee, to Charleston to marry the couple at the small church on the beach. Twenty-eight family and friends watched along with a wedding party of six, with the bridesmaids in Azazie.
Indeed, Waldrup and Henson's shared faith was highlighted within the ceremony of marriage as the two partook in an old Croatian tradition in which both the bride and groom intertwined their hands while holding a single crucifix as the priest exclaimed, "You have found your cross! It is a cross to love, to carry with you, a cross that is not to be thrown off, but rather cherished."
Proudly showing off wedding rings from Walton's Jewelry (for the bride) and Brentwood Jewelry (for the groom), Waldrup and Henson proceeded to enjoy a romantic beach soirée at The Tides Folly Beach, with everyone in attendance during the reception dining on a selection of mahi, shrimp bucatini, herb-marinated chicken and filet mignon. The wedding cake featured toppers from Waldrup's grandmother's cake.
Naturally, music was a pivotal piece of the day, as the couple danced their first dance to the romantic Luke Combs' song "Beautiful Crazy," followed by an energizing set from OtherBrother Entertainment's DJ Ede. Fellow musician and Waldrup's dear friend Bailey Cole also sang at the romantic reception.
All in all, it ended up being a picture-perfect day. And while the pandemic certainly made wedding planning a "roller coaster of unexpected turns," the couple says it ultimately made their union even stronger.
"It was unpredictable and ever-changing, but we united more because we had to lean on each other," recalls Waldrup, whose new single "I Go By Jane Doe" is set for worldwide release on Oct. 30. "It has allowed me to appreciate Cody's love so much more because he is so constant, so stable, so genuine. It's great to see that even though I've been a hot mess!"
"Planning for our wedding day really was like running a marathon," adds Henson lovingly. "Our endurance came from growing together and we still got married in the middle of this mess! I wouldn't change a thing. We are stronger for it!"
It's a strength that has been building since the day the two met on Valentine's Day at The Southern in Nashville in 2017.
And yes, from the moment the two shared their first kiss to the starlit December night in 2019 in which they got engaged, these two knew they were made for each other.
"He's a real country guy," Waldrup says of Henson, who serves as the manager of specialized staffing delivery at the largest industrial staffing company in the United States. "From the toolbox on his pickup truck to a green thumb in the garden, he really is a genuine country, simple guy. I love that about him. He loves his dog and his girl and that works for me."
The newlyweds will now spend a couple of days enjoying some much-deserved relaxation time in Folly Beach, South Carolina before heading north to Myrtle Beach. Currently, the couple plans to embark in January of 2021 on an international honeymoon, including "a few days" in Cozumel and Tulum, Mexico.
And while neither knows what life might hold for them just around the corner, they know that they shared faith will see them through.
"Our faith in God together is so very important," remarks Waldrup. "We both trust in Him and that allows us to have quite a foundation to start our lives on."
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