Payton Smith Is Engaged! Country Star Proposes to Hannah Wooten: 'I've Known She Was the One' – PEOPLE
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Payton Smith is looking forward to forever!
It was a night filled with love and country music on Monday when the country star proposed to his girlfriend Hannah Wooten at the Grand Ole Opry, PEOPLE can exclusively reveal.
Smith, 21, tells PEOPLE he really started to "feel the nerves" ahead of the big moment when he stepped onto The Circle.
"At that point, every part of my body was shaking. But the moment she said 'yes,' my nerves faded away and I immediately felt this sense of gratefulness," he says of Wooten, 22. "I'm just so thankful that I get to spend my life with a girl like Hannah, someone that loves The Lord and loves me the way that she does."
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Wooten, who will graduate from Lipscomb University this coming weekend, says she had no idea the proposal was happening.
"He told me he had to come out to the Opry for an interview and that I should tag along and we would go look at Christmas lights afterward," she says.
Luckily, her mother warned her ahead of time to dress up for the occasion, "It's funny because I wasn't going to get dressed up to come out here with him, but my mom convinced me to put on a dress and look cute to come with him and now I'm glad she did!"
On their way to the event, the couple says they ran into traffic, which had Wooten nervous Smith would miss his "interview."
"We were stuck in traffic on our way here. Before I picked Hannah up from her house, I was banging on the steering wheel and yelling at other drivers to move out of my way," the "Run Girl" singer says. "Then once I picked up Hannah, she was worried I was going to be late for my 'interview' at the Opry."
Wooten adds, "I'm majoring in event planning and when someone tells you a certain time to be somewhere, you have to be there. I was stressed for him and even said, 'The Opry is going to be so upset you're late. You need to call them and tell them that we're stuck in traffic, but we'll be there in five minutes!'"
The couple met when they were 15 years old and remained distant friends ever since. Fast forward to February 2020, when Smith made his Opry debut, Wooten happened to be sitting in the audience. They began dating shortly after.
To the couple, this was an act of fate and what made the Grand Ole Opry the perfect location for the occasion.
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"I've known she was the one since I was 15. She's always had this thing about her … something different; and I've never felt this way about anyone else," he says. "The night of my Opry Debut, Hannah was watching from the side stage and that's the night when we rekindled our friendship. But seeing her there that night, I had this feeling that I was going to marry her one day."
Smith also says that both of their parents were married young, so it "doesn't seem crazy" to get married at ages 21 and 22. "We just get to start our life earlier and do it together!"
What they're most looking forward to? Smith says he can't wait to "grow old with his best friend" and to "raise a family together." Meanwhile, Wooten says she's "excited to live in the same house and be around each other all the time."
"She's always supported me in what I do and I will always be there to support her in whatever she does," Smith says. "It's cool to see what God put on our hearts when we were younger."
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