When country singer Sierra Black was 14 years old, she penned a handwritten letter to her future husband, which she read aloud to Ryan Growney on their wedding day.
What Black didn’t anticipate was the overwhelming response the sweet note would garner after the couple’s wedding video by The Film Poets went viral last month. But at the same time, the singer was speaking from the heart, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that it has resonated so deeply with fans.
“I found the letter about a month before we had gotten married,” she tells The Knot. “I was at my parents’ house going through some old journals to get some songwriting ideas. When I had opened it, a piece of paper fell out on the floor. I picked it up, unfolded it and immediately went back to that night in my room when I wrote it. I was 14 and dreaming of my wedding day, which I did often. I am such a hopeless romantic and I spent countless hours thinking about who I would marry. Honestly, when I was reading the letter, I was a little shocked that it fit exactly how I feel about Ryan.”
In the letter, a young Black wondered sweetly who her future husband would be, and what their wedding day would be like.
“I don’t know anything about who you are, your story, or why your path crossed mine,” the letter begins. “But I do know I am so lucky. I’ve been waiting for you all my life. I will love, cherish, respect and stand by your side the rest of our lives. I know that I am a better person because of you.”
Black went on to place her utmost confidence in her mystery man, calling him her “best friend, protector, & [her] most handsome man.”
“I’m sure our lives will be difficult at times but you must always remember that I not only loved you when I met you but I’ve loved you my whole life,” she continued. “The love I have for you I can’t even explain but know I love all of you. I’m sitting in my bed writing this. If you’re reading it I guess it’s our wedding day!”
Black tells The Knot that she can recall the exact moment she saw and met her now-husband, Ryan Growney, just as clearly as she can remember penning the heartfelt letter.
“We were at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas watching the National Finals Rodeo,” she says. “My best friend had pointed out Ryan to me and quite honestly, my jaw dropped. He was in a cowboy hat, sport coat and he looked darn good. I thought he was so handsome but I didn’t think there was a chance he was from Vegas. To my surprise, he was!”
Black’s best friend bet her $100 that she wouldn’t dare approach Growney, but the singer boldly took her up on the bet and went over to say hello. The pair didn’t begin dating right away, however; they reconnected about eight months later, but just one month into their relationship, Black knew he was the one for her. (It didn’t hurt that Growney had an affinity for cowboy hats, something her 14-year-old self wondered aloud in the letter: “I wonder if you’re wearing a cowboy hat in our wedding?”)
The cowboy hat theme tied in naturally to their big day; Black calls the wedding aesthetic “cowboy glam.”
“I knew most men would be in boots and hats but I knew the ladies would want a night to get all dressed up,” she says. “Pompous grass, greenery and metallics were the decor theme. I wanted the ballroom to feel warm, romantic and ethereal.”
Though the pair don’t regularly exchange letters (“we are more of a ‘random acts of love’ couple,” she tells The Knot), they did write letters in place of personalized vows for their wedding day, a beautiful way to bring the written expressions of love full circle.
“After reading Ryan’s letter, I was so glad they were kept private, because his was way better than mine,” the “Make It Easy” singer tells us. “We send cards to each other on birthdays and anniversaries, but we don’t write letters often. … Grocery store flowers and snickers go a long way in our house!”
Black even found another way to commemorate their enduring love: through song. Her latest single, “Make It Easy,” was sparked in large part by her easy relationship with Growney and her excitement for the years to come.
“‘Make It Easy’ just unfolded when we sat down to write into this amazing love ballad,” she says. “Mark Bright, Chris Stevens, and I spent about six hours one day laughing and talking about being in love. I was not yet engaged, but I knew that I was going to marry Ryan. It’s an honest love song, meaning that we know love isn’t perfect and life isn’t perfect but because I’m loved and in love, it makes it easy.”
And in the same way that she’s been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from fans who see her wedding video as a sign of “hope” that they, too, will find their soulmate, Black says it’s meant so much to her to “see it resonate with so many other men and women.”
“It shows not only how much it speaks to me, but the world at large,” she says. “As a songwriter it’s important for me to speak my truth, but I also want to relate to those who are listening. That’s what makes music amazing: people from everywhere feel the same emotion.”