This is truly it for country singer Scotty McCreery and his high school sweetheart Gabi Dugal. The long-lasting couple married last month in their native North Carolina, over a four-day wedding weekend that ranged from comical and heartfelt to downright emotional, especially on the wedding day itself.
“Early morning, I woke up and spent three hours up on the cliffs,” McCreery, 24, tells The Knot in an exclusive interview. “I finished my vows and did my Bible study.” What he didn’t expect was the influx of emotion he would process throughout the day. “The first look was a big one for me. I wasn’t sure I was going to tear up until then, and then it all kind of all hit me,” he says. “Seeing her walk down the aisle was another.”
So impactful was the ceremony itself—held at the Twickenham House nestled above the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina—that McCreery decided to package private footage from the invite-only event, and transformed it into the music video for his latest single, “This Is It.”
“They did a great job with capturing all the emotion,” he muses. “I hope fans see how fun of a wedding it was. The music video is very documentary-style… There are moments when you see me all emotional, and Gabi smiling and showing all 32 of her teeth.”
Adds Dugal, “The first look—I loved. I wasn’t sure because it wasn’t as traditional, but it was nice to get our nerves out before the ceremony.”
McCreery and Dugal, a pediatric nurse at nearby Duke Hospital, first met in grade school; In fact, she formed a crush on him immediately, and even wrote about McCreery in her diary at that tender young age—the evidence of her five-year-old handwriting which still exists. “Her diary in kindergarten… you’ll see ‘McCreery’ written all over it,” the singer laughs.
“I was a little obsessed with him,” she admits. “Yup. That definitely got put on blast at the wedding.”
Their lifelong camaraderie eventually turned romantic once they hit high school. “We grew through the ranks together,” he recalls. “Elementary school, middle school, high school. We were always around each other. We were friends.” At age 17, McCreery was crowned the season 10 winner of Idol in May 2011.
McCreery and Dugal both wanted their wedding weekend to be equal parts celebratory and focused on their religious backgrounds, an entire weekend for their beloved friends and family members to bond and swap stories about the pair. “We believe that Christ brought us together so it was a faith-based ceremony,” he says.
He sings about their two-decades-in-the-making love story and his September 2017 proposal in “This Is It.” The track itself is from his upcoming album, Seasons Change, and while McCreery has, indeed, welcomed new seasons, he’s settled into a comfortable familiarity with his love.
“With Scotty, he hasn’t changed with the fame,” Dugal says. “If anything, it’s made him more normal.” He adds of his wife: “One of the things I love most about Gabi is how independent and hardworking she is. She’s got dreams and aspirations—as do I—and she supports me and mine and I try to support her in reverse.”
To have the culmination of their wedding day documented in the form of a single was an especially powerful reminder of their story. “When the wedding day finally comes, don’t think. Just live,” he advises. “Be you, and don’t make decisions. Let everything else happen. Do your thing.”
“You go through the wedding planning process, it’s such a big scene these days,” Dugal adds. “But when the day comes around, I couldn’t tell you where exactly certain things were. It was most important that friends and family were there. Take the step back and enjoy the moment with everyone.”
Experience the couple’s wedding weekend in the world premiere of McCreery’s “This Is It” music video, above. Secure your ideal wedding vision by starting with The Knot’s Style Quiz, here.