One song, one marriage proposal, one "yes." That's all Chris Lane had in mind when he wrote "Big, Big Plans" as his own personal soundtrack to pop the question to Lauren Bushnell in her parents' Oregon back yard last year. Happily, it all went according to plan, and the couple married in October.
But once Lane began performing the song live and then released it as a single, he experienced the unexpected — reports of other romantic guys following his lead and using it for their own proposals.
"The next thing I know," Lane tells PEOPLE, "we're getting all these requests for guys to propose to their girlfriends on stage at the show."
Lane cheerfully obliged, and the 35-year-old artist has now compiled lots of the heart-soaring highlights in a new lyric video that PEOPLE is premiering exclusively.
Before he was pulled off the road by the pandemic, Lane followed the same drill at least 20 times, stopping mid-song to introduce one flustered fella and his momentarily clueless girlfriend.
"I absolutely love the moment," Lane says. "I looked forward to it every single night. It's a very sweet moment … and on top of that, it's funny to watch other guys because I know how it was for me when I proposed and I blacked out. I don't really remember anything. But proposing on stage is even a much different level than what I did, and I feel like it takes some guts to bring somebody up there and get down on your knee."
Wife Lauren, 30, has often joined Chris on the road, and she's had just as much fun witnessing the moments and reliving her own. "Even when thousands of people are watching them on stage, you can just tell that they kind of forget where they are," she says, joining her husband for a Zoom interview. "I remember that feeling of when it happens, like everything around you just disappears and you kind of forget where you are, who's there. It doesn't even matter."
The Lanes recently marked the one-year anniversary of their own proposal, though Lauren sheepishly confesses the June 16 date slipped past her. "I think someone on Instagram reminded me," she says. "And I was like, oh yeah, that was a year ago. It's just that time has gone by so fast. I can't believe it's already been a year since we got engaged!"
Of course, so much has happened in that year. Besides their wedding, the couple also bought and moved into a new house in Nashville, all the while keeping to a packed touring schedule. That ground to a halt back in March, and the couple has since been finding a different rhythm quarantined in their new home.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time it has really just been us two," Chris reports, and the newlyweds say they've been enjoying all this unplanned downtime.
"We didn't expect to spend every waking moment together," he says, "but I have absolutely loved it. It's been special, for sure, and we have so much fun together."
Their legions of Instagram followers can attest to that, as post after post reveals what's been keeping them entertained. Lauren has taken up Chris' passion for golf and developed her own killer chip shot. Her vegetable garden is already producing tomatoes, cucumber and squash, while Chris has been working on landscaping and polishing his cooking and grilling skills.
Their adorable beagle-hound mix, Cooper, has also provided lots of diversion. The couple playfully banter over who is the bigger "helicopter parent."
"We can't even leave our dog at home for two hours without Chris being like, 'Oh, should we take him? Is he going to be okay?'" says Lauren. "I'm like, he's fine. He probably wants some alone time!"
Chris parries, noting the dog "could literally just be sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing, and she's like, 'Oh wow, what a good boy.' It's like, he didn't really do anything. He was just sitting there!"
"I say, 'I'm really proud of you,'" Lauren corrects, allowing that "we definitely spoil him."
The quarantine also has ushered in significant tonsorial developments: Not only did Chris shave his beard back in early May to support a relief fund for out-of-work barbers, but he's also been enlisting Lauren to cut his hair.
The epic shave was the first time Lauren had seen her husband without his beard, and initially "it was just kind of shocking," she says. "I felt like I was looking at maybe the college version of Chris. But then, obviously a couple of days later, I got used to it."
The singer is now wearing the beard in a short stubble, and "that's my favorite length," says Lauren.
In mid-May, Lauren restored her husband's trademark fade with barber's trimmers and a few YouTube video lessons.
Chris says his leap of faith really wasn't that far. "Even if she messed it up, I wear a hat 99 percent of the time anyways, so I wasn't super-nervous about it," he says. "I kept telling her the whole time she was doing it, you can't physically mess my hair up. Like, I'm not going to care either way. I'm married now! It don't matter."
The expanse of time has given the couple other opportunities: Chris has been working on new music "to get as many great songs as possible, so I can hit it really hard when we're allowed to." And Lauren, who has influencer-marketing partnerships with several companies, has been seriously considering her next professional steps.
"I would love nothing more than to own my own business one day," she says, "but I just want to make sure it's something that I love, kind of like with Chris. He wakes up every day just excited about what he's doing."
The Lanes also are candid about their eagerness to start a family; in an Instagram post on Wednesday, Lauren opened up about how they "get asked when we are having kids ALL the time," and she offered gratitude for a husband who prays with her for their day to come.
"Who knows when that'll happen?" Chris tells PEOPLE. "We, 100 percent, want to make sure we are prepared for that when it does happen."
"I feel like we're prepared," Lauren says.
"Yeah," Chris agrees. "I think we're prepared, so fingers crossed. We'll see."
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