Country music star Ty Herndon, 61, just tied the knot with Alex Schwartz before a crowd of 300 on a farm in Chapmansboro, just outside Nashville. The ceremony, which took place on Aug. 26, was officiated by Melissa Greene, a vocalist formerly with the Christian group Avalon. Herndon told People he chose the outdoor wedding venue because he and Schwartz “wanted a space that could accommodate our eclectic group of friends and family to celebrate love, life and our future together. … We knew we wanted something that captured our personalities, and we fell in love with this place as soon as we saw it.”
Both Herndon and Schwartz honored lost loved ones during the ceremony. Herndon set a photo of his father, who died many years ago, on a table next to a photo of Schwartz’s brother, who is also deceased. Then both of their mothers lit a unity candle at that table symbolizing the joining of the two families.
“It created a very special moment to help us remember those who couldn’t be with us to celebrate this day,” Herndon told People.
The couple wanted to offer their guests a southern feast so the meal, catered by Al’s Diner and Deli, consisted of pork and chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and macaroni and cheese. For dessert, there was a three-tiered almond butter crème and blueberry lemon wedding cake, as well as an ice cream and chocolate station.
“I love his goofiness, his heart, his loyalty, the way he looks at me, the way he holds me, and the way I feel safe with him,” Herndon told People about Schwartz. “And I pray to God that I am all those things to him. He has taught me how to love better and how to be a better human.”
Herndon was previously married from 1993 to 2002. He came out as gay in 2014 and was linked to Matt Collum for several years. The couple broke up in 2021 and Herndon met Schwartz at a dinner party through a mutual friend. The couple dated for about six months before becoming engaged.
Guests at the wedding included actress Kristen Chenowitz and TV legend Sally Struthers. Members of the wedding party included Michael Passons, formerly of Avalon, former GLAAD Vice President Zeke Stokes and Erik Halbig, Herndon’s producer and guitarist.
Herndon broke out on the country music scene in 1995 with a smash called “What Mattered Most” that made it all the way to the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart. In 2019, Herndon rerecorded the song and changed the lyrics to reflect his sexuality.
Herndon told NPR in a 2019 interview that singing the song, written about a female, was difficult for him to do, and that he had to conjure up images of his mother and father’s relationship when he sang it.
“That’s how I made it a living, breathing thing for me when I would perform it,” Herndon said. “But at the time, I was also in a relationship with a beautiful boy. His hair was long and his eyes were blue. So, I did think about him quite a bit.”