Christmas came early for Lauren Alaina at the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night when Trisha Yearwood delivered the ultimate holiday surprise.
Her voice quivering from unshed tears, Yearwood asked Alaina to become the next member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Alaina went to her knees in the Opry’s famous circle before Yearwood could finish the question.
“I felt like Bambi,” she told PEOPLE following the invitation. “My knees … all of a sudden, I [had] to get closer to the floor. Then it was, ’There’s a slit in my dress, stand back up.’ That’s all I could think.”
Yearwood told her the invitation was like a marriage proposal – she had to say yes.
“Yes!” Alaina said without hesitation.
The country singer’s parents were shocked by the invite, too. Her mother already planned to be there, and her dad thought he was coming for an end-of-year wrap party to celebrate his daughter’s success in 2021. Playing on the Opry’s stage was always a dream for her father – one Alaina made happen this summer when she brought him up to play his banjo with her. Her mother told her Saturday night that she dreamed that Alaina would become a member on the way to the show.
It was Alaina’s dream, too. When she started working with her manager Trisha McClanahan, seven years ago, the women made a list of career goals they wanted to accomplish. Becoming an Opry member was at the top of this list – along with winning a major award, get a No. 1 song, expanding her acting career, and writing a book. Alaina’s Hallmark movie “Roadhouse Romance” came out earlier this year. She’s charted three No. 1 songs. And she released her book “Getting Good at Being You” earlier this month.
Becoming an Opry member was the last item to check off her list.
“We kept saying we had to make a new list of goals, and I have not wanted to do it because I had not gotten this one,” Alaina told People. “It feels good. Now, I’ve got to make some new goals. This is the best Christmas present I could ever get.”