Last night, country star Jana Kramer wowed the crowd on the Academy of Country Music Awards red carpet in a black-and-white chevron-printed plunging Jay Godfrey gown. But before her big debut, we got a look behind the scenes with the star as she was getting ready for her big night! Check out the exclusive photos and details, below.
Prepping for the star-studded night was an all-day affair for Kramer and her glam squad. “It took a little bit longer [to get ready] here, just because of the logistics of the Dallas Stadium,” she tells PEOPLE. “So we got ready pretty early this morning, put my hair up in curlers. And then we went to a [private box in the stadium] and got ready there, so probably a total of about three hours. Way too long, because it usually takes me about 30 to 40 minutes!”
But for a big award show like the ACM Awards, Kramer and her team wanted everything to be perfect, which is why they began planning for the night months in advance. “I start planning a red carpet look at least three months in advance,” Kramer’s stylist Lo VonRumpf explains. “I attend New York Fashion Week to get inspired, and then develop mood boards for us to narrow down the ‘look’ and feel ahead of time. It’s always nice to plan ahead.”
And for last night’s show, VonRumpf brought quite a few options for Kramer to pick from — 15, to be exact. “On average, I usually pull 30 to 40 options,” he says. “We tried on about 15 options. I love Jana to have lots of options — a variety of colors, style, silhouette and texture keep our fitting fresh. We drink wine, play dress up and have fun with it!”
So what was the dress of choice? “I wore a Jay Godfrey dress; it was definitely something way different than I’ve ever worn before,” Kramer says. “I haven’t really worn a lot of prints, so to wear the chevron was definitely something different for my look, but I was super excited about it because I like taking risks in the fashion world. When I saw it on the rack of the dresses I knew I wanted to wear that one for sure, and then when I put it on it fit great!”
Kramer accessorized the gown with a pair of white Stuart Weitzman sandals, Leticia Linton jewels and a bejeweled Swarovski clutch. “The dress is a statement in itself, so I wanted to keep the accessories monochromatic and simple,” VonRumpf says. “Leticia Linton was the perfect designer to go with. I chose black and white diamond earrings paired with an oversized white diamond ring with a beautiful stone. It still had the bling on the carpet, but was chic and fashion-forward.”
But the star’s favorite accessory of the night? Her sparkling engagement ring, of course! “It’s a halo, with diamonds all around the sides, it really sparkles from every angle — Jack Kelege designed it, and, for me, it’s just the perfect ring,” she tells PEOPLE. “[Fiancé Michael Caussin] really did an amazing job picking it out. It’s very classy and elegant [but] it could have just been a band. I just want to be married to him — I don’t care how big the rock is.”
As for the star’s hair and makeup, her beauty guru Lindsay Doyle kept the look soft and feminine. “It started with the fabulous dress, and then it was a collaboration from there,” she says.
And Kramer agrees — it really was all about the dress. “I just wanted [the makeup] to be soft; you don’t want [the makeup] to be too costume-y, especially with such a busy print,” Kramer explains. “So my hairstylist did really soft curls, flat-ironed the curls through and then did a bolder eye and a softer lip, to make more the focus the dress.”
So now she’s got one big event behind her, with two more to go: She’ll also be headlining the CMT Next Women of Country Tour beginning next week — and there is that little detail of her extremely imminent wedding.
“[Wedding] planning is going really good. We’re almost done. We’re getting married within the next 30 something days, so it’s definitely crunch time,” she tells PEOPLE. “We’re getting all of our feedback and we’ve got to put the seating charts together. At the end of the day, I don’t care as long as each of us are happy.”