On Memorial Day 1966, Dolly married Carl Dean in Ringgold, GA. The only people to attend the small service were Dolly’s mother, Avie Lee Parton, the preacher of the ceremony and his wife.
The couple had met two years earlier in Nashville. Dolly recalls the first time they talked outside the Wishy Washy Laundromat. She was 18 and he was 21. She said,
“I was surprised and delighted that while he talked to me, he looked at my face (a rare thing for me). He seemed to be genuinely interested in finding out who I was and what I was about.”
Carl prefers to stay in the background and is rarely seen with Dolly. During an interview with People Magazine, Dolly said,
"We're completely opposite, but that's what makes it fun. I never know what he's gonna say or do. He's always surprising me. My husband is a good man, first of all. He's a deep person, but he has a great and warped sense of humor. He makes me laugh and entertains me. He's very secure within himself."
When asked what the two do for fun, Dolly said,
"We like to get out in our little RV and just be simple. I love to read, I love to cook, I love to be with my husband. I put on my little comfy clothes – I call them my baby clothes – and we just relax."