Country star DIERKS BENTLEY has married in time for Christmas (25DEC05) after eloping to wed his high school sweetheart at the weekend (18DEC05).

The singer/songwriter exchanged vows with longtime girlfriend Cassidy in Mexico.

Then the Phoenix, Arizona, natives flew to Nashville, Tennessee, to relay the happy news to friends before jetting to Colorado, where they'll reportedly spend Christmas with their family.

It has been a great end to 2005 for Bentley, who was presented with the Horizon Award at the Country Music Association Awards show in New York last month (NOV05).