Ohhhh weddings….typically fun and joyous events. They are the perfect excuse to throw the biggest party of your life and create memories of a lifetime. But when you’re the one in charge, they can become stressful. Determined to enjoy EVERY part of the process, we ultimately knew choosing a destination wedding was the way to go! (Need some tips?)

I don’t know when I started dreaming about my future wedding, but I always knew I wanted it to be EPIC. I just knew that I would either be really rich or marry really rich, and budget wouldn’t be an issue. My future wedding would be somewhere like Fiji and we would be able to charter a plane for all of our closest family and friends. Alas, that is not quite how things worked out.

Speaking of family and friends, the desire to have as many of them as possible at your big day can be the biggest hurdle to overcome in the planning stages of any wedding. I have a large extended family and so does my husband. We don’t all stay in touch throughout the year, but I began to feel an obligation that this, OUR wedding, had to essentially be that year’s family reunion.

My planning began to look like this: What location benefits most people? What time of year is best for the majority? Where could most people get to for a reasonably priced plane ticket? Is it fair to ask people to leave the country? How much of a heads up do we owe them? Do we just give in and do it in my hometown?

You know what this led too? Non-excitement. I was a few months into planning our September wedding in Vancouver, Canada with little elation. I began to wonder if it was my gut telling me that I wasn’t ready to get married, because it surely wasn’t supposed to feel like this…like a chore. I pondered for days.

And then, it hit me…I was excited about my marriage but not about my wedding. The problem was my true wants and desires didn’t match the majority that I was trying to please. OUR wedding was becoming about other people. And while you want your loved ones to enjoy your special day, it’s not about them.

So after I scared my poor husband with a conversation that started with “I’m not excited about getting married,” we sent out an email to our closest friends and family that went something like “Hey, we’ve decided to switch our wedding location to Aruba and we’ve bumped up the date to June. Hope you can make it!” (Here’s some tips on how I pulled it off.)

Now, I’m not recommending this is how you go about it. The point, though, is that it’s important to have the wedding of YOUR dreams (and within your budget.) It is hard to feel like you’re excluding people. It’s hard to let people down. It can be hard to say “no.” But the people who truly support your union will understand that it’s simply not about them.

Your wedding should represent YOU. It should celebrate, showcase and introduce “the world” to the things that make you unique as a couple. Be in control of your big day. Sure your guest list may be smaller, but the people who are supposed to be there will be there.

For us, Aruba was the perfect place because it was a new adventure. We not only got to share a day, but a whole week with our loved ones. It was so fun to watch our families bond in ways that would have never happened with a traditional ceremony. (Most of them stayed in a big house under one roof!) We got to spoil the ones who were there. And, there was still so much time (and space) for us to get away as a couple and just enjoy the island together.

Whether it’s far away, less formal or more traditional, choose to celebrate your union in a way that’s AUTHENTICALLY you!