ERIN GO BRAGH / by Elizabeth Leese

On the 26th of July, I will be marrying my best friend at the Borris House in County Carlow, Ireland. Every last bit of it feels like a dream, but somehow I wake up and I still have a gorgeous ring on my finger and a voicemail from my Irish wedding coordinator bidding me, “All the best, Elizabeth!”

Our decision to have a destination wedding has made our engagement breezy, but our wedding decisions do not come without an explanation. No, neither of us are Irish and no, it won’t be our first time to go. Generally, my answer to the why question is, “Have you seen the place?” The roadsides of Ireland put our gardens to shame, not to mention the people and villages are far more picturesque than one could possibly imagine. Beautiful as it may be, there is much more to consider when a couple chooses to have a destination wedding.

It is obvious in this day and age that weddings are an industry. My industry, in fact. I love everything about them and it’s my dream to make wedding dresses for the rest of my life! But Hunter and I believe the real focus and concern is the marriage, not the wedding. After the glitter and confetti settles, it's going to be about our life together. Like any other little girl, I had always pictured a huge Cinderella wedding in a castle. Now that day is here, and I find myself overwhelmed at the thought of having 200 pairs of eyes on me as I walk down the aisle and recite intimate vows. And because I'm still in college, I do not need to lose my mind planning party favors while also trying to finish math homework. My nervous sweats can only handle so much.

Hunter and I simply asked ourselves what we wanted and this was it! A stress-free, simplistic wedding in a place that was significant to us. "Imagine that," a woman said to me, "actually enjoying your engagement!" I've scrapped all "wedding checklists" and haven't picked up a single bride magazine to confirm traditions or this season's colors. This day will be totally our own. I might not even wear a veil. Having a destination wedding does not come without the sacrifice of family and friends being unable to come, but I know we will always love our decision to have a small wedding. And even though my wedding fantasy looks a little different now, I still get my Cinderella wedding in a castle!