updated 01/11/2011 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/12/2011 AT 7:55 AM ET
The couple were in the thick of putting together a glamorous Nashville event when suddenly they realized bigger wasn’t better – and that they were getting lost in the process.
“When two people get married, it’s not about the glamour,” Pickler, 24, tells PEOPLE. “It’s about the bride and groom and God.”
So, bride and groom decided to elope to a heavenly spot in Antigua, where they married as the sun set over the Caribbean Sea.
“We didn’t have anything but us and God and our minister,” Pickler says of the ceremony, “and I can’t think of a word that can quite describe how perfect it was.”
For all about Pickler’s island wedding, including more photos, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday