Dear Rachel,

I recently got engaged and am in the process of planning my dream wedding. The problem is that my ideal wedding seems to be turning out as a nightmare for everyone else. Recently the big rage has been having destination weddings and I have always thought it would be incredible to get married on the beaches in Hawaii. I understand it is an expense for people to travel and that is why we didn't invite anyone other than our closest friends and family. But I just found out that a number of our family members can't travel that far and really can't afford it. On the one hand it is very important for me to have them there, but on the other hand this is my special day and I feel it should be the way I want it. What do you suggest?

Disappointed Bride

Dear Disappointed Bride,

I think to varying degrees every little girl grows up dreaming about her wedding day and how she wants to celebrate it. And there is no question that this is your special day and having it as perfect as possible is absolutely what you should strive for. However, there are many different definitions of perfect, and perhaps you should consider expanding yours.

Having a destination wedding has definitely been the recent rage. Yet, as endless articles and advice columns can testify, it has raised a number of issues as well, one major one that you are currently facing. When you choose to have your wedding far away from your family and friends, you are essentially forcing people either to have to pay a large expense to attend, or to forfeit having them at your wedding.

Now there is not always an alternative option. If a woman in New York marries a man in Australia, at least one side of the family and friends will have a very expensive trip and hours of travel. So for some couples they choose a spot in between, but in most cases that seems to just inconvenience both sides rather than one.

In your case it seems that your destination wedding is not out of necessity but out of preference as that has been your dream to be married on the sands in Hawaii. Yet in doing so, it looks like you will be under the chuppah (wedding canopy) without some dear family members in attendance.

There are many different definitions of perfect, and perhaps you should consider expanding yoursTraditionally, a Jewish wedding is not a personal affair that involves only the bride and groom but rather a communal affair. In many Chassidic communities the chuppah and dancing is open to anyone and everyone who can attend even though the meals may be reserved for a smaller number due to the expenses involved. But the point is that when a Jewish bride and groom marry, it is a celebration for all as it is the beginning of a new lifeline.

I remember at my own wedding being asked by some non-Jewish friends why the men and women were dancing separately. They couldn't understand why we didn't have our first dance as a couple and why we wouldn't want to be spending the entire wedding party together. I explained to them that our wedding was a time to celebrate with our friends and family. We wanted to be able to focus on them and share our happiness together, not for them to merely be spectators at our affair.

There is even a commandment to bring joy to the bride and groom. That is why guests traditionally go to great lengths to entertain the couple and make the affair a lively one filled with celebration. I explained that it was not just about us as a couple but about us as part of a community. Following the wedding party, it was only my husband and me who were heading home. We had the rest of our lives to celebrate together…but our wedding was to celebrate with everyone else.

You have a tough choice to make, but maybe you can have the best of both worlds. If it is difficult for close family to attend your wedding, maybe you should consider having the wedding where people can make it, and then you could plan a trip to Hawaii for just you and your husband. There is no question that after the wedding, when all the stress is over, you will enjoy those Hawaiin sands much more than with the pre wedding anxiety and details to take care of!

If you are absolutely set on keeping it in Hawaii, maybe see if there is a way you could help pay for the travel and accommodations of those who can't make it or perhaps consider holding a wedding celebration party back in your hometown when you return.

No matter what you decide, do try to remember though that a wedding is not just about the two of you. Of course you are the stars of the day and you should enjoy every minute of it, but your wedding should also be something that those who love and care about you are able to celebrate with you. So I hope you are able to have a dream wedding, even if it ends up being a slightly different version of the dream you currently have in mind!

Much luck,