Kellie Pickler surprised her friends -- and her fans -- when she flew to Antigua two weeks ago and eloped with songwriter Kyle Jacobs. The decision to abandon their lavish wedding plans and jet off to a romantic island to say 'I do' was, according to the new bride, the best way to start their lives together.

"We didn't have anything but us and God and our minister," Kellie tells People, "and I can't think of a word that can quite describe how perfect it was."

The two said their vows on a romantic secluded beach with a backdrop of the sun setting over the Caribbean Sea. Having the small, intimate ceremony, Kellie explains, put the focus back on what the ceremony meant for the happy couple. "When two people get married, it's not about the glamour," she notes. "It's about the bride and groom and God."

The couple became engaged in June while spending time in Florida on vacation, after dating for more than two years. But Kellie says she hoped early on that he was the one for her. "He makes me feel so, so great about myself," she tells The Boot. "I feel so beautiful when I'm with him. He always tells me he likes me better with no makeup on and sweatpants. He makes me feel the most beautiful when I'm with him."

The couple stayed in the Caribbean for their honeymoon. "Private Island. Caribbean. Cigar in one hand, Rum in the other," Kellie posted on her Twitter page on January 4. "Someone just called me "Mrs. Jacobs" ... sounds nice."

Kellie is now in the Persian Gulf performing for troops, as part of her ongoing involvement with USO tours. When she returns to Nashville, she will put the finishing touches on her new album, which will most likely include a few tunes from her songwriter husband.

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