There may not be anyone more prepared to plan a wedding than Harmony Walton. She's the founder of The Bridal Bar (a resource for engaged couples and wedding vendors alike), the host of an IHeartRadio show, and the writer behind Jet Fête, a destination wedding blog. She's seen it all, knows everyone in the industry, and has helped shape the world of weddings through her consulting business. Long story short: Harmony was well-equipped when it came time to meet her partner, Bayo Ajigbotafe, at the altar.
Harmony and Bayo first met on Tinder—and thanks to the dating app's algorithm, soon found eager travel partners in one another and spent four years of circling the globe together. In August of 2018, Harmony headed Cartagena, Colombia, for a wedding industry conference and Bayo tagged along. "We'd been there together before, and it's one of our favorite cities on Earth," she says. After the conference, they decided to extend their stay and spend a long weekend at Casa San Agustin, capping it off with an intimate dinner for two at Alma. "When it was time for dessert, the band started to play 'Hotel California' by The Eagles, and a waiter brought me a love letter on a silver tray," Harmony recalls. "As I read the letter, Bayo got down on one knee!" The restaurant erupted into applause, and Harmony's dear friend Carmen Laborin (a wedding pro from Mexico!) popped out, revealing the plan that she and Bayo had put together—hidden photographer and all. "To celebrate, we rounded up our friends and hit the nightclubs, where we danced until dawn," she says.
After enjoying their engagement through the end of 2018, Harmony and Bayo decided to start planning a destination wedding and set a date for May 10, 2019. "We wound up putting our entire wedding together in just two and a half months," she reveals. To make that happen, Harmony called on her rolodex of talented wedding pros, whom she also calls dear friends. On the team? Marcy Blum Associates as wedding planners and James x Schulze behind the lens. And the location: the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea! "We wanted a place that was tropical and would really feel like a vacation for our guests, but was also an easy flight for our west coast families, and a Hawaiian wedding was the perfect choice," Harmony explains. "It didn't hurt that we'd spent our dating anniversary at the resort two years earlier!"
For the wedding, the couple envisioned a romantic evening overlooking the water and used tones of pale blue, mauve, silver, rose gold, and light pink to soften the tropical setting. The resulting celebration was chock-full of personal details, from hand-written notes to each guest at dinner to the bride's extra-emotional first dance with her father. Keep reading to see more of the pro's special touches, below!
"It was important to us to show our guests a great time from start to finish with good food, great service, and an amazing setting," Harmonys says. "The Four Seasons did just that!" She and Bayo especially loved the ceremony site and reception lawn, which overlooked the ocean but meant they didn't have to have a "beach wedding." "I didn't want my toes—or my dress!—in the sand on my wedding day," she adds with a laugh.
"Choosing my dress was the easiest part of planning," says the bride. "I've known Hayley Paige for many years, and I love her style as much as I love her as a person. I was meant to wear one of her dresses!" Harmony and Hayley originally planned to create a custom gown, but it was love at first sight when Harmony spotted the Lumi gown while collecting inspiration for their design. The pale blue gown combined flowing sleeves, a V-neck bodice, and a full tulle skirt with star embellishments. "We created a unique bustle and adjusted the neckline to make mine," Harmony says. "Hayley even embellished a corset bra that perfectly peeked through the bodice. I know I'll wear that bra again and again!" Hayley also made the trip to Hawaii to help Harmony into her dream dress—and attend the wedding as a guest.
In keeping with the romantic theme, Harmony carried a loose bouquet of dahlias, peonies, roses, sea holly, and greenery tied together with a silk ribbon.
Bayo donned a classic black tuxedo from The Black Tux for the ceremony, then changed into a white dinner jacket for the reception. "We liked the idea of a wardrobe change, but I loved my dress too much to wear a second one," Harmony admits. "So Bayo changed instead!"
"Finding the flower girl dresses was probably the hardest thing we did," Harmony admits. "They ranged in age from a year-and-a-half to 11 years old, so picking something that looked good on all of them was pretty time-consuming." They looked adorable in the end, with each girl in a white high-low dress, gold shoes, and a crown of pink roses.
Bayo and Harmony wed under two giant plumeria trees, with the ocean in the background. "The space is so naturally beautiful, so we just used a bit of greenery and some floral garlands around the trunks of the trees to dress them up," says the bride. Guests were seated in the round, surrounding the couple with their loved ones and creating an intimate feeling overall.
Harmony's walk down the aisle with her father was especially sentimental: "My dad was in a coma last year, and is now handicapped," she says. "He was determined to walk me down the aisle, and with the help of a flower-clad walker, he did!" That meant there wasn't a dry eye in the house before Ali Phillips—friend, officiant, and wedding planner—had even started the ceremony. "We completed very detailed questionnaires and each wrote a list of vows (some serious, some funny) that she turned into a sweet and personal ceremony," says Harmony. "She incorporated the details of our story, advice as a married woman herself, and really special vows that she compiled from what we'd sent her."
After the ceremony, the newlyweds took time to relish in the moment and pose for some portraits around the resort. (This is when Bayo changed jackets!)
Meanwhile, the couple's guests signed the guest book and helped themselves to pineapple-themed favors. "We had a 'Pick Your Pineapple' favor bar, where guests could choose their favorite gift," says the bride of her DIY project. Choices included pineapple dress socks, candles, bottle openers, and journals. The guest book was a watercolor map of Hawaii, on which attendees left love notes for the happy couple.
The guest list included a number of Harmony's industry colleagues-turned-close friends, including Hayley Paige. At cocktail hour, they all enjoyed ahi tuna cones and Hawaiian-style roast pig alongside two signature bars. "I love Champagne and Bayo loves whiskey, so we had his-and-hers bars," says Harmony. The Champagne bar featured a selection of bubbly from Louis Roederer, while the groom's 'Wall of Whiskey' had some of his favorite varieties mixed into cocktails (like a tropical combination of bourbon, passion fruit and mint or rye, Campari, lime, and ginger beer).
Bayo and Harmony's escort card wall made for a big reveal moment. "We have a secret Instagram account we've been posting on together since three weeks after we started dating," explains the bride. "We didn't want our love life out in public, so we created a private account that only the two of us knew about to save some of our memories." For their escort cards, they chose 86 photos from their four years of dating, and used each image to help guests find their seats. "As they picked up their cards, they revealed an image that was part of our love story," Harmony explains.
A variety of round and rectangular tables created a varied look across the lawn. On each tabletop, shades of white and soft gray were paired with pale pink flowers and blue glassware, adding an air of romance to the tropical setting.
Accents of blue-gray tied in to the shade of Harmony's wedding dress, while tables were named after destinations the couple have traveled to together and printed on large blue glass bottles. Each place setting featured a warm gold charger, a linen napkin embroidered with the guest's name as a place card, and a printed menu. "Under each menu was a handwritten thank you note," adds the bride. "We wanted to acknowledge the time and effort each person had made to be there with us, and every note was unique."
The night's music was as considered as the rest of the day's details. "During a road trip to Las Vegas, we spent the drive listing our favorite songs, playing different artists, and curating a list that was meaningful to us," Harmony says. The couple shared their first dance to "This Guy's in Love with You" by Herb Alpert.
Harmony's father lost his hearing last year, but he still wanted to share a dance with his daughter at her wedding. "I asked him to pick a song he could hear in his head, even if he couldn't actually hear the music," she says. Her father chose "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, and when it came time to dance, the bride mouthed the words to her father so they could follow the beat together. "It was a really emotional moment, everyone on the lawn was in tears," Harmony recalls.
The four-tiered wedding cake was painted with shades of blue and mauve, and the top tier featured a metallic map of Hawaii made of fondant. "The cake stand spun so it turned like a globe," says Harmony. Inside were two flavors: chocolate sponge with mint chocolate mousse, and vanilla sponge with Maui pineapple buttercream.
At the end of the night, guests joined the couple on the dance floor to sing "Somebody to Love" by Queen. "Bayo and our oldest flower girl were in the middle of the circle, leading the sing-along," Harmony says. Guests who weren't ready for bed joined the couple for late-night drinks at the lobby bar—and a few even returned to the honeymoon suite for even later room service. "We didn't want the party to end, so it didn't!" Harmony says with a laugh.
Even with all of her experience, Harmony admits that she and Bayo learned a few things along the way. "First, give yourselves as much time to plan as you can," she says. "We made it happen in a few months, but wish we'd had time to really consider all of our decisions. It will also make it easier for the people you love most to attend if they can plan in advance!" Second, she says to plan to go over budget from the beginning—and know exactly how much wiggle room you have. "That way when it does happen, you won't actually be over budget," she adds. And, finally, Harmony stresses how important it is to trust your vendor team: "Surround yourselves with people who do amazing work, and then allow them to do what they do best. This will let you really have fun and eliminate the stress, because you'll be in such good hands!"
Wedding Planner: Marcy Blum Associates
Venue, Catering, Cake & Accommodations: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
Rehearsal Dinner: Maui Brewing Company
Officiant: Ali Phillips
Bride's Dress & Veil: Hayley Paige
Seamstress: A Stitch in Time
Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Bride's Jewelry & Headpiece: Maria Elena Headpieces
Hair & Makeup: Ry-n Shimabuku
Groom's Attire: The Black Tux
Groomsmen's Attire: Friar Tux
Floral Design: Steven Boyle Design
Paper Products: Minted
Calligraphy: Calligraphy Katrina
Ceremony Music: Alika Nako'oka
Reception Music: Maui DJ Services
Dance Instructor: Michele LaRocque
Champagne Bar: Louis Roederer
Dance Floor & Lighting: Rio Event Design
Videography: Elysium Productions
Photography: James x Schulze