Belly Up to the Bridal BarWords by Jennifer Stein
Owner and creator of The Bridal Bar, Harmony Walton, has created a space where brides can go (at any stage of their planning) to find information about pre-screened vendors in their price range, skim through the latest bridal magazine or book and enjoy a relaxing wedding planning experience.
Harmony was inspired to create The Bridal Bar because of referral experience that went bad. “When a friend of mine was getting married, I gave her a referral for a photographer I knew in town. The results were not so good. At that point, I realized that couples have only one chance to get their wedding right. It’s not that they can’t trust their closest friends for recommendations; it’s just that couples need to go beyond the normal means to find reliable vendors. The Bridal Bar was created so that vendor’s references can be checked and we can refer some of the best the industry has to offer,” says Harmony.
The Bridal Bar is complimentary for couples, and an “invitation only” to the companies that participate. When we asked about who should use the boutique and at what stage in her planning, Harmony responded, “There is no one right bride, we are all things to all brides. If you’re having a 20-40 guest destination wedding or a 200 person hometown event, we’ll be able to help. She can come at any stage of her planning, although it’s most helpful in the beginning. We can help the bride figure out a course of action, so planning isn’t so overwhelming. And we’ll certainly encourage brides to work with a planner!”
As a bride and/or groom walking into the boutique, Harmony’s goal of inspiring couples and getting them excited is often pulled off from the first visit. “Peace of mind is paramount, especially at the beginning stages. As a first time bride, planning a wedding is like coming to the first day on the job with zero training. We want them to experience a welcoming environment. A place to brainstorm and connect with quality vendors, not feel overwhelmed,” says Harmony.
One of Harmony’s biggest lessons that she’s learned through owning and operating her business is the emotion that goes into weddings. “Weddings are so close to the heart. Part of the process is managing personalities and being a manageable personality myself,” says Harmony.
As for crucial advice for brides, Harmony says, “Let it go. Get over yourself and get over the agenda for the day. Even if things go flawlessly, if you’re too focused on the details you’ll miss the experience. If you’re confident in your vendors, then trust in that and let them do their jobs.”
When I asked Harmony what her “must haves” were for her destination I do’s, she had some things in mind, “I would include Father White in my ceremony. He was the Catholic priest at my high school. And for the reception, a really fantastic bar with anything anyone could ever want, including local cocktails so people would be able to experience the flavors of the destination.” And as for where Harmony would tie the knot, “probably somewhere I’ve never been so I could experience it with my husband. Perhaps Tortola or Virgin Gorda as I really love the Caribbean and the laid back vibe. It all goes back to the idea of letting it go.”
With locations in Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Diego, Harmony has some ideas for the future of The Bridal Bar. “Aside from world domination, we’re launching a line of home linens. I would love to be in major metropolitan cities both nationally and internationally.” As for the future for Harmony, it’s clear and bright and wherever Bridal Bar takes her.
Visit The Bridal Bar online at www.bridalbar.com or follow Harmony on twitter - @bridalbar
Photos courtesy of David Murray
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