Diana Ross Helps Plan Daughter Chudney's Maui Destination Wedding

Chudney and Joshua

Photographed by: Rebecca Walker for Ira Lippke StudiosLocation: Kīhei, Hawaii, United States

As Joshua Faulkner scrolled through his Facebook feed perusing friends’ photos, he suddenly stopped to look more closely at one. He was intrigued by the big, bright eyes and infectious smile of a particular female in a posted image. The mutual friend later happily arranged for Joshua and Chudney – the striking woman in the photograph – to meet for cocktails. He slid close to her at the loud bar and they settled into comfortable conversation. At one point, Chudney reached out to touch Joshua’s face. “It was weird,” he laughs. “She totally ‘petted me’ on our first date.” Chudney smiles, “He was handsome and it’s so rare to meet such a gentleman in L.A.; it was like I needed to touch him to confirm he was real.”

Six magical years of dating culminated in a private, heartfelt proposal at their home, with only the couple and their (now) toddler daughter, Callaway, present. “Callaway handed me a box wrapped in a drawing she had made,” describes Chudney. “When I looked back up, Joshua was on his knee, asking me to be his wife.” Since it was also Chudney’s birthday, plans were already in place to meet her family for dinner. “The proposal was perfect! Joshua is a very low-key guy and so it was definitely his style to do it with just us [present], but I love to celebrate. So it was fun to get to celebrate after with my family,” reflects Chudney.

The pair knew from the start that they wanted a destination wedding. “We both felt that the weddings we have traveled to have been much more memorable because you get to spend so much time with family and friends,” asserts the bride. “It’s like summer camp with everyone you know, but celebrating love!” Deciding on a locale for their celebration was also simple: Hawaii. The islands have proven to be sentimental for numerous reasons: “Our first big trip together was to Maui; I learned I was pregnant while on a trip with my mother to Oahu; and we had our babymoon on Kauai,” she reveals.

Centering many of the details around the comfort of their loved ones, they wanted to schedule the event during Hawaii’s most gorgeous weather, which meant they only had about six months to plan. “It was difficult to find a property that was available during this time, so we were so happy to find that the Montage Kapalua Bay had availability,” expresses Chudney. The bride and her mother, legendary singer Diana Ross, made the majority of the planning decisions. “My mom loves a fun project having to do with her children,” she quips, who was also thankful to have her sister, blackish star Tracee Ellis Ross, and best friend, Pearl Aday, helping choose the perfect bridal attire. “I think at one point, we had bought every sparkling pair of pumps in Los Angeles,” she admits, finally settling on a dazzling pair with bows.

As for the bride’s dress, she shares that she came across a stunning gown with pops of color on the internet. Knowing she wanted a special and unique ensemble, but not knowing who made the dress, she turned to her wedding planner, Mindy Weiss. “She knew exactly who created it and set up an appointment [with Lazaro]!” Once at the bridal salon, the designer worked with her to produce a strapless gown she loved, which featured frothy layers, glistening gold leafing, and a custom element: “Lazaro created a perfect tulle mini skirt to change into for dancing at the reception,” she notes. “It was so special to have this beautiful, elegant ball gown, which with a quick switch and bustle, turned into a fun and flirty party dress.” When her mom became emotional as the veil was placed on her head, Chudney knew it was all turning out magically.

For the ceremony, in lieu of a traditional bridal party, Chudney and Joshua’s respective parents and siblings preceded them, as well as three adorable ring bearers. A conch was blown to signal guests – who were all asked to dress in neutral-colored attire – to stand for the bride’s entrance. (“I wanted an elegant cohesiveness in the photos,” she adds of the detail.) Callaway, who also wore a one-of-a-kind dress designed by Lazaro, escorted her mom down the aisle. Traditional Hawaiian ukuleles played as Chudney’s stepsister, Leona Naess, sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and hula dancers performed the customary wedding dance.

The grassy aisleway, decorated with small posies of flowers fastened to chairs, led to an arch constructed from bamboo, tree branches, and native florals. The bride’s mother officiated a touching service: “She married my brother Evan [to Ashlee Simpson], so it was special that she married us as well,” she says. Chudney’s long locks – styled by famed hairstylist Ken Paves – swayed in the island breeze and her sparkling “something borrowed” Neil Lane jewels glistened in the sun. The groom was equally dapper in a white linen suit complemented by a contrasting kukui nut shell lei.

Towards the end of the ceremony, Diana requested that Chudney and Joshua take a few seconds to look into each other’s eyes. “That was my most memorable moment,” remembers the bride. “[It felt like it was] just Joshua, Callaway, and me, surrounded by so much love from all of our family and friends.”

A tented area introduced décor that was equally whimsical, romantic, and beautiful. Paper lanterns, chandeliers, and blooms intermingled, suspended from the ceiling. Wooden tables showcased tall and short centerpieces in neutral tones with pops of deep pink and place settings with gold-tipped feathers, personalized menus, and bullion-decorated charger plates. “I admit that I worried a lot during planning, but when I arrived for the weekend, I really wanted to just let it all go and have fun,” affirms Chudney. “None of that matters on the big day, anyway, and everything turned out wonderfully.”

With such talented family members, the dinner party included many memorable moments: the mother-son and father-daughter dances were simultaneously performed; the bride’s sister, Rhonda Ross Kendrick, sang a personal song she wrote for Chudney; her brothers led the toasts for the evening; and Diana serenaded the newlyweds. “It was important for us to have our families involved in our big day,” asserts Chudney, who feels blessed to have such a fun and tight-knit family. “We also danced all night long!” confirms Joshua. “Guests still tell us that it’s the most dancing they’ve ever done at a wedding.”

To keep energy high, snacks, cocktails, and sweet offerings were available throughout the celebration. The sweetest components of the dessert selections were the cake toppers: Callaway’s beloved “Mama People” and “Dada People” Fisher-Price Little People® sat atop the confection. “And now they’re back in her playroom!” laughs Chudney.