A mountaintop Omni resort provided an idyllic setting for the intimate wedding of childhood classmates Christy and John Effinger.
When they were students in first grade at St. Martha Catholic School, neither Christy Martin nor John Effinger could have predicted that they’d one day be husband and wife. “We hadn’t seen each other in years, but he walked into the store one day to buy his mom some charms,” says Christy, who is a gemologist at her family business, Clater Jewelers in Westport Village. Before long, the couple began dating, but it was four and a half years before John shocked her with what felt like an out-of-the-blue proposal.
“I was totally surprised,” she says. “He had been working with my mom, Megan Smith (co-owner of Clater) for months to make me a very special ring. I had been on jury duty at the time, so I hadn’t been in the store. He saw his window of opportunity and took it. We were getting a puppy soon, so he had a collar engraved with, ‘Will you marry me?’”
"You can sell engagement rings all day long butall of a sudden, it’s you and it’s different. Your heart stops beating and there are butterflies in your stomach."
The ring was a surprise as well. Even though jewelry and diamonds are her livelihood, Martin had made a conscious decision not to direct John in the selection. “Over the years, I’ve helped hundreds of couples make this decision, but I wanted to be surprised. I knew it was going to be fine. There are plenty of beautiful rings,” she says. “I’ve made hundreds of them that I could love and wear. I could love a square cut; I could love a round cut. I wanted it to be his thing and I knew I would love whatever he chose because it was from him.”
The choice John made was a sparkling, one-carat solitaire set in 18 karat white gold. “It was traditional and beautiful and very him,” she says. “I couldn’t love anything more.”
Her low-maintenance approach extended to their wedding plans. “We wanted to have a very intimate wedding—just our immediate family, literally sixteen people,” she says. “And one family member was pregnant, so we wanted it to be drivable.” The plan was to choose a place where the families could enjoy a weekend together. “I love the outdoors and we found The Omni in George Washington National Forest and it seemed like a perfect fit. We wanted to have it on a Saturday in May and one date they offered was May 12, which just happened to be my parents’ 40th anniversary. It all felt meant to be.”
With a wedding planner provided by The Omni, Christy and her mother planned a highly personalized and stressless sunset wedding. Christy wore her mom’s veil and a vintage rhinestone bracelet and earrings that had belonged to her grandmother and great aunt. “Being in the jewelry industry, I wondered if I should do big diamonds, but I like the fact that these were in my family and had history.” Family was front and center in every way throughout the celebration. “We wanted everybody to feel included, so everyone had a reading or some part in the wedding,” she says. “We didn’t have a best man or maid of honor. We just stood up by ourselves. It was super laid back.”
And even the sun cooperated. “We literally stepped out of the church right after the ceremony as the sun was setting,” she says. “We were all standing out there during the cocktail hour as the sky was turning all of these beautiful colors.” Not that this unfussy bride would have complained if she didn’t have a backdrop of a beautiful sunset. “Everyone told me I was such a laidback bride. But I just kept thinking, ‘No matter what, it will be fine. Because we’re getting married and I’m not going to sweat the small stuff. This is going to be relaxed and we’re all going to have a good time.’ And we did.”
The Shrine of the Sacred Heart
The Omni Homestead Gun Club Pavillion
Caterer and cake:
The Omni Homestead
Meant to Be Boutique
Country Garden Florist
The Omni Homestead
Black Tie Entertainment / DJ Steve
Cartwheels Papers & Gifts, Chenoweth Square
Clater Jewelers, Westport Village