Photography by Cher Hanna
Many grooms may feel as much pressure to find just the right engagement ring as to create the perfect proposal, but Jon Hirsch had one decision in the bag—where to buy the ring.
Jon met Courtney Yamron, the daughter of second-generation jeweler Bruce Yamron, in London, where they were both living, in 2008, through mutual friends. After talking all night, Courtney asked, “Are you going to take my number or what? Because I’m going home.” Her American banter won the Brit over completely.
Nearly two years later, Jon asked Bruce for permission to wed Courtney. Then he asked his future father-in-law for advice on selecting the perfect engagement ring at the family’s eponymous jewelry store in Naples.
“I worked with her dad,” Jon says. “I kind of knew what Courtney wanted. She dropped a lot of hints.”
But even a connection in the business couldn’t get Jon the ring he wanted within a month of selecting it to use for his planned proposal in Paris on Courtney’s thirtieth birthday in April 2010. Bruce sent another ring to London to use for the proposal, but it got held up in customs. “It took two trains and a bus to get the ring,” Jon says. Courtney notes she nearly blew the surprise by deciding to work at home the day Jon was trying to retrieve the proposal ring. He popped the question at Le Jules Verne at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
When the real engagement ring finally did arrive, the round brilliant diamond with two pear-shaped diamonds and a micro-pavé platinum shank was just what Courtney wanted. “I knew Jon would pick something I loved,” she says.
Even though the couple lives in London, they decided to get married in Naples at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, working with Christy Ruiz-Castañeda to plan their dream destination wedding. They knew that Naples was a great location to gather friends and family from Europe, New Jersey (where the Yamrons grew up) and Florida. Having the guests on hand for several days meant they could partake in multiple activities and get to know other guests by the time of the wedding.
Courtney dragged her mother, Bridget, into the digital age, so they could work out details over the Internet. “My mom wasn’t very good with computers to start with, but by the end, she got so much better,” Courtney says. “We did a lot via Skype and iPhone.”
For the March 26, 2011, ceremony, Courtney borrowed jewelry from the store, including a Waskoll diamond cuff bracelet and Ivanka Trump Collection pearl and diamond tassel drop earrings. “I wanted simple and elegant, nothing over-the-top,” Courtney says. “It took a little negotiating. I’d like to say I could get away with murder, but my dad is big on age-appropriate.” She thought the dangling earrings matched her Marchesa gown perfectly. Bruce agreed. One of Courtney’s favorite moments was when her father saw her before the ceremony and said, “You look majestic.”
Her other favorite memory was when Jon saw her for the first time. “I will never forget when I saw Jon’s face walking down the aisle, and we locked eyes and I saw him mouth, ‘Wow.’” The ceremony was officiated by Yamron family friend Naples Mayor William Barnett.
Ruiz-Castañeda and the Ritz took care of every detail, from the décor to the flowers and the cake. “The flower during the ceremony and on the reception tables still to this day take my breath away,” Courtney says. “We loved everything about the decorations.”
The guests enjoyed a cocktail hour and then kicked up their heels for the reception. Courtney and Jon set the mood by entering the room to Beyonce and Jay-Z’s “Crazy in Love” before going into their first dance to Van Morrison’s “Days Like This.”
“We had a photo booth for guests to take pictures and leave a copy in our sign-in book,” Courtney says. “This was a big hit and we were able to have a great album showcasing everyone’s funny pictures and messages."
After a honeymoon safari in Africa, the couple headed back to London to start their next chapter. “As cliché as it sounds,” Courtney says, “I know I found my prince in Jon and we will be happy for the rest of our lives.”