Sarah Schopp and Jonathan Silver celebrate at Deerhurst Resort.
Heather Greenwood Davis – TheStar.com
Sarah Schopp’s romance had all the makings of a fairy tale.
First there was the older brother of her childhood friend who turned out to be a “prince” of a guy.
Then there was his recognition, years after knowing her as “that kid who came around to see his sister,” that she was the “belle” for him.
And next came a fairy tale engagement among rose petals and candlelight.
But it almost went topsy-turvy when she locked herself out of the room in which the wedding was being held. “It was the longest 30 seconds ever,” recalls her husband, Jonathan Silver.
He was standing at the front of the room waiting for his fiancée to make her appearance when she failed to show.
A trick door was their undoing: The door through which her bridesmaids, the groomsmen and even the couple’s parents had entered was now locked. Schopp, standing alone outside, hearing the music play her grand entrance, realized she was locked out and there was no one to tell.
Instead, she hiked up her gown and ran to another door. Soon, a slightly frazzled bride made a shorter walk down the aisle, to the relief of her groom to be.
It was one more test of fate for a couple that’s no stranger to tests of fate.
The two first met when they were kids. Silver’s younger sister was Schopp’s best friend in elementary school and when Schopp returned to Toronto after completing university, her old pal lit the spark, suggesting that the two were a perfect match.
At the time, Silver was living and working in California so an encounter was unlikely. Then things were further complicated when a friend of Schopp’s, unaware of her growing interest in Silver, expressed interest in him after visiting him in California.
But an immigration snafu was the unlikely engine to set the wheels of romance in motion.
Silver came home for a wedding and was denied return access to the United States because of a glitch with his visa. Instead, he went to see his sister and it happened to be a weekend when Schopp was staying over.
“I saw Sarah, and I said to Naomi, `Sarah looks really cute these days,’” Silver, 32, recalls.
When Silver suggested they go hiking together, Schopp made sure to tell her friend.
“It was a little awkward at the beginning, but she got over it,” says Schopp. “She knew Jon wasn’t the one for her.”
One hike led to two and soon the fast friends had spent months enjoying each other’s company and common interests that included being outdoors and “weird Korean movies.”
Things grew serious after Silver invited a bunch of friends, including Schopp, for a night of camping. By the night of the trip, she was the only one who hadn’t cancelled. They pitched a tent and were sitting outside talking when a storm started.
“We ended up building a big bonfire and sitting outside in the rain, just talking and hanging out,” Silver says. “When the rain stopped, the stars came out, and it was perfect. Then we kissed.”
For Silver, love was always there.
“I think I knew right away. It took Sarah another three or four months to figure out that she was on board.”
“He was my first real boyfriend,” she counters by way of explanation.
She soon realized she wanted him around forever and although Schopp picked out her rings, the proposal details were left to Silver.
He set the stage for months by telling her all the ways he might propose: A ring in a bag of Scrabble letters while they were playing; or on one knee during a couple’s massage. He had fun watching her expect something week after week, especially during a weekend trip to Vermont, knowing full well he had a plan in motion back in Toronto.
“My brother had come to my house on the Saturday that we were coming back. He put like a million flowers I had bought the morning before and candles everywhere,” Silver recalls. By the time they got home, Schopp was tired after a weekend of non-proposals.
“She was so mad at me by then,” he recalls, laughing. “When she walked in the door, her face just dropped. She was so surprised.”
A champagne toast, a speech and an engagement followed.
Wedding planning started immediately. They knew they wanted an event, not just a day, and planned for a weekend-long intimate occasion for friends and family at Deerhurst Resort. An out-of-towner dinner, golf tournament and more filled a fall colour weekend in the woods capped by a Sunday wedding in a small room at the resort with a large window overlooking the trees.
After the ceremony, a cocktail reception on the patio preceded dinner in the ballroom.
Dancing included the traditional Jewish hora, a first dance was to the Motown hit “Cruisin” and in a moment of pure happiness Schopp developed her new signature dance move. Wearing her white strapless gown, she did a running slide through her husband’s legs and landed on her feet.
“My parents were, like, `I didn’t know Sarah danced,’” Schopp recalls, laughing. “I don’t know what came over me. I wasn’t even drunk! I was having the best time of my life. I was having so much fun with all my friends and family. I guess I was just so high on life.”
Silver agrees. “It’s a moment I’ll never forget. We still feel like it was the best day of our lives.”