Q&A: Emma Gibbs on wintertime wedding magic at the Sherwood Inn
Emma Gibbs, actress, Muskoka resident and Education Director at HUB Productions, spoke with us about her magical winter wedding at Sherwood Inn, a ClubLink resort in beautiful Port Carling.
How did you and your husband Ben meet, and how long have you been together?
We’ve been together about five and half years. We met on Thanksgiving weekend – I was still in university at the time but I was home for the weekend, and my mom and I decided to go out to a bar. I saw a cute guy and since I had a mutual friend there, I got her to introduce us, and then we talked for hours. He asked for my number and it took him a month to ask me on a date after talking every day [laughs], but the rest is history.
Do you remember your first date?
He was house sitting for his parents, so we just hung out. We sat on the couch and drank a bottle of wine and had some cheese. We talked non-stop for six hours and it was the best date! It was so relaxed and we both clearly just connected so well, which was lovely.
Is there an engagement story?
It was really perfect. We’re big on food and wine and he loves to cook, so he made a delicious seafood dinner on our first day of the holidays, and we had just bought a house in the small town we both grew up in. He asked if I wanted to open a Christmas gift early, and grabbed this flat box from under the tree, which was clearly not a ring box. Inside were these beautiful ornaments he had made with our initials on them, and he said I should go put them on the tree. I went to adjust them and when I turned around he had the ring!
How did you choose the venue?
Come January, we started looking at venues, and the very first place we looked at was Sherwood Inn. It happened to be exactly a year from the date we ended up choosing, which we didn’t know at the time. It was so bitterly cold but we got such a feeling when we arrived there. They had the fire pits going and they were so welcoming – we had a drink in the lounge and they showed us around and we just could not shake that wonderful feeling. My mom came with us too and we all just looked at each other like, “how could we not do this here?” Seeing it in the winter on the coldest day you could possibly imagine, and still having it feel so cozy and so warm and magical, we knew we had to do it there. It was the easiest decision we made the whole process.
Did you have a vision of what you wanted for the big day?
I thought I did, but once we started talking about it, I couldn’t fathom waiting two years to do a summer wedding because we got engaged in December. We decided that January or February might work, when people need something to look forward to because everything seems so dreary, plus I just love snow and think it’s the most magical thing ever. So we didn’t really know what that would look like, but deciding that it was going to be a winter wedding at this beautiful old historic inn on a lake that we both grew up on, everything was steered from there. I wanted a classic, simple look, but also wanted it to feel warm and cozy like that first day we got there.
What other aspects were most important for you?
My maid of honour is a brilliant florist, so she instantly wanted to do the flowers but I didn’t want her to feel like she couldn’t enjoy the day. The more we talked about it, that aspect was important to me because I knew it was important to her, and I can’t believe how well it pulled the day together. We did very classic winter whites and greens, but also added a touch of black accents for a moody feel. And food for sure! Instead of a cake, we did a cheese wheel with mulled wine, which we cut at cocktail hour. We loved that, because that way could do a toast to welcome everyone after the ceremony. We had cocoa and cider, blankets, hand warmers, and fire pits going the whole time, creating that sense of warmth, coziness and comfort.
What about food? How did you decide on dinner and dessert items?
We knew we wanted comfort food, and it was all very catered towards winter. Our appetizer was butternut squash soup, then we gave the options of a hearty chicken dish or a salmon and risotto. We did creme brulée and chocolate cake desserts, so we had those options instead of cake. Later on we had pizzas come out for a late night snack after all the cocktails.
What were some of your favourite moments?
We wanted the ceremony short and sweet, because it ended up being a huge snowstorm. We had a friend officiate the wedding, and the snow was piling up on our heads and I was shaking so bad because I was so cold. When the ring was handed to me, it fell out into the snow! At that moment, considering how particular I am, it didn’t even matter because I thought there was no way we were going to find it. Everyone thought it was a joke! Sure enough, she reaches down into a huge snow bank below us and pulls out this tiny ring. It made everything so personal and memorable and special.
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