At 22 years of knowing each other (and being only 26 years-old), Otilia and Jesse share the longest relationship of any couple we’ve worked with — and have a hilarious story to go with it. They met in kindergarten and teased each other throughout elementary school, until one fateful game of ‘truth or dare’ lead to their first kiss in Grade 8. They lost touch over the next few years, but when they found each other in a semi-awkward casual conversation in a high school hallway in Grade 11, Otilia invited Jesse to her birthday party. 9 years later, they celebrated this colourful story in an equally colourful outdoor ceremony in autumn.
Every time we met or talked with Jesse and Otilia before the wedding day, one word that always came up (maybe dozens of times) was ‘unique’, and their celebration definitely reflects that. Playing up on their amazing story, they sought to personalize every aspect of their day — from the childhood pictures that decorated their ceremony space (the same ones which Otilia had custom-made into a reel for the View-Master she gifted Jesse), to the first look location (a centuries-old barn in their hometown that they’ve had their eyes on since they were kids), and to their personal vows to each other (recounting their 22-year story in the making).
With plenty of time in between each important milestone of the day, our approach was simple: build excitement by meticulously setting up each scene. For Otilia and Jesse’s first look, we don’t just simply drop in seconds before she taps on his shoulder, there’s a very carefully thought-out beginning, middle and end. We have Otilia set-up the significance of the location when she reads Jesse’s card, and at that same time, we see Jesse approach the barn and make his way to the spot where he’ll be waiting. We go back to Otilia’s card, where Jesse tells her how excited he is to see her and feel her tap on his shoulder, at which point we see Otilia walking up to the barn, walk up to him and tap his shoulder. As soon as he turns to face her, we cut away to her vows before returning to their first look one last time.
The first look is no longer just a first look, but a story within the larger story.
By creating a series of sequences with a meaningful backstory, we build anticipation and excitement and the conclusion is that much more rewarding for the audience. Not only that, but the first look is no longer just a first look, but a story within the larger story — and a beautiful one at that.