Otilia + Jesse — My kindergartern sweetheart.

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.

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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).

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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.

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Enjoy!