Meet Emily Holmes Hahn Of LastFirst! All The Burning Questions You’ve Ever Wanted To Ask A High-end Matchmaker: Answered

by Freya Drohan

There’s few dinner party topics that get everyone as riled up as modern day dating—not least in the rat race of a city like New York. Emily Holmes Hahn gets it. And thankfully, for many people, she’s the chic cupid they’ve been waiting for, thanks to her bespoke matchmaking service, LastFirst. After a stint working in fashion in Paris, the NYU grad found herself gaining experience at a matchmaking firm back in Manhattan where she sensed she could strike out on her own and bring something new to the table. Her ultra personable, non-traditional approach has now become an antidote for swipe-fatigued clients, who’ve long become overwhelmed with DMs, roses, flame emojis, and cut-and-paste trite one liners. We caught up with her when she launched LastFirst initially, so we thought it was time we get the low-down on how she’s been helping New Yorkers find love, or at least where they’re enjoying a good cocktail while the search continues…   

When people ask you what you do, how do you describe your work?
I’m a cross between a headhunter and an agent. A headhunter in that clients describe to me their dream match—how she or he looks and acts, their education, family background, etc.—and I conduct interviews to find them that person. And I’m an agent in that I help my clients “cut the line,” so to speak. Eligible people get swamped with app messages and DMs, so I use my personal relationships with these individuals to secure dates for my clients ahead of the masses.

What was the inspiration behind the name? And what’s the elevator for the company?
It’s funny, I toyed with so many more playful, catchy names when I was starting out. In the end I stuck with LastFirst because it has some real weight to it, some drama in the good sense of the word! My mission is not just to sprinkle fairy dust and gossip after dates (as much as I love doing both!), it’s to send people on their last first dates. And my tag line is “Bespoke Matchmaking,” because each client gets a completely customized experience. There is no formula we follow to make a match, there is no stock advice that we offer and there is no ‘typical’ first date that we organize. It’s all highly tailored to each client and their unique preferences.

What were some fundamental lessons you learned while working at a matchmaking firm…what did you think you could do differently?
Hmm, I learned a lot of really positive lessons, like how to intuitively connect people and how to sell a luxury-priced service. The main thing I wanted to do differently was to be my own boss! I knew that I had the skills and the network to branch out on my own, so I went for it.

What does LastFirst as a company look like in 2023?
We are focused on fewer, better clients in 2023. That has been one of the silver linings of downsizing during COVID. We’re currently capping our membership at 20 clients. Before, at times, we were taking on up to 50! We are a team of four: two full-time and one part-time matchmakers, plus myself. So it’s a really healthy client:matchmaker ratio, allowing us the bandwidth to give a highly tailored experience to each person we’re representing. We made the decision to let go of our physical office in June 2020, but we now use The Ned in NoMad as home base for match interviews and team meetings.

Is there such a thing as an average day for you? What does it tend to look like?
Oh there is definitely no average day in the matchmaking world. I guess a work day always includes running from meeting to meeting, sometimes at clients’ apartments or offices, sometimes in restaurants, sometimes at my “office” at The Ned. And in the Ubers in between meetings, I’m constantly on the phone—catching up with couples, either recapping the previous nights’ dates or giving them bespoke relationship advice.

What surprises people (or yourself) about the work that you do through LastFirst?
There are so many surprises. People are always surprised that matchmaking is my “real job,” for one! And I’m surprised that there’s still some stigma associated with hiring a matchmaker, although it has definitely decreased over the years. I have certain clients give me pages and pages to sign on confidentiality, and I even go to weddings where I’m instructed to lie and say I’m a casual friend of the couples’, rather than their matchmaker. In the end it’s worth it to me to just appease these nervous individuals rather than convince them otherwise, because I love my job so much and genuinely want every client to feel comfortable and secure working with me, whatever that looks like to them.

Emily Holmes Hahn (Courtesy)

What does the process look like when someone comes to you hoping to be set up?
Keeping with that ‘bespoke’ theme, it’s different for everyone! Some clients start with a more formal interview with the whole team present and clacking away on our laptops; others prefer that I get to know them one-on-one and more informally over drinks or a walk in the park. Once we’ve learned about the client’s background and relationship goals, we begin vetting and pitching matches, which also is a highly customized process.

You also offer coaching services and more… tell!
Yes, one of my favorite parts of the job is offering post-date feedback and coaching. While I only take on clients who are pretty good ‘daters’ already, they must be growth-oriented and responsive to gentle coaching, at the same time. If someone tells a bad joke on a date or if there’s awkwardness when the check arrives, it’s kind of my responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen again! Overall I just want clients to be themselves and enjoy the matchmaking ride—but if there are little tips and tweaks I can offer to help them reach their romantic goals, of course I am going to do that!

If someone was hesitant about reaching out, what would you tell them or want them to know?
Matchmaking is just a fun way to opt-out of the dating app mess. Of course you can meet tons of people yourself online, but think of all the hours you waste on matches who aren’t a fit. Outsourcing your love life to a team of professionals is the ultimate way to get your ‘you time’ back, and maximize your chances of finding real romantic connection—and oftentimes, even The One— amidst the masses of profiles out there.

How can people better prioritize dating in a crazy city like NYC?
Great choice of words—you definitely must prioritize dating if you want to find a relationship! Make sure that at least one night per week is date night, whether it’s a first or a follow-up date. And on the day of date night, practice the same “ritual” that suits you and puts you in your best mindset. It could be getting a blowout, taking a yoga class, calling your most hilarious friend, or whatever makes you feel great. Also, take a few minutes each day to respond to as many of your DMs and app messages as you can, ideally keeping the conversation going or even just “liking” the message if you’re unsure. The app world is daunting, but there are some really quality people hiding in there, and you’ll never meet them if you stay silent. The sheer volume of singles you’ll find on apps is overwhelming but at the same time, encouraging.


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Do you have any advice for people to reframe negative feelings towards dating or finding the one?
Think of each date as an opportunity for you to shine. You’ll wear a cute outfit, tell your best stories, eat and drink well, and hopefully learn a thing or two from the other person! Make it a challenge to get everyone falling in love with you on the first date! If you go into dates with this mindset, you really have nothing to lose.

What are some things you’re most proud of so far via LastFirst?
Well of course I’m proud of all my marriages and babies! That’s really the best part of my job and my life. On another level, I’m proud to be chipping away at that stereotype of the pushy matchmaker who thinks she knows what kind of partner her clients want better than they know it themselves. I take a much softer, sweeter approach and let people lead me to their perfect match. I’ll offer my thoughts of course, but never impose them. Lots of people comment that I don’t have the personality they would expect of a matchmaker, and I have to say, I take that as a compliment!

Where are some of your favorite romantic spots in NYC?
For a first date, I love a fancy cocktails and shareable bar food vibe. I’m currently sending lots of couples to Nubeluz, Martiny’s, Dear Irving, Bar Pisellino, Apotheke, and then some! For clients who prefer dinners, lately I’ve been booking lots at Fouquet’s, Saint Theo’s, Veronika, Casa Carmen….and for a second or third date, I’m often recommending The Nines.

What’s a failsafe way to impress a date in NYC?
That’s a tough question because again, it depends on the person! Thoughtful and non-generic compliments are always a good idea, on both the male and female side.

Where can people find out more about signing up with LastFirst?
They can check out our website at, fill out the “Apply” form there or email me directly at

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