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2019 Ayres Photography Client Gift Boxes

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As we round out this amazing 2019 wedding season and enter into the holidays and the season of giving, we thought it’d be the perfect time to finally share all of the surprises that our couples found inside this year’s gift box with all of you! This year we took our boxes in a slightly different direction than we have in the past. We chose the “quality over quantity” route which allowed us to include not one but TWO personalized gifts! And we’re so glad that we did!! While yes, it meant having to say goodbye to a few of our tried and true past vendors (honorable mention goes out to Zandra Beauty and her incredible Big Balm – we will definitely bring you back again in the future because you are SO loved!) – it also meant that we could put a little more money and energy into the fewer, very carefully chosen items this year! Our couples absolutely loved what we created for them this season, and we certainly couldn’t have done it without the incredible vendors who participated this year. But before we dig into the contents of 2019’s gift box, we want to take just a minute to remind everyone why it is so important for us to be able to deliver these unique love boxes to our couples every year…

If you’ve been following along with our gift box unveilings each year then this part is not news to you. For the new readers out there or for anyone who needs a refresher on exactly WHY we drive ourselves crazy during the first few months of every year, wracking our brains trying to come up with the most perfect gift items, scouring the internet for the most perfect makers, carefully piecing the boxes together and spending a pretty darn good amount of dollars investing in the amazing items and shipping them all across the country… it’s this: because without the incredible couples who trust us every year to document the most important day of their lives, we simply wouldn’t exist. Ayres Photography would not be Ayres Photography without our beautifully unique couples, and it’s unbelievably important to us that these amazingly wonderful humans fully understand just how much we appreciate them. So yes, we dig deep into researching our chosen vendors. We take the time to hunt down high quality items made by high quality people. We spend hours upon hours driving around the city to pick up our handcrafted items, perfectly placing them in hand assembled boxes, and carefully tucking them in and securing them for their long and treacherous journeys across The States. And when our couples come home to the surprise of finding a little box of love waiting for them on their doorstep, and they open it up to discover a handful of specially curated items just for them, and they smile because they know that their wedding day is absolutely going to be in the best hands possible… THAT, my friends, is why we do what we do. :)

So, without further adieu, our 2019 Ayres Photography Client Gift Boxes!!…

  1. A little bit of living, breathing life. We love all things nature here at Ayres, so including a sweet little succulent plant in our gift boxes this year was a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t get excited to see such an adorable little plant on their shelf every morning?? And since succulents are so easy to care for, they made for the perfect earthly offering, ready to be shipped all over the country to couples with and without green thumbs alike. When it came time to track down the provider of said little plants, we happened to come across Life is Succulent on Instagram, and were thrilled to find that a brand new brick and mortar shop was to be opening just in the nick of time right in Amherst, NY!! We reached out to the owner, Kristin, and she was just as excited about the gift boxes as we were! She even included beautiful little succulent note cards for each of our couples. It was a match made in social media heaven! If you’ve yet to pop into Life is Succulent, you best get your butt over there! Kristin is full of kindness and light, and her shop perfectly reflects those very things! Plus, it smells really amazing in there.
  2. Custom venue drawings. This was a tricky one to pull off, but once the idea was put into our heads, we knew we needed to do whatever we could to make it happen. We dug deep into the world wide web for multiple reference images for each and every venue we’d be shooting at this year (trust us when we say – this was no easy feat). Once we knew that we had them all accounted for, it was time to hunt down a talented human to make our drawing dreams come true. All we can say is thank God for Etsy! We came across Anitra Edney’s shop, which featured the most perfect little custom pen and ink drawings of homes. Her style is realistic with a touch of whimsy, just how we like it. We reached out to her, fingers crossed and breath held, to present our idea and see if she was up for the challenge of hand drawing over 20 different venues for us. Lucky for us she was totally on board, and pumped out those little cuties in record time! When we received them on our doorstep just a week later (what?!) we were absolutely BLOWN AWAY by how amazing they were! They were even better than we had imagined they would be! Each little 4×6″ drawing somehow perfectly captured the essence of each venue (despite some of the less than ideal reference images we sent over). Anitra’s attention to detail was truly astounding. Each drawing was completed with the couples’ names and wedding date underneath. We knew that if they made us smile that big, then the smiles on our couples’ faces would be even bigger. Mission accomplished!!
  3. Custom designed pennants from Oxford Pennant. This idea came to us from a friend, and we were so grateful for the suggestion!! Oxford Pennant was absolutely wonderful to work with. The owner, Dave, let us completely design a 100% never before made pennant specifically for our 2019 Ayres couples. Our studio manager, Rachel, set to work on the design, and we really love what she came up with! Perfectly on brand, unmistakably Ayres, and the most adorable addition to this year’s boxes. When we finally got to see our design in real life, we couldn’t believe how great they turned out! We’re so proud to be able to have gifted these high quality beauties to our couples this year. We even had one couple display theirs at their wedding reception!
  4.  We’ve decided that an Ayres gift box just wouldn’t be an Ayres gift box without Pop Tarts from our favorite little Buffalo bakery, Butter Block. These delectable confections have been with us for the entirety of our gift boxing journey, and we certainly weren’t ready to retire them just yet. In past years we’ve let owner Colleen make us an assortment of unique flavor combinations, but this year we opted for the classic: strawberry with white icing and rainbow sprinkles. Is there a human on the planet who does not love these things?! If you’ve never had a Butter Block Pop Tart, you’re going to need to make that happen ASAP. Trust us on this one.
  5. And last but certainly not least, another Ayres gift box tried and true, handmade soy candles from Linwood Candle Co. There’s something about Amy’s candles that allows them to absolutely fill an entire room with the most intoxicating aroma. In years past we went with her Sweet Grapefruit scent every time, because we simply could not get enough of how refreshing it is! This year, however, we were ready to try a new scent. We wanted something that was not too feminine and also not too masculine. Something that everyone could enjoy! Amy suggested Mission Fig, and it was perfect! Fresh and light and earthy and cozy all at the same time! And they made our boxes smell oh so nice upon opening :)

So that’s a wrap on the 2019 season! Did you receive one of these little love boxes this year?? If so, what was your favorite item?? If you weren’t one of our 2019 couples, what item would you have been most excited to receive?? Do you have any suggestions for next year’s gift box?? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Want to see what little treasures we sent out in 2018?? Click here!

2018 Ayres Photography Client Gift Boxes

Filed in planning, weddings shot by on at

Each year we take the time to carefully curate beautiful gift boxes for each of our incredible Ayres Photography couples for the new season. This is the third consecutive year we’ve done it and we have to say, each year we have more and more fun with it! It’s really exciting to seek out these amazing locally made items that we think our couples will absolutely love. The thought of each couple receiving this special surprise on their door step after a long day of work puts a huge smile on our faces and (we hope) a huge smile on theirs as well!

These boxes are no small feat. In fact, they are quite a labor of love! Believe it or not, it takes us a few months to create these bad boys from start to finish. From brainstorming our ideas, to reaching out to the generous and talented Buffalo makers, chatting with each company to collaborate on our ideas of what will fit with the style and overall feel of the box each season. Then there’s the pick ups and drop offs of LOTS and LOTS of goods. Trying desperately not to eat all the treats ourselves as we carefully package each gift box, placing each item strategically for fit as well as keeping it all aesthetically pleasing upon opening. And then there’s the carting of 30+, 12 x 12″ boxes to the post office… we leave that part to Ben :)

But, after all is said and done, not only have we made our couples’ day but we’ve also made lots of new friendships with some seriously incredible and talented Buffalo entrepreneurs. To say that it’s all worth it would be an understatement. Between the opportunities it gives us to network within our community, the exposure it gives to the small locally owned shops, and the love and gratitude it shows to our couples (without them we’d be nothing!! This is all for YOU!), it is 100% worth every second and every cent.

We do have to say, this season’s couples are SUPER lucky – not only did they get an extra gift (we usually include 7 items but this year we just couldn’t make up our mind, so 8 was the magic number!), but the makers we chose this year were ON POINT! Seriously, our minds were blown with the amazing goods we received! Also, apparently at Ayres Photography this year we all had a major sweet tooth, and because of that, this year’s boxes ended up with the theme of sweet indulgences. You’re so very welcome, 2018 couples. We love you so!

Please read on to learn more about each of these thoughtfully chosen goods and their 716 makers!

These are the gifts (and amazing makers) that we chose to include in our 2018 client gift boxes:

The first four makers have quickly become our tried and true. Each year we’ve included offers from Butter Block, Linwood Candle Co., Zandra and Rust Belt Love. While we think it’s important to keep each year’s boxes fresh, new and exciting, we just can’t break away from these four because they are truly just THAT wonderful!! So, once again, here are our staple items…

1. Pop Tarts from Butter Block. Yes, you heard me. Homemade. Pop tarts. They are absolutely delectable. Flaky, buttery, soft and delicious. Colleen (the owner of Butter Block and a wildly talented and lovely lady) makes these little beauties herself and we’re pretty much obsessed with them. From unique flavors such as Lemon Poppyseed, Chocolate Mint, and Key Lime to the childhood classics like Brown Sugar Cinnamon and Strawberry, this girl’s got you covered. IG: @butterblockbuffalo

2. Sweet Grapefruit Soy Candle from Linwood Candle Co. We can’t exactly describe what it is about this particular candle that has us coming back for more every single year. Maybe the fact that it smells EXACTLY like a deliciously sweet grapefruit. Maybe because it completely permeates the air with it’s intoxicating scent. Or maybe because Amy, the owner of Linwood Candle Co., is just as sweet as her candles. We can’t really pinpoint it but we can say with confidence that Amy and her candles are the bomb dot com. IG: @linwoodcandleco

3. Big Balm from Zandra. If you aren’t familiar with Zandra, her name may still sound familiar to you, as she’s recently been on the Today Show and was even nominated for (and received) several young entrepreneur awards. Zandra is an amazingly talented young woman from Buffalo who, get this, started her business when she was just 10 years old! I don’t know about you, but when I was 10 years old I most definitely was not creating homemade, all natural beauty products and packaging them up to be sold to the public. Maybe I had a lemonade stand with a poorly drawn sign made out of poster board and used my profits to go by myself a New Kids on the Block cassette tape. But not Zandra. She had a dream and a hope and a goal, and she set out and made it happen. Not only is her story amazing but her products are incredible as well. AND she donates a portion of each purchase to support girls’ education. There are just way too many reasons to love her and we’re honored to be able to include her in our boxes each year. IG: @zandrabeauty

4. Buffalo Themed Letterpress Card from Rust Belt Love. Alyson has an insanely adorable shop located in the historic Market Arcade building downtown. She’s definitely your go to girl for beautifully designed stationary, cards, invitations and more! She’s just one of those people with a heart of gold and a knack for creating lovely things. She hand draws every single image that is printed on her products! If you’re looking any kind of paper goods for your wedding, this is the girl you want to go see. IG: @rustbeltlove

And now, on to the exciting newcomers…

5. Bonbons from Whimsy Confections. I wasn’t kidding when I said we all had a sweet tooth this year. Michele, owner of Whimsy Confections, definitely picked the right name for her business, with flavors like Strawberry Pop Tart, Cereal Milk, Mimosa, and Blueberry Pancake (just to name a few). She also hand paints each little chocolate candy herself!! Mind. Blown. We highly suggest you go check out her shop on Main Street in Buffalo. But don’t expect to leave empty handed because it’s basically impossible. IG: @whimsyconfections36

6. All Natural Soap from Spruce Up Soap Co. We were SO excited to work with these guys this year. They are insanely nice men and create some really amazing handmade soaps. Their mission statement is “A Simple & Clean Ingredient Skin Care Apothecary” which we totally love. Their products are cruelty free (yay animals!) and made in small batches right here in Buffalo, New York! These men have a clear passion for what they create and hold themselves to very high standards and it shows. Their soaps really made our gift boxes smell amazing!! They also make some really awesome all natural skincare and beard care products for men, so be sure to check them out for all the great guys in your life! IG: @spruceupsoapco

7. Macarons from Blue Eyed Baker. Yes, another sweet! Who doesn’t love a great macaron?! They’re just so dainty and pretty! We were really pumped to have Alexandra on board this year. Her desserts are crazy!!! Hop on over to her website or IG to see what we’re talking about. Be prepared to drool, though. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. She studied in Paris so you just know she knows her stuff, especially when it comes to a French Macaron. Chocolate Hazelnut, Espresso, Salted Caramel, Pistachio… are you drooling yet? Well, we sure are. IG: @blue.eyed.baker

8. Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans from Overwinter Coffee. These guys are cool guys. Period. They roast their beans weekly in very small batches right in Orchard Park, New York so you know the coffee you’re getting is about as fresh as can be. They actually special roasted beans specifically for these gift boxes!! If that’s not love and attention to detail then I don’t know what is. We officially love these guys, for real. As of May 12, 2018 they’re officially open for biz on Genesee Street in Downtown Buffalo! So congrats to them on their brand new store front!! You can also order your freshly roasted beans right from their website! They even offer a coffee subscription for the avid coffee drinker looking for perfect beans and serious convenience. Sign up for weekly, biweekly or monthly shipped, at no additional charge, right to your door! See, I told you they were cool. IG: @overwintercoffee 

And that’s a wrap for the 2018 Ayres Photography Client Gift Boxes! What did you think of this year’s gifts??

Click here to check out the gifts from 2017 and 2016 :)