Why We Chose To DIY Our Wedding Favors

Samantha Jay Photography

For our wedding favors, we decided to bottle our own olive oil by hand. It was a time consuming, process filled with research, practice, and of course, preparation! But the finished product turned out so beautifully, I wanted to share a bit behind the "why" of our decision.

First, if you're planning your own wedding, you need to be immersed in the details. The first motivation to "DIY" our olive oil jars was because we both wanted our guests to have and use something at a later* time. While we appreciate and love all favors from weddings, we wanted to give something that had a personal tie to ourselves and our families.

If you've followed me from the beginning, when I blogged at Anticipation, you would probably know that I am obsessed with Italy.  I studied abroad and worked there in 2011 and 2013 and both experiences were life-changing. So, to say the least, I wanted an Italian flair to the wedding. I would have done a destination Tuscan farm wedding if I could have! Our families are Italian, and S and I spent some time in Italy together on our first big trip. We have so many amazing memories from traveling there together.

Olive oil seemed an appropriate choice. I would have loved to give wine, or something more substantial, but it seemed like a nice treat to take home. We specifically picked out high-quality EVOO meant to be eaten, not cooked with. So, we intended the olive oil to be used for dipping bread, drizzling on salads, etc. These little jars which we sourced ourselves were intentionally mismatched to give the display a more 'undone,' authentic look.

samantha jay photography

Samantha jay photography

When it came to bottling, I did online research and actually spoke with olive oil professionals from local olive oil shops. The best websites that we used were Martha Stewart Weddings and Something Turquoise. If you have any specific how-to questions, I'd definitely consult these awesome websites!

To continue with the undone, natural Tuscan feel, we displayed our olive oil jars as table place cards. Each jar had a card attached to it with silk, lace, twine, or various ribbons. The cards were beautiful (and blemished!) handmade, hand-deckled papers from Fabulous Fancy Pants. I love buying my paper from FFP! All calligraphy and lettering are by yours truly :) 

Above the table, a stunning handmade arch I borrowed (from a gorgeous former A. Taylor Studio bride) gracefully adorned the table. The arch itself was stunning. My florist, a miracle worker, weaved fresh olive in and out of the arch's pieces. Little roses were hung from the wood, suspended in the air. All of it was ethereal and romantic. Honestly I wish I could recreate this beautiful scene!

To make the scene complete, S and I made sure to include a photo of ourselves from the bottling process - to show a little "behind the scenes" action! I am so glad I decided to bottle our gifts while wearing my great-grandmother's apron - it is like a piece of her was there at the wedding.

 To honor my Italian heritage, I wore my great-grandmothers apron while I bottled our wedding favors. It made me so happy!

To honor my Italian heritage, I wore my great-grandmothers apron while I bottled our wedding favors. It made me so happy!

samantha jay photography

ciao! xo! If you choose to bottle your own wedding favors, let me know! I'd love to hear about your adventure!


Vendors: Photography by Samantha Jay Photography | Florals by Carousel Flowers | Calligraphy by A. Taylor Studio | Venue The Holly Hedge Estate 

*Interestingly (aka hilariously), some of our guests used their favor right at the wedding dinner. It was definitely awesome to see some guests pour their EVOO right on their salads :)

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