Take the book out of guest book with these 12 creative alternatives sure to wow your wedding.
Once upon a time, a newly married couple needed a wedding guest book to help them remember who came to their wedding, organize thank you notes, and start a formal address book. In fact, because in times of yesteryear everyone who attended a wedding was considered a witness and required to sign the marriage document, an accurate register of names was flat out necessity. Times have since changed, and today, most wedding guest books end up in a box somewhere in the garage under a pile of old socks—and if you’ve ever actually flipped through one, you know why. “Best wishes,” and “Congratulations on your special day,” can be paraphrased only so many times. So leave the past in the past, Oh-Bride! With a little creativity and a lot of planning, you can make your guest book a modern thing of beauty that fits the style and tone of your wedding, and maybe even a display-worthy part of your home decor. Let Oh-Brides show you how.
#1. Wishing Tree. This Dutch wedding custom entitles each guest to a piece of paper with ribbons attached, either shaped like a leaf or made of card stock. The guests write their wishes to the bride and groom and hang it on a “tree,” made of branches arranged in a container. Beautiful branches include cherry blossom, manzanita, and magnolia. For more ideas, consult with your florist.
#2. Signature Plates. These adorable—and functional—porcelain or ceramic keepsakes have a finish designed to be written on, and many include a pen that leaves permanent markings on the surface after being baked in a home oven. If you’re feeling particularly crafty, make your own with plain white dishes and metallic paint pens. Just be sure not to break these out for a slice of first anniversary cake: paint pens are not food safe.
#3. Time Capsule. With a little help from your guests, create an heirloom to be treasured for many years to come. Many thanks to Ami at Elizabeth Anne Designs for sharing this interactive, sentimental idea!
#4. Photo booth. If you’ve got the cash, you could rent an actual photo booth. But for the more budget-conscious bride seeking a personal touch, why not take a DIY approach? Hang a patterned cloth or set up a decorative backdrop, provide chalkboards, chalk and any other props you desire. Then leave a sign instructing guests to write a message and take a picture with it. We love the detailed ideas at A Jersey Hootenanny Wedding.
#5. Polaroid Guest Book. Have guests take Polaroids of themselves, mount them in a book, and sign next to their photo.
#6. Typewriter. Troll antique stores, estate sales, and garage sales for an old-fashioned typewriter. At the reception, set it out on a side table with long sheets of paper for guests to type their well wishes.
#7. Mailbox. Give guests postcards with your address printed on the back to sign during the reception and drop in a mailbox displayed in the lobby. Ask a friend to mail the cards out the next day so that you return from your honeymoon to a mailbox full of sweet messages!
#8. Dirty Laundry. Instructions inscribed on a detergent bottle encourage guests to “air out” the bride and groom’s “dirty laundry” by jotting funny stories on note cards shaped like t-shirts, tank tops, pants, skirts, socks, etc. Guests then clip the cards to the “clothesline,” which is strung at the reception entryway. Thanks to New York-based design consultancy Melangerie for this adorable idea! If you’re short on time, they even have a kit for sale in their Etsy store.
#9. Fingerprint Tree. Draw a tree with lots of empty branches on a poster, then put up a sign asking guests to leave a fingerprint “leaf” and sign their name. To avoid discoloration over time, be sure to use acid-free paper and ink. Not feeling artistic? Check Etsy for plenty of sellers that offer beautiful hand-drawn works of art, or download one for free from Style Unveiled.
But don’t feel limited to a tree! We love these creative ideas, too.
#10. Framed Poster. Frame a poster or picture of yourselves and have guests sign the mat.
#11. Quilt. Provide guests with squares of linen and permanent fabric pens to send their well wishes. After the wedding, have them sewn into a quilt for a keepsake that will keep you warm for years to come.
#12. Fill-in-the-blank pages. Provide colored markers and blank guest book pages at each table. After the wedding, sort the pages and have them bound to make a personalized keepsake.
No matter which wedding guest book you choose, make sure it reflects your personalities. Most importantly, it will serve as a beautiful reminder of those who knew you when.