When it comes to a wedding, it’s all in the details—and there are a lot of details to remember.
One of them is a wedding guest book. A guest book is a simple way to remember who came to your wedding. Seems straightforward enough, right? But for some weddings, the idea goes much further than that. So many modern couples are opting for interactive, artsy, and totally unique guest book experiences.
Whether you’re keeping with tradition or stepping outside of the box, here are some trends and ideas to help you find one for your own fling.
Wedding Guest Book 101
What is a guest book?
Also known as a “sign-in” or “keepsake” book, a guest book is a way to remember who attended your wedding. Not everyone brings a card, and you probably never want to look at that seating chart again. Traditionally, the guest book has been as simple as the name states: a book which guests sign. A few pages where they list their names and well-wishes.
Today, it can also include a wide array of creative formats and ways for the guests to interact further. Not only do these modern guest book ideas put a twist on the traditional version, but they also add an additional experience for the guests, like a photo booth or small arts and crafts project.
Do I have to do one?
Absolutely not! But keeping a guest book allows your guests to leave a little mark on your day and share the experience. So why not?
How much do couples spend of guest books?
Like almost all aspects of planning a wedding, there’s no set price for a guest book and costs will vary depending on which option you select. Of course, a photo booth is going to run you more than a simple book to collect signatures.
Many of the wedding guest book ideas that we’ve included below are can be purchased online or through a service, but if you opt to DIY, you could save some additional cash.
When do people sign the guest book?
Traditionally, the guest book is signed early at reception, during a cocktail hour. This is a time when most of the guests are mingling, and there is no set itinerary or activity. This slot is especially ideal for photo booths or letter writing, which are more time-consuming. Two things to keep in mind: you don’t want the guests to miss another part of the reception, and you don’t want a large line to form.
What are the most popular types of guest books?
We’ve broken down the most-used guest book ideas into four categories and provided a few companies and services which we think do them best.
Going with the traditional book route doesn’t have to be boring and dated. There are plenty of beautiful ways to collect the signatures of your guests — like this stunning wood album from Papersource, or add a few photos with Artifact Uprising’s stunning album. And while you’ve got the pen in their hand, spruce up their entry by asking them to recollect a favorite memory, the way you met, or words of wisdom for a happy marriage.
For a version that isn’t all about well-wishes and signatures, consider a scrapbook-style book. You still get a book to put on your bookshelf, but the interior is decorated with visual mementos of your choosing — Polaroid or photobooth pictures of guests, this fun idea for Mad Libs, and postcards are a few of our favorites.
Art + Non-Traditional
If you don’t feel like a book is quite your style, why not opt for a piece of art or memorabilia that has been customized by your guests’ signatures? A popular trend for couples has been thumbprint collages, where each guest literally leaves their mark to form a visual collection of who attended your wedding.
A few other ideas that double as home decor include vintage globes that have been dotted with signatures, sports memorabilia (think leather basketballs or wooden skis), wine bottles to open on special anniversaries, and games such as Jenga, or a sturdy wooden puzzle.
If a tangible guest book just isn’t something you and yours need, there are plenty of ways to go digital. Companies like Guests and Wedding Kiosk are centered around the idea of providing an interactive app for recording guests well-wishes.
With all of the creative options out there, there’s no wrong way to do guest book at your wedding. What will matter in the end is recording and remembering the love and happiness you’ve received from guests on the day of your wedding. Whether you choose something that will hang on your wall or you’ll take down from the bookshelf from time to time—there’s no way to get that wrong.