When it comes to planning your wedding, you will begin to build a long To Do List---filled with many things that you’ve never done before. For example, when was the last time that you hosted an event that had a guest book?
Outside of weddings and funerals, guest books aren’t a common party item! Because of this, you might not really know what you’re doing. Here are the 5 things you should know about wedding guest books.
So what is a guest book, do you need to have one, and are there options on what type of book to use? Let’s dive in and start with the basics.
What is a wedding guest book?
A guest book is simply a book (or other alternative) that allows guests to document the fact that they were there, along with any well wishes for the happy couple.
Depending on the size of your wedding, you will likely get many cards that go along with gifts. While each of these will include kind words, the downside is that they will scatter and end up in different places after the big day.
A guest book is an organized format that will allow you to look back on everyone who came to celebrate, along with a message from each of them.
Do we need a guest book for our wedding?
The truth is that you don’t need a guest book for your wedding. This is an example of the type of wedding details that you can challenge---include one if it’s important to you, but don’t feel forced. It’s a simple way to get your guests engaged on the big day and usually doesn’t take much time or money.
What are the best guest book ideas?
According to The Knot, “Modern wedding guest books come in all sorts of shapes and styles. If you want to go the classic and traditional guest book route, you can't go wrong with a simple hardcover book with blank pages and perhaps an accent on the cover, such as a gold foil motif or a monogram of your initials. If you want something a bit more non-traditional but still beautiful, a wooden guest book or scrapbook would be a nice touch.
You can customize your wedding guest book with your names, wedding date and other wedding details (like a lyric from your first dance song). Couples can also use various sites and services to create a personalized wedding guest book or photo guest book that includes engagement photos or other pictures that tell the story of their relationship.”
In all the weddings which we’ve photographed and filmed here at Joy Photo and Video, we’ve seen guest books that run the gamut! Aside from a traditional book, here are the 10 ideas for you and your significant other to consider:
1. Framed Photo or Other Meaningful Imagery: Get your favorite photo from the engagement session put in a frame, surrounded by a large white mat. You could also get a special piece of art printed, like a world map or special piece imagery and then you can hang it up in your future home.
2. Polaroid or photobooth strips: This is one of our favorite guestbook ideas. Plan to have a formal photobook or polaroid camera and have your guests take their photo. This can be placed in a book and signed.
3. Puzzle: If games like Jenga play a special role in your relationship, consider allowing your guests to each sign their own piece. You could also get a custom puzzle created with one of your engagement photos or your new last name.
4. Globe: If you’re having a destination wedding or travel is an important part of your love story then have your guests sign a globe! This is fun because guests might choose a destination that’s special to them, or one where you’ve made memories together.
5. Record: Love music? Have your guests sign an actual record with a silver sharpie pen and then display it in your future home.
6. Postcards: Speaking of travel…if you like to go on global adventures, or your mate has a career that connects to postcards (like a mailman or pilot) then have your guests sign a postcard. These can be made on a custom to match your wedding theme on a website such as Zazzle or feature travel scenarios which are important to you both.
7. Telephone (audio) or Digital Recording Device (video): Whether capturing an audio message on a custom telephone or having your guests document a video message on a phone or camcorder, these are special ways to bring your wedding wishes to life. (Telephone guestbooks are one of the biggest wedding trends of 2023 and we’re seeing a lot of them!)
8. Corks: If wine plays a role in your love story, have your guests sign corks and place them inside of a unique box or frame. (Note: this is an example of one where people will only have space to write a name so keep that in mind.)
9. Book: We don’t mean a typical guestbook, but an actual book. Depending on what’s important in your love story, feature a book like a dictionary, religious text like a Bible, or other meaningful story book, and ask your guests to sign their name near their favorite word or verse. You could also get them to sign children’s books for your children or future children!
10. Go all in on your theme: Lean into the theme of the big day and don’t be afraid to get creative! Getting married on a cruise? Get guests to sign a buoy which features your wedding date. Beach theme? Get a surfboard. Planning a Harry Potter wedding? Get a custom piece of magic-inspired art featuring you two surrounded by space where guests can add their own magical messages. Vintage? Set out a typewriter. The opportunities are endless!
Where do we put the guest book for guests to sign?
When it comes to things you should know about wedding guest books, one of the key things to consider will be location. If you’ve decided that you want to have one for your big day, make sure that it’s positioned in a prime spot (or your guests will miss it!)
Depending on the layout of your wedding, we suggest featuring it at the entry way of your ceremony so that guests who arrive early can sign it. Place it on a table that is visible to your guests, and make sure there’s enough space for multiple people to sign it at once. (Don’t forget the pens!)
Then after the ceremony is complete, the guestbook can be moved closer to your reception space. If you have an emcee of DJ, have them mention it to your guests so that they don’t forget to sign it before they leave.
What do we do with a guest book after the big day?
Depending on what you end up choosing for the format of your “book” there will be different options for what you can do with it. If it’s a physical book, we recommend placing it on a prominent bookshelf or featured on a coffee table. If it’s something that can hang, put it up in your future home. Select a spot that you see often so you can be reminded of the big day and the community of love encircling you and your relationship. (To make it worth it, don’t let it end up in a drawer or corner merely to collect dust!) This is a special memento and one which should be cared for in that way.
We hope you enjoyed learning the 5 things you should know about wedding guest books!
If you’re looking for a photographer or videographer who can help capture your wedding details, we would love to connect with you! Browse our portfolio and then check availability for your wedding date.
The Joy Team