guest books that won’t just sit on a shelf

Happy Wedding Wednesday! This blog tends to focus on events more generally, rather than just weddings, but I thought I’d start participating in Wedding Wednesday by featuring a wedding-specific post on Wednesdays (obviously). Although, as always, I believe that you can use some great wedding ideas for special events and vice versa!

I have an issue with guest books at weddings. From the guests’ perspectives, some people love them and write something truly special, but most guests don’t really know what to say and just awkwardly sign “Congrats!” or “Best Wishes!” It’s the adult equivalent of signing “HAGS” (Have a Great Summer) in a yearbook.

From the bride and groom’s perspective, sure it’s nice to read through the book and ooh and ahh over the five guests that wrote something touching, but most likely it’s going on a shelf to be forgotten until some monumental anniversary.

Personally, I’m a fan of blowing up the whole concept of a guest book and rather creating a wedding keepsake that guests sign or otherwise make contributions. I especially like something that can be worked into decor.

For my wedding, we had a wine motif so it seemed natural to have guests sign bottles of wine rather than a guest book. We made a small sign explaining that we would save the wine for special occasions or anniversaries. We now have the signed bottles on display in our dining room and every once and awhile I catch a glimpse and smile at some of the signatures and messages. I’m pretty sure I’d never look at a traditional guest book.

Here are some other interesting ideas:

Have your guests sign an old globe. If you have a particularly international guest list, they could sign wherever they are from. Or you could prompt guests to sign where they want to go. Or you could just have them sign anywhere. This makes a great decor piece to add to a living room or a home office.

You could order a print designed to serve as a guest book, such as the tree print with guests signing each leaf (similar to the thumbprint idea, without the messy ink). After the wedding you have instant wall art for your new home. Etsy is a great resource for these types of personal (and often handmade) items.

You can purchase this print or similar items from  Peachwik on Etsy

You can purchase this print or similar items from Peachwik on Etsy

If you are having a rustic wedding, having guests sign a slice of wood is an elegant yet homespun idea. Again, this makes a great conversation piece in your home. This particular example is also from Etsy. In fact, you can find plenty of inspiration for unique guest book ideas by searching Etsy.

You can purchase this and other items from  JKartShop on Etsy

You can purchase this and other items from JKartShop on Etsy

For the hipster or vintage wedding, how about an old typewriter set up so your guests can type you a note. After the wedding you could put the pages in a book, or you could frame them or create some other piece of art.

For the couple that loves games, I love this idea of having guests sign Jenga pieces. If my husband and I had done this, we would play every year on our anniversary and reminisce about our friends and family, and how much fun our wedding way. (We still do this, it’s just over our signed bottles of wine).

These are just a few ideas that are a bit more fun than a traditional guest book that sits on a shelf. Do you have any suggestions to share?


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