Feeding your nuptial nostalgia

I love my wedding guestbook, even if our hundred guests only used about six pages of it. As it turns out, a lot of people have small handwriting even when they’re penning loving messages on huge pages. Plus, a good portion of our guests also attended the rehearsal dinner, where they were asked to sign a poster. Maybe they were all sick of writing “best wishes” and similar messages?

The fact that so many pages remained blank even after I tried filling up the unused space with cards and other stuff tells me that the guestbook idea is one that is open to extreme levels of interpretation. Before you do anything else, try to envision a guestbook without the ‘book.’ I’ve read about guests filling out postcards that are sent to the newlyweds, writing on engraveable plates and platters that can be displayed or used, and even doling out salutations on river rocks!

Mélangerie created this unique guestbook for an outdoor wedding. Attendees were encouraged to “air out” the bride and groom’s dirty laundry. The instructions were printed on a modified detergent bottle and the cards were shaped like shirts, socks, and trousers, which were then clipped to a laudry line strung up in an entranceway.

Then again, it’s hard to lose the ‘book’ completely. Things like postcards usually end up being pasted into books.

Here we are back at books…ah well. Poloroid will be giving up the ghost for good really soon, but you can still source the film, and there’s no denying that people love instamatic snapshots! Adesso Albums makes a pre-fab Poloroid guestbook, but The Closet Therapist demonstrates that it’s plenty easy to DIY.

To pull this off, you need a friend who is willing to take charge of this project at the wedding. Thank you Renee!! Of course you need a Polaroid (I borrowed one) and film, glue to paste the pictures in the book. I also bought a quality set of Staedtler felt tip markers so they could write a message in different colors. It would also behoove you to get the DJ involved so everyone visits the Guestbook Area.

There’s a chance that pre-printed pages from The Guestbook Store might inspire a little creativity. Guests sometimes have trouble thinking of something clever to write because there are other attendees waiting behind them to sign the book. I have to say, however, that my favorite guestbook entries are those that were silly or creative…the best man left a yearbook-esque greeting while my brother called us “pimpin’ fools.”

Leave these sheets at each table with some permanent pens to give your guests plenty of time to think of something worthwhile to write, then slide the pages into one of the many awesome albums sold by this uber-specific shop.

If you’re not keen on the notion of paying for a bunch of fill-in-the-blank pages, you can download a similar guestbook page design from Jay’s Technical Talk. He and his wife provided blank guest-book pages at each table, along with a glass of colored markers, and the results were lovely. Going this route means finding a suitable book, but how hard could that possibly be?

You can even mail out the guestbook pages (or whatever) prior to the wedding so guests have plenty of time to think of something witty, profound, and meaningful to say. Each attendee can then bring their individual page to the reception — or mail it back to the newlyweds afterward — so they can be assembled into a portable package.

Right now you may be asking yourself whether you even need a guestbook. Only you can decide, because only you know if you’re the sort of person who will look at it a year later, ten years later, or in the last years of your life. Personally, I’m glad I had a guestbook, but I’m also the kind of person who goes through all their photographs every few months. You might say I feed my nostalgia.

If you’re not sure, be like The Closet Therapist at get a cheapy ten dollar blank book. The congratulatory greetings your guests write therein will be no less special for it and, frankly, some of these expensive guestbooks really are a total gyp.

11 Responses to “Feeding your nuptial nostalgia”

  1. Glinda says:

    We did the Polariod thing, and I have to say I really like how it turned out. But, I don’t think I’ve looked at it in years!

  2. Toni says:

    We did the now typical signing mat around one of our engagement photos. The image itself is a huge 16×20, with a nice wide mat all around. The mat is pretty completely filled with signatures and notes, and I quite often stop and read the sentiments, and guests to our home frequently stop and peruse.

    One good tip is to have the guests sign the mat while it’s in the frame, just with the glass off. That way they won’t sign right up next to the edge of the mat, which will get hidden behind the frame.

    I’ve also used this idea for going away presents. I’ll create a photo collage in PhotoShop that includes various fun photos of the intended and our friends. I’ll then have everyone sign the mat, and then present the entire thing framed. I can easily do all this for $30, and without fail it always ends up hanging in a place of prominence at my friend’s homes.

  3. Audrey says:

    Since Chris made our wedding album himself, we reserved some space at the back for the guest book at the reception. What pages weren’t used we filled with cards from special friends and family members. Because he engineered the book with the expectation that it would expand when filled with photos, there were no weird bulges and bends in the paper when the cards were added.

  4. Twistie says:

    I had a guest book, but everybody just signed their names and put their addresses. No, really, guys, if you were invited, it’s because I already had the name and address. I wasn’t trying to put together a new address book.

    Oh well. At least it was a very inexpensive guest book and it was on sale for a pittance.

  5. Dance says:

    A friend of mine used a coffee-table book with lots of blank space around beautiful scenic pictures of her home state, and I thought that worked well.

  6. Nariya says:

    At my wedding, we had a ton of guests so we put small books on every table at the reception, asking for “advice for the newlyweds” on the front cover. We got some touching notes, and some hilarious ones!

  7. sarah says:

    I used Adesso Albums for my wedding and they were fantastic! So easy to use, and they still look beautiful today. I liked the clean look of the album and since I asked my elderly aunt to manage the process I wanted something easy for her to use and these were!

  8. De says:

    For my best friend’s upcoming nuptials (MOHs represent!), I’m designing a scrapbook-guestbook. She’s only having around 25 guests, so its going to be mostly pictures and layouts of her and the Hubby-to-be, with vellum overlays for signatures.

    And of course, she can add to it over the years :D…

  9. Jessica says:

    We did the large matted print signing as well, and I just love it.

    Another idea we had but didn’t go with was a flush mount album with loads of white space for signing.

  10. Emily says:

    I was MOH at my bf’s wedding and she wasn’t sure until the last minute if she was getting a guest book (she did end up getting a blank book to have at the church). I made her something similar to the photo mat, but without the picture. I gessoed a painting canvas and decoupaged leaves along the bottom as well as tissue paper in her wedding colors (fall-themed wedding) and nailed a hanging ribbon that matched at the top. The majority of the top was blank. Then it just got signed at the recption with thin-point sharpies. Afterward, I sprayed the whole thing with a sealer. Total price about $8.

  11. Jay says:

    After we collected our pages (at the wedding) we went through them and ordered them based upon Friends vs Family (and to some extend, drawing ability ;> the better ones went up front). Then we took them to a bindry and had them bound in a hardcover book for around $25.