The Evolution of the Guestbook

Guestbook alternatives have become pretty common these days. It seems downright rare to sign your name in a book of simple, lined pages these days. Many brides make their own books with images in them. Some have guests write on cards or slips of paper that are hung on a tree or deposited in a special box. Many have guests write on a matte or poster. Posters of trees on which guests leave their thumbprints have taken the wedding world by storm lately. There seem to be so many creative takes on the guestbook.

When I thought about our guestbook, I didn’t really want an actual book. I saw a poster in an old issue of Martha Stewart Weddings that I really liked, but its colors weren’t right for our wedding. I searched Etsy for guestbook posters and stumbled upon this one by AmerpandInk Designs:

ampersa

Image from Etsy listing by AmpersandInk Designs

Do you know what really sold me on this idea?

The dog. The listing said the design could be customized and after staring at the image for a few days, I took the leap and made my purchase. I didn’t expect the amount of customization that Tasha Montgomery, the artist behind AmpersandInk, would do for me. She asked for pictures of me and Mr. Mink as well as any elements that we’d want on our certificate. I made a little Picasa album with some of the images I’ve shared on past posts to give her an idea of our style and what our venue looked like.

About a week later, we had a first draft and a few decisions to make about the placement of the main element, the granary at Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards. I was delighted by the beautiful flower border that Tasha drew based on our wedding monogram and the little cartoon Minks.

Cert1

We decided that we liked the granary off to the side. Tasha suggested that we put something on the other side of the image to provide balance and I sent her pictures of the vineyard part of Pippin Hill to be her inspiration. I also asked her to add the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background, which were a huge part of our decision to get married at Pippin Hill. The second draft arrived and suggestions went back and forth to get to our third draft.

Tasha didn’t love the tree on the third draft and asked if there was a tree that might be “very Virginia” that could be used instead. My first thought was the magnolia tree, but those are pretty huge. I was coming up blank and showed the draft to a colleague who instantly said we should use a dogwood. Of course! Dogwood trees are hugely popular in my area. We even have a Dogwood Festival each year!

As I looked at the draft, I started thinking that the Pippin Hill granary was looking a little sad over on the right. That’s when local photographer Jen Fariello posted some beautiful images from a winter wedding at the venue.

pippinw

Image from Jen Fariello’s Facebook page / Photo by Jen Fariello Photography / Image posted with permission

Pat Roberts and Sherry Spencer from Pat’s Floral Designs (who happen to be our florists!), had put up some gorgeous wreaths at Pippin Hill for the holiday season. I loved them so much that I emailed one of Jen’s images to Tasha right away and asked if she could incorporate the wreaths into her design.

pippinw01

Image from Shindig Weddings and Events’ page on Facebook / Photo by Jen Fariello Photography / Image posted with permission

The final proof arrived last week and I was giddy over how beautifully it came out. I sent a quick tweet asking for some recommendations for local printers and my photographer’s husband responded that they liked to use T&N Printing. I rushed down to the shop where a nice man named Ken showed me paper options. He had the poster printed within minutes and even gave me a second copy for free.

Are you ready? Here’s the final copy:

PublicC

(names are edited, of course)

Seeing Junior Mink on the bottom makes my heart almost burst with excitement. I’m so happy with how this came out and am so thankful that Tasha was willing to go through multiple drafts with me to arrive at the final design.

What do you think of non-traditional guestbooks? Have you seen any in person at weddings? How were they received?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Mink

Location:
Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012

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  1. Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:54 pm

    Thats awesome! Love the Junior Mink appearance :)

  2. Member
    doily 1720 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:56 pm

    I love it! So cute!

  3. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:00 pm

    @Miss Eagle: Hee hee. That part made me especially excited!

    @Miss Doily: Thanks!!!

  4. Member
    elk 320 posts, Helper bee @ 4:00 pm

    This was totally my inspiration as well! My brother is making me the marriage certificate, and I begged him to put a little pup in the corner thanks to seeing this one! I love yours, its amazing!

  5. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:06 pm

    Sooo cute!!!!

  6. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 4:10 pm

    I LOVE this! Every element is just perfect :)

  7. Member
    BostonTerrier 70 posts, Worker bee @ 4:25 pm

    I love, love, love this! Ampersandink has been sitting in my Etsy favorites folder for a couple of months. For some reason, my fiance wants a formal guest book (who knew the guys cared about this?!). I haven’t given up yet though!

  8. Member
    trailmix 6663 posts, Bee Keeper @ 4:30 pm

    SO so so SO cute!

  9. Member
    castle 1191 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:42 pm

    OMG this is so flippin cute! Between this and your card box, I die. I know I sound like Rachel Zoe, but seriously this is so adorable.

  10. Member
    bookworm88 3316 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:01 pm

    I KNEW it was the dog you loved as soon as the picture loaded! This is adorable!

  11. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:15 pm

    @Miss Elk: It’s such a small detail, but such a charming one, isn’t it?!?

    @Future Army Wife: *happy dance*

    @Mrs. Pony: Hee hee. I think so, too!

    @BostonTerrier: Show him this and imagine your pup on the bottom of that poster. He’ll look sooooo cute!!!

    @Mrs. Trail Mix: :)

    @Miss Castle: Ha ha. Thanks! I don’t mind the Rachel Zoe references at all!

    @bookworm88: I’m kind of predictable, huh? :)

  12. Member
    MrsKeAloha 1044 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:21 pm

    Oh this is awesome! I love that it is customized to include your fur-baby and venue. How wonderful to have this displayed in your home.

  13. Member
    parasol 2955 posts, Sugar bee @ 7:15 pm

    Wow, your guestbook turned out amazing! I totally love it – your designer did such a great job!

  14. Member
    Missbliss 872 posts, Busy bee @ 7:52 pm

    Lovely! I have experienced a wide variety of guest book styles as a guest. I think this is one of my favorite types because it is something that definitely can be put on display or and could be stored away as a family keepsake without it being a big item to store. Of the other alternate styles that I have observed, I’ve noticed that signing a photo frame and or adding notes in a scrapbook style guest book, may not turn out the way you’d like! (The frames that I have seen signed are normally unevenly signed so that visually they look unbalanced, and I think it would be an annoyance in the long run.) The only scrapbook style guest book I’ve seen was for a special retirement party of a dear family friend. Her daughter is my age, and I think picked this style having experienced it at a wedding or seen it online. The group signing it was at a loss though so it didn’t work out as cute as it could have been…

  15. Member
    Miss Ariel 83 posts, Worker bee @ 8:15 pm

    This is absolutely adorable! I’m sure your guest are going to love it!

  16. Member
    sarenapanda 18 posts, Newbee @ 9:32 pm

    SO CUTE! Can I ask how many guests are you having at your wedding? Can everyone sign their names with the number of lines you have? Or did you have to print extra?

  17. Member
    archer 551 posts, Busy bee @ 9:35 pm

    adorable! i’ve been avoiding the guestbook decision because of option overload, but this is supercute!

  18. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:28 am

    @Miss Ke Aloha: I’m so excited about that! I’m not the type to blow up pictures of ourselves to hang on the wall, but we will definitely put this on our gallery wall!

    @Mrs. Parasol: She was amazing to work with. Tasha’s the best!

    @Missbliss: Thank you SO much for sharing. This is so interesting!

    @Miss Ariel: I hope so!

    @Miss Archer: I totally understand. It’s amazing that something so simple can be such a big decision!

    @sarenapanda: There are enough lines for each couple to sign with a few extras.

    I have always signed on one line of guestbooks with my fiance and to double check, I started a thread verifying that this was standard.

  19. Member
    ladyfingers 1257 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:16 am

    Wow, it’s so beautiful — good find!

  20. Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 4:23 am

    That is so cute! I love it, and I love that you’ll have all of the signatures in such a displayable format.

  21. Member
    candy apple 1877 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:49 am

    Love that!! So adorable :)

  22. Member
    StarryNight2011 3239 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:52 am

    Awesome! I wish I’d have found this before we were married. Love Jr Mink at the bottom! :)

  23. Member
    justsplendid 22 posts, Newbee @ 6:33 am

    We did something like this at our wedding and here are two pieces of advice that were helpful to me:

    - train your bridal party on how to sign the document, since they are likely to sign after you, your groom, and officiant. So, for example, if you want the names to go across the top and potentially leave the bottom spaces blank if there aren’t enough people to fill all the lines, make sure the bridal party starts signing this way as an example for the rest of your guests.

    - archival pens.

    We have ours hanging in our house now and it’s still great to see everyone’s names in their own handwriting. Glad you’re doing this!

  24. Member
    p2thedoodle 103 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:38 am

    So cute! Like so many of the other pp’s, I also love your little pup at the bottom! What a great way to incorporate him.

  25. Member
    ostrich 2402 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:06 am

    Beyond marvelous, Miss M. And YAY for junior mink!!

  26. Guest Icon Guest
    Tasha Montgomery, Guest @ 10:24 am

    Thank you @MissMink
    I’m so glad you are happy with your certificate. I loved working with you to re-create this beautiful setting for your big day. I hope you celebrate everyday & enjoy every moment.
    <3
    @AmpersandInk

  27. Member
    coyote 1562 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:42 am

    Oh my gosh Miss Mink. This might be the most beautiful guest book idea ever. I super love that junior mink is on it!

    @Tasha Montgomery: You did such an amazing job!

  28. Member
    Miss_Manda 301 posts, Helper bee @ 11:18 am

    Love it! Adorable, and so personal. Great find!

  29. Member
    honey 1684 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:57 pm

    OH wow, I would have totally reconsidered my guest book had I come across this! It’s adorable!

  30. Member
    Aud1628 540 posts, Busy bee @ 6:47 pm

    Love it! I am so envious over you creativity!! ;)

  31. Member
    msfox 1635 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:38 pm

    So super cute!! I definitely debated the Quaker style guestbook (I believe that’s what they’re called?) based on another Martha Stewart design.. the woman has some great inspiration! I love that you were able to get yours so customized.. you’ll definitely have that around forever.

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