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

    Love that!! So adorable :)

  2. Member
    StarryNight2011 3211 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:52 am

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

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

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

  6. 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

  7. Member
    coyote 1503 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!

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

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

  9. 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!

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

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

  11. 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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