Leave Your Mark: On Guestbooks

Every wedding I’ve been to has had a guestbook for people to leave their well wishes. I love signing these—I like to think it must be so nice to go back and read all the messages people left for you. What can I say, I’m a big old sentimental mush.

Anyway, when we first started wedding planning, I was pretty convinced that we were going to do a photo guestbook, like so:

(Image via shutterfly.com)

I mean, our engagement photos came out pretty freaking awesome, if I may say so myself—a photo guestbook would be the perfect way to show them off, right? And these can be done pretty affordably via Shutterfly, Vistaprint, etc.

But, then again, there is little in this world I hate more than clutter, and while I could picture myself flipping through the book a few times, I could also picture it collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. Living in a two-bedroom apartment, as we do, every square inch is vital real estate. So let’s explore some other, more compact, options”¦


(Image via TumblingTimbers on Etsy)

Jenga—this was Stallion’s favorite option, so naturally I don’t like it, and the fact that we never have and probably never will play Jenga has nothing to do with it. You guys, I’m looking for an option that isn’t going to take up a ton of space, so let’s move on.


(Image via SayAnythingDesign on Etsy)

Thumbprint tree—now we’re talking. Something we could hang on the wall wouldn’t take up any space at all, and we could look at it every day and be reminded of what a fabulous wedding we had. I love the tree symbolism, too. Downside? Thinking from a guest’s perspective, I’d hate to get all dressed up and have to get ink on my hands. Then again, that could be easily remedied by making sure there were wet naps or something at the guestbook station, right?


(Image via Fresh Modern Handmade)

Quilt—I’m one of those people who is constantly cold, so I would actually use this on a daily basis. I do sew but I’ve never quilted before, and I’m not sure if my very first quilt should be something so important. I do have plenty of time to practice, though.


(Image via printyourparty on Etsy)

Platter—I love the look of this, but from what I’ve read, it’s not dishwasher/oven safe once signed, so it’d have to be a display piece only.

(Image via studio3 on Etsy)

Photo mat—this would be another way to show off an engagement photo (to be replaced with a wedding photo after the big day, of course), and like the thumbprint tree, it would look great hanging up in our apartment.


(Image via Real Simple)

Map—similar to the photo mat idea, only it doesn’t scream “wedding” quite as much. Problem is, for Stallion and me, we’ve lived in a few places over the years, so what would we use a map of? He’s from Florida, I’m from New Jersey, we’ve lived in Philadelphia and Boston, and we’re getting married at the Jersey Shore. Maybe a map of the United Kingdom, since we both studied abroad there? Or Jamaica, since that’s where we’re going for our honeymoon? So many choices!

Will you have a guestbook at your wedding? What will you be using?


Mrs. Filly

Boston, MA
Wedding Date:
April 2014
Gallery of the Day: October 16, 2013
I Whale Always Love You: Fighting for Our Right to Party!

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  1. msjackrabbit Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:40 am

    As much as I like the thumbprint tree, it doesn’t leave room for people to actually give you their well wishes. It’s just… a stamp of their finger or whatever.

    We had an actual book (a tiny one) and honestly, some of the essays that friends and family wrote in there brought tears to my eyes. And not to mention how much we laughed when we saw drunken scrawls of others who had left the guest book until late on in the evening.

    I guess I just really like books because it’s the only way your guests can really write something big down. And a book can be tucked away. Ours certainly needs to be tucked away – glowstick juice got all over it. So glad I don’t have to display it after that accident!

  2. Member
    spring-bride 232 posts, Helper bee @ 11:57 am

    For our guestbook, we used a large coffee table book of photos of the city where we live and got married. People signed the blank front and back inside cover pages and on the white space on the interior pages. The book was organized by neighborhood, so it was fun to see which neighborhoods people picked to write in! We figure we can actually display this book and enjoy it, as well as flip through when we want to read the lovely notes from our friends and family.

  3. pyramid Member
    Mrs. Pyramid 104 posts, Blushing bee @ 2:16 pm

    Can’t wait to see what you decide to do…I’m torn in that I want something cute and nice, but I also don’t want something that will just collect dust. And I always dread that no one will sign it and I will have something lame and half-filled!

  4. Member
    daniellekira 573 posts, Busy bee @ 2:19 pm

    I love the jenga, map and thumb print ideas, in that order. If you do a map you could do Jersey since you are getting married there. You could add your names and wedding date too. Depending on your theme, you could go the route our friends did and put wood pieces together, have everyone sign that and hang it up. Looks great on their wall.

  5. Member
    In the media 1565 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:10 pm

    Quilts are actually a pretty significant part of my life, so that’s a really good idea. I make quilts for cancer patients, so having one just for me would be awesome.

  6. msfilly Member
    Mrs. Filly 71 posts, Worker bee @ 4:16 pm

    @RositaB: That’s an awesome alternative! If one of my guests got ink on their nice clothes, I’d feel horrible, so the more mess-proof, the better.

    @Soon2BMrsMcF: Wet wipes seem like a great way to keep ink-related calamity at bay – great idea!

    @Josina: Okay, that Little Big Town record is officially the coolest guestbook idea I have ever heard of. LOVE it. I got a keepsake wedding planner album sort of thing as an engagement gift, but – I’m so embarrassed to admit it – I haven’t done anything with it. Oops!

    @excitedtobeMRSF: As a Villanova basketball fan, I’m glad you didn’t use a Syracuse jersey as your guestbook, haha. But a sports jersey is an awesome idea – we’ll definitely look into that!

    @Mrs. Buffalo: I had never heard of doing Mad Libs as a guestbook until I started reading the Bee, but it has the potential to be absolutely hysterical, especially once the drinks start flowing. I’m strongly considering it :)

    @jessc4343: The porch furniture sounds awesome! What a great keepsake! If only I had a porch … but adirondack chairs work in a living room too, right? 😉

    @Karen English: To say I am a wine drinker is a huuuge understatement, haha. That’s such a cool idea!

    @MsGeekE: I’m so glad you love your photo mat – it seems like a great way to capture memories from that day!

    @Miss_Mimosa: That is SO cool. You have to do a green plate now – I love that!

    @Mrs. Jackrabbit: I feel like our guestbook entries will be similar … sweet/heartfelt at the beginning, drunken scrawling at the end. Sucks about the glowstick accident, though. But it’s just a reminder of what a rocking party you guys had :)

    @spring-bride: That’s awesome! Kind of a twist on the traditional guestbook – I love it!

    @Miss Pyramid: I see we’re in the same boat … good thing we have plenty of time to decide! I’m with you, the last thing I want is something that will collect dust/take up valuable space. And don’t be silly, you don’t have to worry about people not signing your guestbook! I bet it’ll be packed by the end of the night. Who doesn’t love signing stuff?

    @daniellekira: That’s really cool how they turned their guestbook into a work of art – love that idea!

    @In the media: Oh wow, that’s so thoughtful and generous of you – I’m sure the quilts are VERY appreciated, and yes, after all that effort, you definitely deserve one of your own!!

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Valerie, Guest @ 5:57 pm

    I wanted a thumbprint tree but had the same thought as you re: ink on people’s fingers. I found one on etsy where the leaves are already on the print and people write their names on the leaves. Super cute and problem solved!

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Allie, Guest @ 12:19 pm

    For my bridal shower, my friend made me a framed piece of art with the state where I grew up, the state where my husband grew up, and the state where we meet connected with hearts. You could do something like that on paper and have people sign it so that you dont have to choose one state.

  9. Member
    veggie_rachel 575 posts, Busy bee @ 5:07 pm

    We had a photo mat and it turned out awesome. I will admit though, that we apparently have family who can’t properly spell either of our names, so there are pretty glaring misspellings that we can’t do anything about… :(

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