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”¦

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(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.

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(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?

wedding-small-3

(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.

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(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.

map-guestbook_gal

(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?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Filly

Location:
Boston, MA
Wedding Date:
April 2014
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    RositaB, Guest @ 8:02 am

    There is an awesome option on Etsy that is similar to the thumbprint tree, but guests don’t have to ink on their hands! We found a tree that came with a leaf stamp, and then had the guests sign the leaf. Looks sooo good when it’s done!!

  2. Member
    Soon2BMrsMcF 36 posts, Newbee @ 8:05 am

    I love the thumbprint tree. My friend had her guest book station at the end of the receiving line with a box of wet wipes, it worked out really well and ensured that everyone (most people?) signed it!

  3. Member
    josina 687 posts, Busy bee @ 8:18 am

    We ended up with 2 for our wedding. One was a wedding album that my mom gifted us – it was very neat and allowed me to document every aspect of the wedding planning; the engagement, shower, rehearsal, wedding, and gifts, even our honeymoon and first year as husband and wife. Very cool and was the same style guestbook mom & dad used at their wedding 30 years before so fit with our vintage theme. (no idea where she got it or what to even search for to explain!)
    Our 2nd guestbook was a record we had guest sign… we got engaged before going to a Little Big Town concert and were able to get a record signed from them saying congrats with our engagement date. Only fitting to have our wedding guests sign the record sleeve so it is sentimental for both the engagement and record and truly one-of-a-kind! It is on display in our home now.

  4. Member
    excitedtobeMRSF 857 posts, Busy bee @ 8:19 am

    We are doing a phillies jersey that has my FI last name and 14 for the year and having guests sign it like they were “autographing” it and we will frame it for by our other sports stuff! You could always do something college related! Our college was Syracuse and its hard to sign on orange and our nfl teams are both very dark colors as well.

  5. Member
    josina 687 posts, Busy bee @ 8:19 am

    We ended up with 2 for our wedding. One was a wedding album that my mom gifted us – it was very neat and allowed me to document every aspect of the wedding planning; the engagement, shower, rehearsal, wedding, and gifts, even our honeymoon and first year as husband and wife. Very cool and was the same style guestbook mom & dad used at their wedding 30 years before so fit with our vintage theme. (no idea where she got it or what to even search for to explain!)
    Our 2nd guestbook was a record we had guest sign… we got engaged before going to a Little Big Town concert and were able to get a record signed from them saying congrats with our engagement date. Only fitting to have our wedding guests sign the record sleeve so it is sentimental for both the engagement and wedding and truly one-of-a-kind! It is on display in our home now.

  6. Member
    buffalo 178 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:48 am

    I guess we TECHNICALLY did 2–we did madlibs (which were hilarious) and a thumbprint tree. We had wet-naps and it wasn’t a big deal at all! Of course our wedding wasn’t formal, but I still think as long as you have wetnaps you should be fine!

  7. Member
    jessc4343 219 posts, Helper bee @ 8:49 am

    I’m of the same thought regarding a book of signatures, although I was definitely considering the engagement photo book

    …until I came across the idea of having your guests sign a *insert piece of wood furniture here.* So we bought two unfinished adirondack chairs and some oil-based sharpies and I made a “Sign a Slat” sign. Now we’ll have two really interesting pieces of furniture to add to our porch! Also, to mimic the chairs I bought two miniature ones off Etsy and will put those on one of our cakes.

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Karen English, Guest @ 9:03 am

    We just went to a wedding where the couple had us sign wine bottles! If your not a wine drinker than I don’t think this would be a good idea, but they had 4. One for their one year anniversary, 5 year, 10 yr and then 20 yr. They made really cute labels and had silver & gold sharpies. I thought it was a cute idea.

  9. Member
    MsGeekE 77 posts, Worker bee @ 9:38 am

    We did a photo mat guestbook and LOVED it! It is hanging in one of the highest-traffic areas in our house and I love looking at it every time I walk by. Sometimes I stop and read a few messages and smile at how awesome our friends and family are. I wanted something that wouldn’t take up space and that both we and anyone who comes to visit our house could see and enjoy, and the photo mat nailed it. :-D

    Good luck!

  10. Member
    Miss_Mimosa 190 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:24 am

    I love the map idea, but whatever you choose will be wonderful! My boyfriends last name is actually Greenplate so I always envisioned our guestbook to be an actual green plate that everyone signs!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. Member
    pyramid 95 posts, Worker 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!

  14. 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.

  15. Member
    In the media 1722 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.

  16. Member
    msfilly 827 posts, Busy 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!!

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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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