Green Guest Book Alternative: Build a Tree

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The question of guest book or no guest book has a lot of brides down. Of course you would love for your guests to fill out a book so you know not only who was there but how many thank you cards you are going to have to write. The problem is that the guest book has gone the way of the chicken dance in a lot of modern weddings. It is not something most brides are excited about or something that they want to spend money on. With that being said why not spice up this tradition with a new spin?

Green weddings are becoming so much more popular and one great way you can incorporate something “green” into your wedding is by throwing out that old tradition of the guest book and creating a guest tree. There are wish trees and sending the couple notes, both of which use a lot of paper. You could do a photo booth but again that isn’t the most ecological thing to do. Then there is an idea that is not only eco-friendly, but also a fun play on a nature-conscious wedding… a guest tree.

What exactly is a guest tree you may ask? The tradition of a family tree goes back hundreds of years as a way for a family to trace the roots of its ancestors. This is a great way to take that tradition and record who shared in the making of your new family. It does not only have to be relatives that participate. Having friends on your guest tree makes it all the more special. After all, friends are simply family you have chosen to share your lives with.

There are a couple ways that you can create your guest tree. You can download templates online and have them printed out at office supply stores. Or you can draw and create your very own tree. Leave the branches blank for all of the fingerprints, which will be your leaves. At the base of your tree it is nice to add in a personalized image, something that means a lot to you and your future spouse. It can be your dog, birds on the branches, a swing or initials “carved” into the tree. There are a bunch of cute ideas you can use to make your guest tree special.

Next you would want to think about the ink your guests will be using for the leaves on the tree. Color is something that can differentiate one tree from another. Incorporate the season of your wedding. In spring and summer think green and yellow leaves. Red, yellow and orange leaves for a fall wedding would be perfect. If you are having a winter wedding, use your wedding colors. This does not have to be realistic, have fun with it. If you want to be very DIY you can make your own ink at home for guests to use. This can be kind of tricky so unless you are comfortable with the process you should buy your ink. To keep it earth friendly, make sure to buy refillable ink pads with natural ink.

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Set up your guest tree on a flat surface with the ink and pens or fine tip markers next to the tree. Have each guest place a fingerprint on a branch and write their name underneath their respective print. In no time you will have branches full of memories.

One last thing you want to remember is that your guests are going to need to clean their fingers after stamping on your guest tree. You can use baby wipes, which tend to work the best but are not the most earth friendly. You can also use lemon juice, rubbing alcohol or lava soap to be eco conscious. With some of the more natural inks, soap and water work wonders.

By the end of the night you will have a beautiful tree full of your family and friends’ prints. You can frame it and hang your tree in your home. Looking at it each day will remind you of the guests that made your wedding so full and special. It is the perfect beginning to your growing family tree.

About Kristin: I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a dual Bachelors degree in 2008. I then started working in the nonprofit sector doing event planning. After planning my own wedding in 2010 I discovered a passion for weddings and have been a freelance planner ever since. I am also the owner and operator of Kristi’s Confections, a specialty cake and confections company. I live in South Florida with my husband and 1-year-old daughter. Follow me on Google.

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