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Rewriting the Guestbook Rules

A guestbook can get ignored. A guest book can be chucked or just forgotten. Don’t let that happen to yours! Create a memorable, engaging, fun, and unique guestbook. There are many pictures, DIY videos (one is featured below), and more online to get you inspired.  Further below are some highlights I think are worthy and accessible and which can be achieved stylishly by craft-inexperienced people.

Guestbooks To Be Hung Up or Displayed

Guestbooks don’t have to be actual books, so once you displace that old idea, you free your creativity to rethink not only how your guests leave their mark but also how you will revisit your special day. Instead of a book wedged into a bookshelf or left in a side table, you can display your memories in a shadowbox or in a picture frame. It can even hang from the ceiling.

  • Replace paper pages with slides of transparent or colored plastic that guests can write on with a metallic Sharpie. Hang these on a chandelier-like apparatus, or something that will take advantage of natural light. It’s also possible to stage-light it. It would make a beautiful, colorful, and unique display.
  • Print or paint a picture of a tree or balloons with space for people to leave short messages and signatures.
  • Order a large puzzle imprinted with a picture of the bride and groom.  Ask guests to sign and leave messages on two pieces that fit together.  Finish the puzzle, affixed with a strong, clear adhesive that won’t yellow over time, and display in a floater frame.
  • Print or paint a picture of a tree or balloons where each leaf or balloon is a guest’s fingerprint that also can be signed. There won’t be room for messages.
  • Lay out a supersized canvas with paints and pens and invite guests to write, draw, and paint blessings, advice, and best wishes. Leave disposable gloves and some hand wipes to keep guests’ hands clean.

As a Game or Way to Engage Guests

  • Set out a fishbowl or glass jar to be filled with miniature envelopes which contain advice or blessings from guests.
  • Take skipping stones or river stones and let the guests write blessings and good wishes on each one.  If you are near water, they can skip them, or if you will go near water, you could do it yourself. They can even be just a pretty display of stones in a glass hurricane lantern.

Smaller Keepsakes For Albums and Scrapbooks

  • Use an antique typewriter and ask guests to type you a message. People in antique stores can’t help but push the keys, so I think wedding guests might be inclined to tap the keys and find it fun.
  • Put a place-mat of sorts with colored pens at each guest’s’seat and invite them to personalize it.  You can have some pre-printed prompts, a cartoon of the bride and groom in a throwback to place-mats at restaurants, or you can make something much more posh and refined by color printing on a heavy-stock premium paper.  Then you can put them in a scrapbook to page through in years to come.

Actual Photo Book with Pictures Versus a Blank Guestbook

  • Create a photo book at Shutterfly with open pages for signatures and messages that include pictures of the bride and groom and maybe even friends and family.  It will be more of a yearbook and much more interesting in years to come than a simple book of signatures.

Best Way to Attract Guests

Have someone attend the guestbook, but preferably not just at the church or reception sitting or standing at a table or podium, but at a thoughtful display.  Have the guestbook at the end of a display of memorabilia and decorations and treats for the guests.  Have the display open and available throughout the reception.  Have something for each guest to pickup, such as a disposable camera to snap pictures or some sweets to enjoy.  Instead of thank-you’s at the table, how about thank-you’s at the guestbook display.

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The author: Dawn Van Ness

Dawn Dickson Van Ness grew up at the beach and has published her work in print and online. With a BA in English and a MS in Mass Communications, she has used writing and multimedia to promote artists, art shows, writers, small businesses, and other self-employed individuals by building websites and maintaining social media pages. She feels most fulfilled when she is helping others achieve their dreams, which includes writing self-help and steps-to-success articles for various websites. It seems a natural fit for this wife and mother of two to write features that help soon-to-be wed couples. For more about Dawn, go to www.dawnvanness.me.


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