Ah, the guest book. That time-old tradition of having guests…well…sign-in to your reception. Although literally a list, a guest book is also a memento of those individuals you deemed worthy of joining you in celebrating your nuptials.
If you’re unlikely to ever review that book, however – as many of our brides are very honest about – a guest book might not be high on your list of must-haves. After all, unless you plan on perusing it once or twice a year, it is just a book to stash in your ‘wedding memories box’.
However, HJ highly recommends having a guest book – in whatever form you wish – not only because guests expect there to be one, but because you will want to look at one some time to remind you of your special evening. Fortunately, we’ve found many alternatives to the traditional guest book, each of which we’ve seen successfully implemented in our weddings.
Are you and your fiancé fans of a specific type of wine or champagne? Buy several bottles and some colorful paint pens and ask guests to put their well-wishes right onto the glass. One of HJ’s couples bought five bottles - one for their first, fifth, tenth, 20th and 50th anniversaries – gold and silver paint pens and printed up a short blurb explaining that they would joyfully read the notes on the bottle before opening each at its designated time. Guests were thrilled with the idea, quickly scribbling all over those delicious drink bottles. You can even go so far as to print out labels from your own computer.
One of our brides has a collection of fun plates hanging in her kitchen. In lieu of a traditional guest book she opted for an engraveable plate. Purchased online, the plate was etched with her and her fiancé’s names and wedding date in the middle and came with a set of diamond-studded pens that allowed each guest to scratch their name, remark or congratulations onto the plate’s surface. Today, that plate hangs prominently in her kitchen, reminding her of her nuptials with every glance.
Alternative: mirror with paint pens; just remember to remind guests to leave some space free in the middle of the mirror, so that it’s still serviceable enough to provide a reflection.
Other alternative: flower vase.
Do you fiancé travel extensively? Have you planned a honeymoon to an exotic location? One of our couples recently had large maps of their hometown (DC) and honeymoon destination (South Africa) printed to use as guest books. The bottom of each map contained the couple’s names and wedding date. Guests were provided with sharpies to write their names or congrats on the maps.
Alternative: use a globe instead of maps; then, anywhere you travel, someone you love will be with you.
Are you a fan of board games? If so, purchase a Jenga set and pull it apart. Place the wooden pieces in a decorated basket and provide guests with markers. You and your fiancé will spend countless Friday night date nights competing to see who can build the tallest Jenga tower.
Alternatives: wooden heart pieces make a great table centerpiece when put together in a bowl, and allow you to periodically pull one out to remind you of your fabulous evening. Additionally, puzzles –whether blank, of a photo of you and your spouse or the city in which you live – are just as much fun as Jenga.
Other alternatives: wine corks, wine glass charms. Combined with wine bottles, either or both of these options would certainly round out your anniversary celebrations.
Canvas and Paint
Seeking something to decorate your new home? Consider purchasing a plain (or framed) blank canvas and providing (preferably washable) paints in the colors you used in your wedding décor. Guests will have a blast painting their names or a sweet picture for you to hang predominantly in your home.
Note: aprons and drop cloth may be necessary.
Want to truly celebrate your union? Purchase wooden monogram letters in your joint initials (either one for your joint last name or two for each of the starting letter of your first names and letter of your last name) and provide guests with markers. This ‘guest book’ looks great hanging anywhere in your home.
Signing off for today…