The wedding guestbook is one of those old traditions that everyone agrees you have to have, but which doesn’t really serve a unique purpose. If you look at it from a neutral point of view, isn’t it odd that your wedding has the same guestbook you see at a funeral, a bed & breakfast, or an office building? If you’d like to do something a little more unique for your wedding, here are some guestbook alternatives that encourage your guests to be a little more creative, and that create something you’ll enjoy looking at for years to come.
Most wedding receptions these days have a photo booth. The first couple of times we encountered one it was innovative and fun; now it just seems weird if the reception doesn’t have one. But you can go to the next level, and replace that guestbook, if you set up a video-recording guestbook booth. Just set up your space, have someone man the camera, and give each guests thirty seconds to leave a message. You’ll get a mix of advice, jokes, and memories that will be worth watching on every anniversary.
If your game night always includes a round or two of Jenga, have your guests help make a custom wedding set. Encourage your guests to write their names and a piece of advice for the wedding couple on one of the wooden blocks–provide fine-tipped ballpoint pens or permanent markers to make sure the words don’t rub off. Now whenever you play the game you can read your guests’ well-wishes and remember your special day.
Let’s face it; unless you have a table leg that needs leveling, a guestbook isn’t a particularly useful artifact. Instead of a book, buy a plain (unglazed) serving platter from a craft or home store and some permanent markers. We recommend oil-based paint Sharpies to make sure the colors survive the baking process. After your guests sign the platter, take it home and bake it for a half an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking it sets the marker so it won’t wash off (you should still keep it out of the dishwasher, though). It’ll be the perfect dish to serve your anniversary dinners on.
Don’t just get your guests’ signatures: book ‘em! Grab a stretched canvas and brightly-colored stamp pads at your local craft store. Then encourage your guests to leave a fingerprint with a signature underneath. By the end of the reception, you’ll have a colorful memento suitable for framing.
It’s all well and good to ask your guests to provide some advice when they sign the guestbook, but without guidance, many folks end up at a loss for words. Help them by making cards with questions on them. The guests can pick which card to sign and which piece of advice to give. For example, the card could say, “best place to spend an anniversary,” or “best way to end an argument.” Your guests are far more likely to give good advice if you give them a topic to start with.
The traditional wedding guestbook is a good way to get a record of who was at your ceremony, but it doesn’t do much else. Try any of the above ideas to create a work of art or a memento that you’ll want to revisit again and again.