Your wedding is a day unlike any other. It’s the one day when all the special people in your life come together and celebrate love. And not just any love—you and your new spouse’s love. It’s a rare occasion during which you get to bring all the important people in your life together, so you simply must document it. A traditional guest book can do this, but looking back at signatures on a piece of paper may not effectively bring back your wedding memories. A creative guest book alternative that matches your wedding theme or personalities may be in order.
If you’re looking for a more creative way to document this special day, we’ve gathered 20 wedding guest book alternatives that are sure to capture all the love and happiness you and your guests will be feeling and dying to express. Read on for our unique wedding guest book ideas.
While polaroid cameras come at a higher price point, they provides instant results. Place a polaroid camera on each table at the reception. The cameras can be accompanied by a cute note explaining that guests are welcome to take their photos and write messages on the bottom or back of them. Leave a few markers for guests to write with and let the memories create themselves. Once you’ve gathered all the polaroids, you can compile them and create your own DIY wedding guest book. Use a photo album with double-sided pages to keep the photos and messages visible as you flip through them.
Throw it back with some 2004 family vacation vibes by incorporating disposable cameras into your reception. This is a cheaper alternative to polaroid cameras and guests will be able to snap a ton of shots without wasting expensive rolls of film. The disposable camera photo guest book is executed similarly to the polaroid method. Leave note cards and writing utensils at each table alongside the cameras. Encourage guests to write they are well wishes in addition to taking as many photos as they want.
Once you have physical copies of the photographs, pair them with the cards left on the table and place them all together in a scrapbook. Piecing together everyone’s photos and messages will take some time, but it’s going to be a blast for any DIY enthusiast.
Acrylic signage and wedding decor are extremely popular at the present moment—and for good reason. It gives off a clean, minimalistic appearance that goes with just about any wedding theme you’ve been planning for. That said, consider displaying a large slate of it for guests to sign with paint markers. To maintain that minimal look, go with markers of all one color, like white.
If textiles are more your cup of tea, try swapping the guest book out for a guest quilt. Sew the actual quilt together before the big day. During the reception, have guests sign the quilt with fabric markers. Take your newly decorated quilt home when the wedding is over and lay it over the back of the couch, the end of the bed, or any other cozy place you want to display your memories. The quilt will be a comforting reminder of your wedding days for years to come.
As any experienced DIY-er knows, a shadow box is a picture frame with a spacious interior that allows you to display a wide variety of items inside it. In terms of a DIY wedding guest book, shadow boxes can be used to create an artful display out of your loved ones' heartfelt messages. Have guests write on unique objects that you’d like to hang on the wall. Some ideas for what to place in the shadow box may include wooden hearts, paper airplanes, seashells, and wine corks. Or, go beyond this list and choose something specific to your wedding’s theme.
If you have a quality camera, a video guest book will be a piece of cake. Ask around to see if someone on your guest list would be interested in taking charge of the video guest book (or hire a professional) and have them go around the reception filming everyone’s well wishes. Editing this together doesn’t have to be difficult, either. Use simple software, such as iMovie or Microsoft Movie Maker, to easily splice these fun little snippets together.
Everyone has a smartphone these days. Take advantage of the selfie phenomenon by having your loved ones film their short videos using their phone’s front camera. An easy way to compile all of these messages is by having guests send them directly to you or your spouse. Make this easy on guests by placing a notecard on each table at the reception with a phone number, email address, or QR code to send their videos to.
Another guest book idea that’s been growing in popularity also revolves around the idea of a recorded message. That said, this gust book alternative revolves entirely around your loved one’s voices. To achieve this guest book idea, purchase a prop phone that will record your guests’ voice messages between the times they pick up and hang up the phone. Not only will you be able to play back their loving words, but you’ll be able to hear the love and excitement in their voices, as well. Plus, the fake phone can make for a cute keepsake post-wedding.
So, traditional guest books, puzzles, and recordings aren’t quite your style—but perhaps fun games you can use at a latter date (like future game nights) are. Enter: Giant jenga. This popular game involves stacking many wooden jenga blocks on top of one-another, then taking turns trying to pull one out. As a guest book alternative, purchase a plain set and provide a sign that prompts guests to write their names and a message of well-wishes on one piece. You can opt for the traditional, smaller size, but we suggest instead seeking out the giant version. It’ll allow for more room to write, as well as make for a stand-out piece of wedding decor.
Perhaps you’re hosting a beach wedding or one with a nautical theme. Perhaps you and your spouse-to-be are simply big fans of wine. In either case, you can integrate these things into a themed wedding guest book. Rather than have guests sign a page in a book, ask that they write a note, some advice, a date night idea, or a bucket list item for you both on a small piece of paper. They can then roll it up, securely tie it closed with a small piece of ribbon or twine, and drop it into the provided empty wine bottle. Then, some time after the wedding, you can your partner can take the notes out of your new-found memento and read them together.
Say you and your partner are known to travel a fair bit. You enjoy jet-setting around or out of the country and each of your loved ones knows that about you. Play into this aspect of your personalities and relationship with a globe-style guest book. In lieu of a blank book, set out a globe meant to be written on with words of wisdom and well-wishes of all kinds. Set yours up atop a vintage trunk or stylish coffee table to really maximize its travel-themed affects.
If a globe isn’t practical, doesn’t fit your surrounding wedding decor, or simply isn’t your style, consider a printed (or hand-drawn, if you’re artistic) map instead. If you, your partner, and your loved ones are primarily from the same city or area, opt for a map of it and ask everyone to sign or annotate their favorite places they’ve been with you. They can also leave date night recommendations!
One more for the vintage and travel-savvy. Amidst wedding planning, begin purchasing and collecting a series of vintage post cards for your guests to sign at your reception. Display them on a card fixture or next to a full-blown mailbox for the full effect and ask that guests jot down their travel recommendations to you.
Big fans or music or record collecting? Display your passion with this creative guest book idea. With your partner, decide on a record (if not two or three, depending on your guest list size) that you’d like your loved ones to sign. Then, set it atop an actual record player, frame, or other sturdy surface at your wedding reception. Set some paint markers in your wedding colors next to it and ask that guests sign away. In the days following your wedding, frame the record(s) as a keepsake and put them up as wall art in your home.
The best part of having a wedding guest book—aside from watching all of your nearest and dearest sign it—is being able to look back at each of the notes that they’ve left. While some couples prefer to sit down and do this all at once, others prefer to take their time revealing their friends’ and family’s kind words and marriage advice. What better way to do that than to have your guest book be a personalized calendar? Encourage guests to write their names and notes throughout the pages (and perhaps even on specific dates). That way, as each month passes, you’re greeted with their love.
Another unique alternative to the typical guest book is the option of a large canvas. Allow all of your guests’ messages to sit side-by-side and come together on a custom canvas, either painted or printed in a design that’s just for you. Brain storm a beloved location or self-portrait as its centerpiece—and don’t forget your names and wedding date.
Similarly, display a custom sign with your first names, shared last name, wedding date, and/or a fun phrase or wedding hashtag and asks guests to write directly on it. Prop it up on a table or easel for a more rustic wedding look, leave a handful of sharpies or markers nearby, and watch as guests line up to sign your sign (sorry, we had to).
How would your wedding day feel without all your loved ones by your side? A wedding is a bit like a puzzle, and the guests are the puzzle pieces. Bring this idea to life by turning your wedding guest book into a DIY puzzle. When the wedding is over, collect all your pieces and work on building the puzzle once again. This makes for a sweet activity you can do as newlyweds, and as you try to determine where each piece goes, it gives you the chance to examine each message carefully.
Perhaps you’re trying to stick to wedding decor you’ll want to take straight home after your “I do’s” and following celebration. As a unique and practical alternative, have your guests sign a set of coasters. These can be wooden for a rustic look, stone for something a bit more modern, and so on and so forth. Once they’ve all been signed, pack them up and take them home. Guests will love visiting your home and seeing their personalized notes on proud display.
Are you both really into crossword puzzles or playing Scrabble? Do you always seem to have the right word at just the right moment? Odds are you make good use of a dictionary (physical or mobile). Play on this notable trait by having guests sign an actual dictionary. Encourage them to find and circle a word that they believe describes you as a couple, then sign and leave a lovely note. Finally, ask that they mark the page with a page marker or sticky note for you to turn to.
Go beyond the flimsy guest book pages. Store your memories in a unique way that will catch your eye for years to come. The happiness your wedding brings doesn’t have to end once the big day is over.
By opting for a more creative take on the traditional wedding guest book, both you and your loved ones will have more fun and create stronger memories—and you may even go home with a beautiful piece of artwork.