Wedding prep checklist at the ready! Dress, tick. Cake, tick. Invites, tick. Flowers, tickety tick. But what about the smaller bits that might slip your mind until the weeks slash months before you say I do? We’re talking wedding favours, we’re talking signage and we’re absolutely talking guest books (tip: jot all these down in a checklist in your own personalised wedding planner AKA a Papier notebook so that nothing slips through the net).
But your wedding book’s got to do more than just sit somewhere waiting to be found and penned. Buckle up as we hurtle through eight wedding guest book ideas to make sure yours is signed, sealed and delivered to your newlywed hotel room door, ready to read over a glass of bubbles the morning after the night before.
Here at Papier, we’re big fans of the written word (surprise, surprise). But it’s not all about poetic scrawls and emotional scribbles. Make your wedding book more visual by spending a few pence on an instant camera, popping it down next to the book with a prompt for everyone to take a snap and stick it next to their message so you know who wrote what.
It’s much more creative than your standard sign-off, and it makes the filling out process ten times more fun. Be sure to leave a few sticks of glue in a pot nearby too so that the photos don’t go walkabout.
Got a wedding guest list of fine artists or painters? Ideal. Even if you don’t, leaving a selection of pens and colouring pencils (choose either a rainbow or colour or keep the tones to ones that suit your wedding’s colour scheme for a more curated look) gives people the option to get creative with their message.
As you flick through the pages, not only will things look more colourful and engaging, but you’re bound to find a beautiful sketch or two by friends or family members with artistic flair. Who knows, there may well be guests with a hidden talent who can surprise you with an illustration of a special moment or detail from your day. At the very least, you’ll have lots of hand-drawn heart emojis which are more than fitting for a day like today.
If you’re on board with the idea of your wedding book getting a little... experimental, then this next idea will be right up your street. Go one further than people shaking it like a Polaroid picture, take the arty idea of paint and pencil crayons up a gear (or three), and set up your wedding guest book on its own craft table, complete with glitter, scissors and whatever else you fancy.
Though, we suggest drawing a line at potatoes for potato printing and anything that could give rise to papier-mâché resurrections (you know how those creatives can be). The craft theme is something that suits some styles of wedding more than others – it’s more of an indie, bohemian, festival vibe than the classic, formal, afternoon tea and croquet-on-the-lawn sort of scene. But at the right wedding, it can bring a huge amount of fun and individuality to even the smallest of parts to your big day.
The wedding book might be about dedicating messages to the two of you, but there’s something that you can do in return that will make every guest feel like part of your book is a dedication to them as well. Some personalised wedding guest book designs can be set up so that there’s a photo on every page of each and every guest coming to the wedding.
The idea being, they open the book, can have a good old giggle looking through the pictures of everyone else in there, until they land on the page with their face looking back up at them. That’s when they know they’ve found their dedicated double page spread to put pen to paper.
The best ones are when it’s a photo of the two of you with said guest (or guests, in the case of couples and families who can share a page). A word of warning: this idea’s one of the nicest for everyone involved, but it’s a time consuming one. Unearthing and collating all of those pictures is no mean feat, so probably best left if time isn't on your side.
Don’t feel like you have to jump straight in with the emotional stuff. A novel idea is to earmark those first few pages to a crowd-sourced storytelling exercise. The idea being, every guest writes a single sentence in the book that relates to the one that came before it. You could always get the bridal party to get the ball rolling so people get where it’s going and what they need to do.
Otherwise, you could end up with somebody missing the point entirely and writing a Sci-fi sentence down for the book idea they’ve always had, rather than something relating to the two of you and your nuptials. It’s helpful to have some signage that goes next to the guest book with this idea, just so people don’t forget the story game is just a warm-up, ice-breaking spot of fun before the main event – their actual guest book message.
This one’s a classic, and it’s also a handy hint if you don’t want to run the risk of lots of messages of a similar ilk (the general yet meaningful well wishes). Ask everyone to write down their favourite, funniest or fondest memory that you’ve experienced together.
You’re basically setting a brief, shaping the content, leaving a set of completely non-bossy instructions. It’s your day after all, and your wedding book should be a balance of the sort of things you’d love to hear from your nearest and dearest and what they want to share with you. It’s about compromise (the marital mantra).
Does a traditional guest book not quite float your boat? It’s not for everyone, but if you still want there to be some way for guests to pour their heart out using pen and paper, think about guest notecards instead. Leave one per place setting or a neat stack for each table – whichever suits your tablescapes best – and select a design that matches your wedding stationery.
That way, they won’t seem like an afterthought and will complement the menu, table plan and place cards. You could always choose a pretty pen and leave one per person as a wedding favour idea too. When they’re all done, you’ll have a book of notes to treasure forever.
If you’re reading this as a wedding-guest-to-be, and you’re thinking that you’re always stumped for what to say when the clock chimes wedding book hour, then you’re suffering from a little bout of writer’s block. Doctor’s advice includes writing any of the following: memories, memories and more memories of time spent with the newlyweds; guidance and marriage insights (try to not go all preachy here, but instead share advice on the things they might not expect or think of, like, always kiss good morning or good night because a daily PDA goes a long way); and if in doubt, just stick with the classic thank you. A from-the-heart message of gratitude for being part of one of the biggest days of their lives will never go out of style.