Guestbook alternatives for creative couples

[related-post]Over the years of Offbeat Bride, we've seen some really unique guest books that step WAY outside the lines of empty book and pens left on a table. If you're looking for a way to personalize your wedding even more check out this guestbook alternatives round-up…

Instruments as guestbooks

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Instruments make awesome guest books. We've seen guitars and drums put to good use as guestbooks, but this is our first blue french horn guestbook. Uploaded to the OBB Flickr pool by marlasinger84, she explains that this horn was covered in silver signatures and it's future home is their mantle.

Typewriter guestbook

guestbook table
These have been popping up all over the place. Perfect for vintage-style weddings to set the old-timey tone from the very beginning.

Guestbook trees

Guest "Book"
Branches sticking out a glass vase provided an easy way to make a tree. Flickr member lutra98685 uploaded this to the OBB pool and explained that their guests hung fall "leaves" for everyone to sign and then hang. The sign is a piece of log that was painted with chalkboard paint. "A fun idea for any teacher."

Guestbook banner

Our guest"book"
You could have your guests sing something like banner flags, or these letters that spelled out Flickr member outommyboychick's last name, who said, "Now we can hang up our wedding 'guestbook' when we finally get a house."

Wishing rock guestbook and variations there of

Our Shell Guestbook
Jenie uploaded this to our Flickr pool and explains, "The signed seashells in that vase were our guest book at our 'wedding shower/going away/pre-elopement party.' Ever heard of a wishing rock guestbook? We had wishing sea shells."

Guestbook poster

JenandDavid042311_375
Photo by Marvylous Photography
Find a poster of some special significance, or create one, or frame a photo of the two of you surrounded by large matting for your guests to sign. Then once it's done you can hang it up in your home.

Guestboard

The Guestbook(board)
Along the same lines of the guestbook poster is this guestboard. Just put up a blank piece of poster board for your guests to sign and decorate as they wish. You'll never know what you'll end up with.

Photobooth/guestbook

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Your photobooth can double as your guest book as long as you ad a chalk board or a dry-erase board as something to write a message on.

Polaroid guestbook


I used one of these guest books at my wedding and it was a hit. The guests loved it as much as I did and to this day I still flip through it laughing my ass off at the silly pictures and corresponding messages.

Video guestbook

Nita & Rehan's Message Booth from Hello Super Studios on Vimeo.

If you've hired a videographer, or a service like Hello Super 8They ♥ OBB; we ♥ them this would be super easy, or perhaps just set up a video camera much like you'd set up a photo booth and have your guests record their well wishes.

Personal card guestbook

we dont need no stinking guestbook
Sometimes what you want to say isn't either easy or appropriate to write in a book that everyone and their MOM can read through. The note on the table reads: "In lieu of a guest book please select a card from the table and share you thoughts, wishes and advice. Place in an envelope for Meaghan and Joe to save for a rainy day."

Guestball

the dodgeball "card"
I could see this being perfect if you guys are into some kind of ball-sport.

You can find TONS more ideas in our massive, ever-growing guestbook archive, and of course we'd love to hear what you're doing. Tell us in the comments!

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  1. We're using cotton quilt squares and fabric crayons and asking folks to decorate a square and I'll sew them all up into a quilt after the honeymoon. Great way to snuggle up in the love and ease out of all the intense DIY-ness of our wedding with a nice big project πŸ™‚

    19 agree
    • My cousin did this for her wedding, with squares of muslin! Unfortunately, life and general busy-ness got in the way after the wedding, and she wasn't able to put the quilt together herself. My mom recently started putting it together for her, with the goal of it being done for their 5-year anniversary, which is rapidly approaching. πŸ™‚

      It's a really sweet and creative idea. Just make sure your guests understand it – my grandfather accidentally signed the paper backing that was on the fabric square! My mom definitely traced his message onto the fabric so she could include it in the quilt, hahah.

      1 agrees
    • WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!! I'm a quilter, and this especially draws me in. Make sure, if you aren't a seamstress, be sure to use 5" squares, and draw an inner border for people to stay inside of, giving yourself at least a 1/4" seam allowance. You may also want to use pinking shears around the edges of the squares to prevent fraying as they will be handled quite a bit before they are sewn. Forgive me if I'm telling you information you already know, it's just a few simple hints that came to mind. Also, can I borrow your idea? I LOVE IT!!! Congrats, Gina

      2 agree
    • Another suggestion I've received from borrowing your idea is to iron freezer paper to the back of the fabric before cutting. Iron the paper shiny side to the fabric – it will stick like glue, but very easy to peel apart when you're ready to use. It stabilizes the fabric and makes it easier to write on, also easier to handle and less likely to wrinkle. Congrats again and as I receive more suggestions I will send them your way!

      1 agrees
  2. I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally wanna do a polaroid flip book for mine, but the film is way too expensive. $50 for 10 exposures? Ugh, I'd need at least 200 exposures. I was thinking about doing it using a printer and maybe seeing if they had an option to add a border around the picture to look like a polaroid? What I was going to do is set up a photo booth area with props, and have someone take two photos of each family/couple/person. One they could sign and use for the guest book the other would go in the thank you card as a momento from the wedding. But now I like the cut out letters of the last name tho. I'd love to hang that in our home. Maybe I'll do that instead. Much more economical.

    3 agree
    • Check out Poladroid for a software that's free and makes your photos *look* like polaroid exposures πŸ˜‰

      6 agree
    • I bought a polaroid "Pogo" printer – the photos don't exactly look like polaroids, but they are about the size of a business card and they turn into stickers for ease of use – we're going to set up a photobooth and let everyone take a picture and write something in the guestbook and hopefully have someone in charge of printing out the pictures so they can attach. I know you can also buy a "Pogo" camera that has the printer built in for not much more money. The paper is pretty cheap for prints.

      3 agree
    • Google has a free program for photo editing that has an instant Polaroid border feature. Just click and position. It's called Picasa, do a search and down load for free.

  3. Another cool idea I've heard, which can also solve an awkward problem is to combine it with a "dollar dance". Apparently some people HATE the idea of giving money during a dance, others think it's a traditional and important part of any wedding so as a compromise guests write notes to the couple and pin them to the brides dress as they normally would with money in a dollar dance.

    Strangely the guest book tree is apparently not as offbeat as it seems. I saw one advertised in a very conventional wedding magazine not long ago. Of course that one cost £50 and didn't look half as good, but what do you expect from 'the Industry'? πŸ˜€

    Personally I love the idea of anything that can be displayed easily after the wedding. The one thing that bothers me about guest books, photo albums, wedding DVDs ect. is I just don't know when any of it would get looked at. I can't remember the last time I looked at any of my school year books.

    I much prefer something that can be up on the wall, or otherwise on display where it'll get seen every day. πŸ˜€

    3 agree
    • Pin it on THE dress! No no no. lol They can stuff it in my cleavage or in my garter, but please don't pin it on THE dress! Better yet, just give it to the groom and he will put them in his pocket.

      9 agree
      • For the money dance I saw a bride use clothes pins to pin money to the dress that way there were no holes put in it.

        1 agrees
      • Regular straight pins and quilting pins actually don't screw with wedding dresses that much, if it's only a dollar or so getting pinned on. (Weight-wise, the only thing that can really rip a hole in it is if you try to hold up half the dress on a single piece of aluminum wire, ala poor man's bustle.) FFR, if your skirt would be tulle, chiffon, etc., just pin through it to the lining. That stuff is almost indestructible πŸ˜‰

        1 agrees
  4. marlasinger – that's me!! I'm glad our french horn guestbook was admired. Guests found some surprising places to hide their names so it can be displayed at every angle and it's a reminder of our wedding.

    My sister gave us a matching blue flute as an engagement present, so we're halfway to a band on our mantle!

    7 agree
      • It made me smile too. I called my FI right away to tell him all about it. We are huge HIMYM nerds!

        5 agree
        • I heart nerds with geekery in common. Not everyone understands the inclination to make something "fake" from television a part of your "real" life. Because some people are too literal, and not fun at all.

          Live on HIMYM nerds!!

          8 agree
          • I instantly got the reference too and it made me all giggly πŸ™‚ Love it.

            4 agree
    • Where did you get the blue French horn? My husband and I have been looking for one for over a year now.

      4 agree
  5. We did a movie themed wedding, and coincidentally were married the night before the Academy Awards aired. We were originally going to do Oscar ballots (predict best picture, best actor winners, etc), but then when the nominees came out it became obvious that most of our guests had never seen the movies. So we made up ballots allowing our guests to give various awards (I barely won the "best performance in a wedding" category)and tell us their favorite movie moments, best movie they saw that year, and advice for us. It led to lots of conversations at the tables so it doubled as a sort of ice breaker as people who didn't know eachother talked about their answers, and now we have a pile of ballots that reflect the ingenuity of our closest family and friends!

    4 agree
  6. These are very cute πŸ™‚ . Tell me that the French Horn is inspired from the show "How I Met Your Mother," b/c that would be awesome :D.

    Here is my question – our potential guests are not necessarily very…."offbeat." (Relatives, etc). Was it/would it be difficult to organize an 'alternative' guestbook like this? It's different from just having an "offbeat" ceremony because it requires the guests to DO something different….

    Like, I don't know if old Great-Uncle Bob would necessarily understand "decorate a leaf and put it on the tree," you know? And for myself also, if I don't really "get it," I'm not going to participate either. Or…maybe my relatives/myself are just a little slow on the uptake…. (Entirely possible). πŸ˜‰

    Any suggestions? Maybe have someone act as an "attendant" there to explain the guestbook if you think it might get complicated?

    1 agrees
    • I think as long as it's similar enough to be recognisable as a guest book alternative you'll be fine.

      A few years ago I thought my cousin had invented the wedding guest book. I don't go to many weddings and either I was too young to sign it at previous ones or don't remember it, but either way it was a new concept to me, but I got the idea from what other people had written and went along with it.

      You might run into trouble if you just leave a seemingly random item with a pen near it somewhere at the reception, but as long as it's recognisable as a guest book replacement I think you'd do fine. Although you could always have a sign saying something like "in lieu of a guest book please attatch your best wishes to our wishing tree" or whatever you want to have. You could even arrange for a few people to sign it in advance to a) make the situation clearer and b) make sure no one has to 'go first' and run the risk of doing it wrong.

      1 agrees
    • We had both a traditional guest book, that I attacked with super awesome stickers to make it more "us" but we also had a "wish tree" which was a b/w photo of trees on canvas that people wrote on with silver sharpies. That way both bases were covered and we have something super awesome to hang in our home. Everybody signed the book, and not everybody wrote on the canvas, so it worked out brilliantly

      2 agree
    • Yes, it is totally a HIMYM reference. My husband finds I have a lot in common with Robin, even if I'm not Canadian, was never a pop star and don't own any firearms.

      None of our guests had any issue with the french horn. I think even really traditional people can recognize the limitations of a boring list-o-names guestbook. They were pretty amused and more than willing to sign our french horn.

      While we didn't *really* need them, we had two guestbook attendents, one of my aunt's and one of Husband's aunts. Between them they knew 80% of the guests and were more than willing to corner them and get them to sign. We put it right at the entrance to our venue next to the seating chart so people would have to get within range and could sign right at the beginning of the event.

      3 agree
  7. We're thinking of making a shield (we both do European broadsword) and painting a logo on it and having guests sign that. Then we'd hang it with our sword display in our house!

    7 agree
    • That's an awesome idea, and so personal to you! I'm still brain storming as to something unique to my Hubby (we had a civil ceremony and want to do a big celebration for family and friends later)and I.

      1 agrees
  8. Amazingly enough, we got the idea on the knot to have an old antique wooden ski as our guest book. We've always wanted a ski or a pair for our wall and since we found one at a yard sale for $5, we figured why not.

    4 agree
  9. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the French Horn. OMG.

    We are having multiple vintage typewriters. Guests will type on squares of muslin that have been tea-dyed in various shades to look like vintage paper. Then we intend on having a friend quilt it into what appears to be an illuminated page.

    A couple we know are band promoters, and their whole wedding reception was their favorite bands playing. We all signed a promo poster for the event. It was really perfect for them.

    1 agrees
    • A quilt is a really cool idea. I'm definitely not crafty enough to put something like that together.

      Lucky for me my dad and sis were willing to do the legwork on blue-ing a defunct french horn. They did the same on an old flute and both look really cool.

      1 agrees
  10. I found on etsy a butterfly paper guestbook kit and thought I'd do my own spin on it. They had paper butterflies cut out and folded with little glue dots on the back to stick to the wall and it comes with a metallic pen for guests to write a message on. I am thinking about getting a huge canvas, painting it red, and using black and white butterflies and having guests stick their butterflies up. After the wedding I plan on sealing it all with shellac and hanging it in our home as a piece of art.

    4 agree
  11. We used the Adesso Polaroid album…our guests loved it. We even put out fun scrapbook stickers for them to use! πŸ™‚

    1 agrees
  12. We're getting married in Charleston, SC which is where we met/fell in love/got engaged etc. We are using a photography book as a guest book and having guests write their well wishes and favorite memories of Charleston. We found the perfect book that has pictures of the plantation where we're getting married and my future husband's college, the Citadel. Now we will have an awesome coffee table book to look at whenever we want!

    3 agree
    • I think that's a great idea! Beautiful and very personal to the both of you, plus something that can be displayed.

      1 agrees
  13. My future sister-in-law had people sign small butterfly cutouts, which were later part of the wedding scrap book.

    2 agree
  14. Some friends of mine provided white cotton squares and colored sharpies for guests to decorate with. Once the squares were colored in, they were pinned onto a line strung up outside, like prayer flags. You could do this with triangle flags too, and have it bee more like a pennant banner.

    3 agree
  15. What wonderful ideas. My favorite would be the Polaroids. I love the idea of taking photos of the guests for future enjoyment when looking at photos and the guest book.

    1 agrees
  16. Our card box is also our guest book…we refurbished an antique tea leaf / bridal gift box from Taiwan that guests can sign and also put cards in. For you OBT folks, I posted it on there about a month or two ago so you can see it there.

    2 agree
  17. Our "guestbook" is actually going to be a game. We're throwing a Fish Party for our reception (basically a party with fish themed decor/food/games/etc. that has been a family gathering since the mid 90s), and one of the games is to create a fish. There will be pieces of paper and any sort of drawing tool you can imagine, and the winner will get some sort of fish prize. And if I'm able to make my own wedding album like I think I will, I'll be scanning all the wacky fish creations into my computer and adding them to the album that way.

    1 agrees
  18. My plan is to get a photo sticker machine and a sticker album! πŸ˜€

    2 agree
  19. I'll be following in the footsteps of my brother and sister-in-law. My mother printed out a beautiful copy of our invitation (since they were all sent online – much cheaper with the whole guests on five continents thing), had a framing shop put a nice thick matting, and got black pens. After the wedding we'll have something we can hang on the wall an enjoy every day. (Our invitation is a Japanese bird-and-flower painting, with all the information written in Japanese. We didn't print out the English translation, which isn't nearly as lovely.)

    4 agree
  20. As a slightly different alternative to a traditional guestbook, we used a sayonara doll. Not super exciting, but my mom bought it for me on our last tour in Okinawa (my dad's in the Navy). It was a little reminder of my past. And it's cute. πŸ™‚

    1 agrees
    • Squee! I was considering a Kokeshi doll, since I collect them, but a Sayonara doll would fit in just fine. Still…I was wanting something that Hubby would enjoy, too…Belh, I'm so braindead on this, lol.

      1 agrees
  21. We ended up with way too many "guest book" type things, but I think I loved them all. We tried to go with the photo booth thing, but I guess we didn't communicate about the white boards for messages–because they got signed like a poster and now I can't think of erasing them. Our photographer's package included a photo with large matting for signing, so we had that too. Then, to go totally overboard, we had a "Tip Jar" where we asked people to leave us advice, comments, jokes or drawings, specifically with the idea of tips for a healthy/fun relationship. As a surprise, the friends running the photo booth also had video cameras and recorded messages. It was a lot and a little crazy, but I don't think anyone felt pressured to do something for each of the "stations" but instead (I hope) they chose the one/s they were most comfortable with. It was chaotic and fun, and still is as we're still finding messages, tips and videos almost two months after. (I am lusting over the french horn, love it!)

    1 agrees
    • hi there. i am helping a friend get her "tip jar" ready. we have the jar, paper, and pens for the guests. how did you let your guests know what to do? we are concerned they will not sign their names or not know what to write.

      1 agrees
  22. We're doing a similar idea to the Polaroid album, but using a newer model Polaroid camera that is also digital so you can preview the image before hitting print on the camera (& also keeping a digital copy of everything taken). The film is much less expensive than the regular Polaroid but also smaller at 2x3inches (though I think that'll be cute). You can also remove the backing of the photos and stick them straight in the book.

    Only problem so far is the battery life isn't that great (so will probably place it near a power outlet).

    2 agree
  23. Our guest book isn't DIY, but we stumbled upon it on Etsy and fell in luuuurve with it: http://www.etsy.com/listing/51639806/wedding-guest-book-puzzle-105-to-150 . We have a thing for puzzles (it stared out as a mushy "we were just made to fit together" thing, and now it's a hobby and even a home-decor theme). I love the creator's idea of putting it together each year on your anniversary, and I also like the idea of it being something for guests to do during our reception (write their name on a piece and then put the pieces together!). Some of our guests are older and/or a bit more staid than offbeat, so puzzles would be right up their alley. And, once Himself and I have been married for years and have the puzzle down pat, we can flip it over and put together the pieces on the opposite side from the picture for added challenge!

    4 agree
    • OMG! I luuuuuuurve this, too! Hubby and I (we had a civil ceremony, but are planning a celebration for fam and friends)both love puzzles/board games and this is just awesometastic!

      1 agrees
  24. I've made a big poster for ours. I saw something on another wedding site that inspired me – it was a poster of a bare tree, and guests were supposed to put their thumbprints on the tree as leafbuds, and then sign their leaves. The bride & groom's names were printed on birds perched on the top branch. I thought that was awesome, but didn't like the idea of buying something like that. (Besides, the tree thing doesn't go with my theme.) So I went out and got some navy blue posterboard and cut stars out of gold cardstock and created a night sky poster. The guests will each sign a star, and my groom's and my names will be in a cresent moon at the top!

    4 agree
  25. Because we're the kind of people for whom everything has to serve at least two functions (way before Alton Brown, too! *grin*), our 'guestbook' is part of our place settings, holds our programs together, and will be part of our ring-warming ceremony. We're having our wedding inside our reception, which makes this all work out: When guests arrive, every place setting will have a ceremony program on it, which will be rolled up like a scroll and tied with a length of raw silk ribbon. People will be asked to take the ribbon from the program and sign it and write well-wishes or blessings on it with pens also provided at the table. During the ceremony, we will pass around a box containing our rings on stands, and ask people to put their ribbons into the box to 'warm' the rings. Then we'll do the ring exchange. Voila, multi-purpose guestbook action! We'll keep the decorative box full of ribbons on our mantel.

    3 agree
  26. A friend's wedding had Guest postcards.

    All guests wrote a little something on one of the guest postcards, then the maid of honor mailed one daily out to the newly married couple. πŸ™‚

    5 agree
  27. At a Chinese wedding I attended, there was a big red tablecloth to sign. Apparently this is traditional.

    Unfortunately, the wedding was taking place in a 3 floor banquet hall in Chinatown, on an auspicious day for weddings, so my Mom ended up signing someone else's tablecloth by mistake. There were 2 weddings where the brides and grooms had the same last name, and we were directed to the wrong one. My Mom was just finishing signing it when I looked up and saw the bride. Ooops. Apparently we weren't the only people to do so.

    1 agrees
  28. My fiance and I are thinking of having guests make predictions for 5, 15, or 25 years (their choice) and putting them in a sort of "time capsule." I think it's a great idea, but I'm not sure if everyone will get it…

    4 agree
  29. Does anyone know where I can buy a long scroll of typewriter paper? I love the idea of guests writing on a big scroll a la Jack Kerouac.

    1 agrees
  30. My idea is to get two adirondack chairs and paint markers and have guests sign their names and maybe a good luck or two.

    2 agree
  31. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the HIMYM reference!!!! It's so creative and wonderful and I've always wanted to have a string quartet play at my wedding with the blue instruments b/c of that show! It's very dear to my heart because it premiered the same month I moved in with my boyfriend and its been "our show" ever since! All of the other ideas were awesome as well….I love the polaroid and typewriter idea

    1 agrees
  32. we wanted to do something creative that wouldn't take a lot of space to store. i made tags about 2"x3" with greeting cards i scored for 5 cents each at SCRAP by trimming them and rounding corners and adding graphics i cut from a Nikki McClure notepad. i wrapped stripey yarn around some cardboard, and people wrote on the tags and tied them to a bike! we now have them in a very small box.

    1 agrees
  33. We didn't actually have a guestbook – what we did when we sent the invitations was include an RSVP card that had the lines, "We can't wait to _____ and _____", a line underneath that said, "Don't forget to _________" and then we provided a space for a song request so that people could hear something they'd be guaranteed to like during our "Anything Goes!" iPod DJing. All of the responses we got back were awesome, even from people who couldn't attend; we're going to make a collage (or two) out of them and frame them to hang on our walls. Plus, it ensured that nobody had to stand there the night of, pen in hand, blank of mind and searching desperately for something meaningful to say on the spot, so to speak. πŸ™‚

    2 agree
  34. I am thinking of punching a whole in some foam board and putting clock hardware through it. With some great saying about time and our start of a life together. Then use deco paper to make the foam board fabulous. Maybe Pre-paint the numbers on the foam, or paint our initial.

    1 agrees
  35. I think I want to do a similar thing to the polaroid guestbook instead give everyone a disposable camera & ask they turn it in before they leave.

  36. I LOVE the idea of the Guestball! My husband and I got married on Labor Day weekend and had a baseball themed wedding (my husband is a college baseball coach). That would have been perfect for us! We could have had guests sign the baseballs and then been able to keep them in a vase at home.

  37. We were thinking of putting a big butcher paper on the wall and letting people write on it like graffiti. Definitely something different! But I'm a quilter and I love the quilt square idea, so I may do both!

  38. I had an idea to have guests each decorate a glass ornament, and hang it on a tree. It would probably work best for a winter/holiday wedding, but I suppose you could get a fake palm tree, or some other type of tree to hang ornaments on too.

    1 agrees
  39. Someone at work had a really neat alternative to a guestbook. They had a large unglazed ceramic platter with minimal decoration around the edges, their names, the date and a blank section in the middle. They invited guests to sign it, then it was glazed after the ceremony. Practical and can be kept forever!

    3 agree
  40. We did a variation on the guestbook. I made a photobook on snapfish, of pictures of us as children, of our favorite places, of us together, and some quotes and favorite recipes (we both love to cook) and called it the "Love Book". I made sure there was lots of whitespace in the layout, and we left out sharpies for people to sign it. It was a hit, and fun for people at the wedding to leaf through as well.

    1 agrees
  41. Those are awesome guest book alternatives!
    For my wedding we had a guest "book" bench, due to my bench obsession. I figured I'd never look back in an actual guest book and it would just sit around collecting dust, so we went for the bench instead. I'd post a picture to show you, but I'm not sure how, haha!

    1 agrees
  42. My husband to be LOVES How I Met Your Mother and I can't believe I did not think of making him a Blue French Horn as a gift. I can't wait to surprise him with one! Ebay and a can of blue spray paint here I come!!

  43. Our other idea is to the "wedding mad libs" as our guestbook. Each seat would have one and each person would fill one out. (Thank you, Pinterest.)

    There are so many great ideas, we just need to nail down one!

  44. I have been wracking my brain on what to do for a guestbook that is useful and won't sit on a shelf and gather dust or just hang on a wall. I finally settled on a 2013 calendar of space (vaguely science themed wedding sorta) for people to sign their name on their birthdays and write a message with a silver pen in the black spaces on the pictures of galaxies from the Hubble Space Telescope. I'm also doing that thing where all guests write a message or two and put it in an envelope marked with the year of the anniversary that it will be opened. Guest have the options to do one, both, or each a couple times.

    2 agree
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