Guestbook alternatives for creative couples

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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

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

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.


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.


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 8 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.”


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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Comments on Guestbook alternatives for creative couples

  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 🙂

    • 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. 🙂

      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.

    • 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

    • 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!

  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.

    • Check out Poladroid for a software that’s free and makes your photos *look* like polaroid exposures 😉

    • 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.

    • 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’? 😀

    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. 😀

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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 😉

  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!

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

        • 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!!

          • I instantly got the reference too and it made me all giggly 🙂 Love it.

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

  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!

  6. These are very cute 🙂 . 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). 😉

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

    • 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.

    • 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

    • 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.

  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!

    • 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.

  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.

  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.

    • 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.

  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.

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