The traditional guest book at a wedding has all but gone by the wayside. A little hard back book left at a drinks reception usually ends up with 2 or 3 pages filled, and the rest left blank – mostly because someone has nicked the pens! Doesn’t sound like the kind of keepsake that you’ll treasure forever, does it? Today, we’re talking about our favourite alternative wedding guest books, and how to encourage people to actually participate!
Video or Photo Booth
This is one of the most popular options at weddings today, allowing your guests to leave a video message and take silly photos with props that will all be stored on a USB key for you to keep. The only (minor) issue with the video booth is the timing – have it in place too early and guests might not be feeling confident enough to go in, have it there too late and you’ll end up with a lot of drunken messages! Some video booth providers offer a ‘censored’ and ‘uncensored’ option and will edit anything profane or unruly if you’d prefer. The benefits of the photo booth is that many will have printable photos for guests to keep, which is a nice alternative to a wedding favour, and guests are more likely to participate in this. A cheaper alternative is to provide polaroid cameras and have guests take a photo of themselves and place in a guestbook in place of a handwritten message.
This originated with the thumbprint tree a few years back, where guests would create the ‘leaves’ of a tree with their fingerprints on a framed print and sign their name or initials. While the tree is still a popular motif, there are now plenty of other options such as bicycles, houses, moons and even couples being carried away by strings of ‘balloons’, created by the guests’ fingerprints. These can be professionally made, or there are lots of templates available online if you have a good printer and quality paper. You’ll need to budget for ink pads, marker pens and cleansing wipes to go along with the print, and if it’s not already framed it may be something you want to do afterwards so that you can display it at home. It’s worth having a few ‘elves’ at the wedding who will encourage guests to participate, and ensure it’s displayed prominently!
If your wedding takes place in the run-up to Christmas, why not buy lots of cheap Christmas baubles and have your guests sign a little message on each one so that you can then hang on your Christmas tree? You’ll need permanent markers or chalk pens, and a sign explaining what to do for this!
Message in a Bottle
If you’re having a nautical theme or a beach wedding, place a large glass bottle on a display table along with slips of paper, pens and stickers. Guests can leave a wedding wish on the slip of paper, roll up and secure with a sticker (even better if they’re personalised) and place in the bottle for you to open later. You might set aside special times to open some of the messages, or even ask guests to suggest date night ideas and just open one when you need it!