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Conversation Starter Wedding Guest Book How-To

Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2010

An ordinary guest book often garners run-of-the-mill well-wishes, so we came up with this clever alternative: Each dinner table bears a blank book with a question on the cover (one per table), and each guest finds a pen and a ribbon, reading "Don't forget to sign the booklet," atop the napkin.

Devising answers is sure to spark fun conversation among tablemates, and assigned topics will result in thoughtful, humorous, touching inscriptions that you'll revisit over and over.

We've supplied the questions as clip art, so all you need to do is print them on waterproof paper that will make for sturdy book covers. The notebooks slip into one another to create one big, bookshelf-worthy tome. 

Notebooks, Start Here. "Adventure" paper, by Nat Geo, from Eastern Mountain Sports. "LePen" pen, by Marvy, from Lytha Studios.

Guest Book PDF

Comments (20)

  • SaraheBryan 28 Mar, 2013

    This was a great idea. I made something like it, except with a more rustic feel, for my wedding. The responses I got were much more interesting, entertaining, and meaningful than in a typical guestbook! I even got some creative drawings from the guests! You can see what I made here:

  • ceejay1st 26 Mar, 2015

    I loved Sarah' website that showed some of her wedding journal comments. Good idea that I will combine with other ideas I saw on Martha Stewart's website.

  • Dianne Adams 14 Aug, 2012

    I'm offering a slightly different style of these little books on etsy. They are printed on kraft and come with a little personalize paper mache box.

  • PrincessLena 9 Jul, 2012

    JuneBride - try "What will you remember most about our wedding day?" or "What should we remember most about our wedding day?"

  • PrincessLena 9 Jul, 2012

    When printing the templates, make sure you set your printing properties to "print actual size" and not 'shrink to fit'. If you don't have the right properties the templates will not fit the 5x7 books, as shown here.

  • June Bride_GS 9 Jun, 2012

    I need more ideas for questions.... any suggestions?? Thanks!

  • TalleySue_Hohlfeld 27 Jul, 2011

    SeptemberBride is right:

    This project is sized for only those exact books, and unfortunately, the technology will not let you modify the PDF files.

    You can use them as inspiration to make your own, of course.

    I'll get one of our designers to help me look at the PDFs, and we'll look at the directions again. I'll update the comments once we're through.

  • SeptemberBride2011 21 Jan, 2011

    FYI: the PDF that is provided is not like the picture shown and is specifically for the books listed to purchase. Typical books to purchase locally are much bigger and the template will not fit. Also, you cannot personalize/change the PDF template. I love the idea and I am going to use the idea for my reception however I am creating my own book cover using Microsoft Word or you can use Photoshop if you are handier on that.

  • indigoirony 14 Dec, 2010

    I should add that the notebooks advertised here are expensive. I did not buy them which probably contributed to some of the difficulties I had, but had I purchased everything listed here it would have cost me considerably more than if I bought a "regular" guestbook. My advice would be to skip this template and have something like it customized to your budget on Etsy.

  • indigoirony 14 Dec, 2010

    I just completed this project and the end result looks nothing like the pictures displayed here. First, it doesn't tell you what size notebook to get; mine were 5"x7" and I had to cover the books with a blank sheet of the Adventure paper. The template pages were then too small so it does not cover the front of the notebook completely and there is a white border. The template would be much more helpful if it was formatted to fit the journals like a book cover.

  • Claudiacita 1 Dec, 2010

    Hi, I need some help with printing the covers! The directions are very limited and I can't seem to figure it out correctly. What I am trying to do is customize the color of the cover to match the theme of the wedding. Does anyone know if this is possible and the correct and easy way to do this? Thanks for your help!

  • jaciandres 21 Sep, 2010

    These books were a HIT at my wedding and a joy to read afterward. Much more entertaining responses than your average congratulations in a generic guest book... HOWEVER, I thought that I would save a buck and print it out on photo paper instead of the Adventure Paper they recommended. Yes, it looked great, but AFTER the wedding and being handed from table to table and water spilling all over it, the words dripped into each other. The Adventure Paper would likely protect your books better.

  • marlew82 26 Aug, 2010

    do you have suggestions for other books/questions? we have about 22 tables.

  • cydiboo 26 Jun, 2010

    Where do you order the ribbons?

  • boxster 15 Jun, 2010


  • sharongilo 15 Jun, 2010

    This is a very cool idea and can be very personalized too. I can imagine creating one's own questions of interest. Brides have used my little book as a gift at weddings: "A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage," (with personalization) another twist on the use of books, something that will be special and saved forever!

  • FutureKandl 15 Jun, 2010

    I love this idea! I am an English teacher and my fiance loves to read. I really think our guests will get a sense of our personality with this guest book! However, I can't figure out how it works! The Start Here website is very confusing and the PDF directions Martha supplies aren't right. If anyone figures it out, could you help?

  • aaaaliciaaaaa 4 Jun, 2010

    I really love this and want to use it, but there are no real instructions on how to use the pdf.

  • rakNYC 2 Jun, 2010

    Actually, the formatting is off on several of these covers. Help!!!!

  • rakNYC 2 Jun, 2010

    The formatting on the #2 cover ("what's your favorite memory of us?") is off on the PDF document. Can this be corrected and reposted for those of us wishing to use this template? Thanks in advance!