Thought-provoking guest books that pose single, specific questions serve as dinner table icebreakers at your wedding -- and turn into keepsakes you'll want to display in your home and reread on every anniversary. Notebooks, Start Here; "Adventure" paper, by Nat Geo, from Eastern Mountain Sports; "LePen" pen, by Marvy, from Lytha Studios.
Tailor a guest book to your wedding style. Each of these starts with the same blank journal. Clockwise from left: Book-cloth-wrapped covers leave the red spine to peek out. The second book is covered entirely in paper and stamped with a monogram; satin ribbon serves as a bookmark. The third is left uncovered but accented with a felt band and big red button. What do guests use to write their well-wishes? Bright-red pens, of course.
A guest book doesn't have to be in the form of a book. The bright hues of these small gift cards can't help but beguile the eyes of wedding guests; their small size gives well-wishers just enough space to write a sweet thought, quip, or hope; and the envelopes, allowing for privacy, encourage them to get a little sentimental.
Transform a store-bought album into a guest book that has a handmade feel. Use double-sided tape to affix envelopes in assorted sizes and colors to the pages of a plain-paper photo album or scrapbook. Leave cards and a pen on a table for guests to write wishes. When they're done, they can tuck their cards inside the envelopes for the bride and groom to enjoy later.
Inspire guests to express themselves artistically as they write down their sentiments on your wedding day. At the reception, set up a table with craft and office supplies -- pretty card stock, colored pencils, an array of stickers -- and invite guests to embellish their notes with fun designs. Finished cards can be placed in a clear glass bowl and arranged in a scrapbook later.
Set out an old-fashioned typewriter with long sheets of paper for guests to write good wishes to the bride and groom as the feeling strikes. Look for inexpensive vintage machines online or at thrift stores or flea markets; they come in colors to go with any palette. After the wedding, tie into a scroll with ribbon.
File this under A for adorable. Instead of a traditional guest book, use cards from an address file. Our set, by Lovely Design, contains handmade ones from vintage papers, so each is unique. Set cards on a table with a sign asking friends and family to jot down messages; once they've penned their notes, they can file their card alphabetically, leaving you to merely flip through all the warm wishes that range from A to Z.
Let guests' well-wishes take flight on paper doves. These birds are traditional symbols of love, happiness, and harmony. Anchor bare branches (these are manzanita) in a large, sturdy vessel filled with stones or gravel. Use wire to secure nests, available from craft stores, to branches. Set dove cards -- available precut -- in a dish. Place pencils alongside your tree with a sign asking guests to inscribe a card and to place it in a nest.
Rather than signing a traditional guest book, guests at Maria and Robert's wedding were given postcards with the bride and groom's address printed on the back to fill with good wishes during the reception and drop in a copper mailbox displayed in the lobby. The cards are to be mailed the next day by a friend of the couple so that the newlyweds will return from their honeymoon to a brimming mailbox.
Robin and Matt's guest book is made from large sheets of paper that were cut, folded, and then stitched together. Miniature envelopes in light blue, muted gray, and ivory were adhered to the pages with double-sided tape, so that friends and family could slip personal notes inside of them and then seal the envelopes with stickers in contrasting colors.
At the guest-book table, family and friends could express their hopes for the newlyweds as well as receive a written wish from the couple. Guests wrote their notes on coral cards and placed them in apothecary jars. In return they could draw a wish from another jar.
For a guest book, this couple followed a Japanese custom by asking guests to tie their sentiments to tree branches with ribbons. Here, branches are adorned with crepe-paper buds and blossoms and placed in a porcelain vase. Expressions like "Prosperity" and "Good Marriage" were written in Korean and Japanese and hung ahead of time to decorate the branches.
On every table is an individual guest book; three sheets of card stock were folded, sewn at the crease, and backed with book cloth using double-sided tape. The table number was printed on card stock and tied to the book with ribbon woven through slits at the edges.