Your wedding guest book is a keepsake that you will treasure forever – and certainly revisit many times over the course of your married life, so you want to ensure that all your guests contribute to it.
However, it’s no easy task and, the bigger your guest list, the more troublesome it can be trying to get everyone to sign it or leave a message and, of course, you’re not going to have time on the day to worry about who has and who hasn’t filled it in.
Thankfully, most guests will expect to sign some sort of guest book, so here are some tips for ensuring as many as possible do:
1. Provide instructions
Especially if you are doing something unusual such as writing on a postcard or having pictures taken in a photo booth, be sure to provide instructions. Putting up a friendly sign explaining what they should do is always a good idea, even if it just says “We’d love you to share your thoughts or advice on our marriage in this book”.
During the speeches, ask people to look out for the guest book or ensure they seek it out before they leave. Who can resist a bride or groom’s request on their wedding day?
2. Delegate responsibility
In order to ensure as many guests as possible sign contribute to your guest book, delegate the task to someone trustworthy. It’s a big responsibility and someone you know will be happy to help out on the day. That way you don’t have any added stress on the day. Ask a guest or member of your family to be responsible for getting all your guests to leave a message.
3. Provide enough supplies
If you are having a traditional guest book you will only need to make sure there are plenty of pens readily available as some are sure to go missing while the book is doing the rounds. If you are asking guests to stick in photos or draw pictures, however, you may need scissors, glue, crayons, glitter, or various other arty supplies.
4. Put the book out early
Your initial reception, just after the ceremony, is the ideal time for guests to start signing your guest book. It will give them something to do while you are having your photos taken, and they will still be full of the emotion of the ceremony without being too full of champagne to write something coherent.
5. Leave enough space
Think about the size of your guest list when you buy or make your wedding guest book. There’s no point in having two hundred small message spaces when you only have fifty guests. Try to give each guest plenty of space for their message. While some will simple write ‘best wishes for married life’ others will want to wax lyrical about love or your relationship.
6. Include photographs
Try to add pictures of your guests to your guestbook, either taken at the time with a Polaroid camera, or inserted afterwards when you get your photos developed. It’s a sad fact that you will lose contact with a few of the guests at your wedding, and when you are reading your guest book many years down the line, the photos will make it more interesting. Again, this is a task for the official guest book supervisor!
7. Think about placement
Decide in advance where you are going to place your guest book. You want it to be out of the way so that food and drinks aren’t spilled on it, and guests don’t feel self conscious writing in it in the middle of a crowded room. However, you don’t want it to be totally out of sight in case guests miss it altogether. If your reception venue has a hallway or lobby before you get to the reception rooms, this could be the ideal spot. Of course, some people prefer to pass it around (which virtually ensures not everyone will get a chance to sign it) or have it carried from guest to guest by the delegated guest book supervisor.