Everything You Need to Know About the Wedding Guest Book

It's a simple and sentimental remembrance of your special day.

guest book
Photo: Amy Arrington Photography

A guest book may not be as critical to a wedding as the invitations are, but it's still a detail that's pretty important to many couples. The type of guest book you have is really up to you-you could buy one ready-made, DIY it if you're into customizing, or have loved ones sign an object of importance-but giving guests a place to leave their good wishes is key. Here, everything you need to know about this special memento.

What's the purpose of a guest book?

It's to give wedding guests a chance to offer warm wishes and advice as they celebrate your special day with you. The guest book is something to keep and look back on for years to come. But not every wedding has one, especially if it's a book the couple thinks they'll just stick in the back of a closet and never look at again. That means it's not mandatory, but we strongly suggest honoring this tradition at your reception.

What should it look like?

Whatever you want. The classic iteration is a blank book with a beautiful cover, like white leather with the bride and groom's names printed in gold lettering. With that said, it's also important to note that there are many alternatives if you want something fun or more unusual. You could set out a vintage typewriter and let guests type up their sweet messages, or else choose a pretty coffee table book that you created online with your engagement photos. Another unique option is to have guests write messages on postcards, which your maid of honor should collect and mail to you throughout your first year of marriage. Basically, if something can be easily written on, it can be a guest book!

Where does it go?

Your guest book should go in a place that well-wishers will see it. Set the book (and a few nice pens) on a table in a well-traveled spot like an entryway or near the restrooms. If your wedding has a big guest count, about halfway through the reception, ask someone (maybe your outgoing preteen cousin?) to go from table to table with the book so guests don't miss signing it.

What should a guest plan to write in it?

It's easy to go blank when faced with a page in a guest book. Everyone thinks they have to be witty or offer an incredible bit of wisdom, but all a guest has to do is write something from the heart. Keeping it short ("I'm so happy the two of you found each other!") or giving it a personal touch that's pertinent to the bride and groom ("I wish you many years of happiness and ski vacations together") works well.

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