Once upon a time there was a wedding guest book. It was filled with hand-written memories of the big day, signed by every guest and treasured as a keepsake for years to come. Nowadays you might prefer something a little more unusual: a wishing well, signing frame or handwritten bunting. Here are some of our favourite alternative guest books from the classic to the quirky, and how to use them on your wedding day – and after.
One lovely modern alternative to the traditional guest book is the wedding wishing tree. Ask your guests to write their wishes onto pretty cards and hang them from a ‘wishing tree’. Your wishing tree can be either a real tree outside on a sunny day or inside on curvy branches of willow arranged into a weighted vase.
For unusual table centres, make several of these trees, adding sparkle and shimmer with crystals or glitter and surround them by little cards complete with ribbons for each guest to write their wishes onto before hanging from the tree. After the wedding save each card into a special keepsake box of memories.
A guest book doesn’t have to be an ordinary leather or fabric-bound book, it could be a keepsake box, a book within its own keepsake box, or even a glass bottle like this time capsule idea below which is ideal for a beach-themed wedding or for anyone who loves the idea of making history or a real-life a ‘message in a bottle’.
The stacked antique books box below is an elegant way to keep individually written wish cards for years to come. It’ll sit neatly on a shelf for rainy days and anniversaries or anytime you feel like reading all the well-wishing words of love and luck from your nearest and dearest all over again.
The ‘Story of Us’ (below) is another distinctly unique alternative guest book and box that can be personalised with your initials on the front and your personal love story inside. Fill the pages with memories of your first date, the proposal, your family trees and so much more. Your guests will read your love story then sign in the guest book space at the back of the book. This lovely book box also includes a small hidden compartment suitable for a few select keepsakes such as your “something blue” or sentimental marriage vows.
“Story of Us” Alternative Guest Book and Box. All available from the Confetti Shop.
When Gemma and Paul got married they asked each guest to write their good luck wishes onto flags of material attached to a ribbon in their wedding colours. The bunting was then strung from wall to wall in the reception for all to see.
Ideal for Couples with a Cash Giftlist
The wedding wishing well is actually a box into which guests can drop their wish cards. Initially presented as an actual little wishing well, it has evolved into a stylish post box in an array of different designs. From shiny red imitation vintage post boxes to sumptuous ivory silken treasure chests, there is a style and a colour to suit all.
Another function of the wishing well box is that guests could also be encouraged to post wedding cards particularly if a couple has a voucher or money gift list. Position it in a safe place (not right next to the door) and ask the best man to be in charge of directing guests to post their cards. He should also be responsible for ensuring the whole box is taken to your honeymoon suite at the end of the night.
Another lovely idea that looks uber stylish on a stand at the entrance to your reception is the signing frame. A photo or painting of the two of you with a deep boardered frame for guests to sign. Instead of packing away your well wishes into a keepsake box you can hang your picture on the wall in your home as a constant reminder.
Available in different coloured frames, portrait or landscape, at the Confetti Shop.
Classic Guest Book
If your taste is more classical and traditional then a guest book and pen is the order of the day. A simple signing book with pen that can be passed from table to table is really all you need to record the well wishes of the day. The next thing to decide is what colour, size, fabric and style. With so many to choose from, you’ll find the one that’s right for you.
Whichever guest book or box or alternative you choose, add in an invitation, order of service, the speeches even and write a love letter to your new husband/wife on the day and use it to keep all these lovely memories safe for your grandchildren to read one day.
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.