Wedding Guest Book: Should you bother with one?

Apr 15, 2017 | The Big Day

The point of a wedding guest book is for guests to leave nice messages for the newly-married couple. People can offer advice or just give their congratulations and then the couple has it as a happy memory to look back on.

You don’t have to do this, but in its basic form, it’s an inexpensive and simple thing to set up. It’s also nice if you don’t have a videographer capturing messages from guests. The reality is that you won’t get to spend much time with guests individually on the day and may even miss out on a few people completely.

wedding guest book

Couples can commission personalised wedding guest books or purchase elaborate leather-bound versions, but there are also cheap options or complete alternatives.

Alternatives to the Wedding Guest Book


Pick up a potted sapling from a garden centre and display it in the entryway of your venue. Set a table up beside it and fill a box with cards that have been fitted with ribbons. Guests can write messages on the cards and hang them on the tree branches for you and your partner to collect at the end of the night. There’s also the option of planting the tree in your garden afterwards if you have one.


Have a stocked Polaroid camera on a display table and let guests have some fun taking pictures. Once they have their Polaroid, they can sign the back with their message and leave it in a collection box for you.

wedding guest bookPlace Cards

Leave pens at each dinner table and get guests to leave messages on the back of their place cards. Get groomsmen and bridesmaids to gather them up during dinner so they don’t get lost or thrown out at the end of the night.

wedding guest bookBlank Canvas

Frame a large blank card and display it in the entryway of your venue. Leave markers available for guests to sign and then use it to decorate a room in your home.

wedding guest bookCommon Guest Book Mistakes

Make sure you display your book (or alternative) in an obvious place that guests can see. Leaving it in the corner of the dining or reception area makes it less likely to be noticed and you’ll end up missing out on messages. Entryways are a good place to set it up as everyone will need to pass by.

If you’re putting a unique spin on what guests need to write (eg: one piece of advice) or using an alternative to the traditional book, make sure you leave clear instructions for guests to follow.

wedding guest bookEnsure there are plenty of pens and/or markers available. One or two pens may seem like enough, but they go missing easily or fall on the floor and get stepped on.

If you’ve come up with a creative alternative to the traditional wedding guest book, let us know and we can feature it here on SmartGroom.