Newlyweds have found that after that last dance, final party favor and magical sparkler exit, few items remain from the wedding—photography, videography and your guest book. They each preserve invaluable memories from your South Florida wedding day for years to come. A guest book is an extra chance for friends and family to connect with the bride and groom and leave a lasting message.
Recently, South Florida wedding couples have been finding fun and creative ways to put their own spin on the guest book tradition. Yet, no matter what form your guest book takes, there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure all goes as planned:
1. Location matters. Place your guest book in a central location. You won’t get too many signatures if your guests can’t find it! Find a place where it will be conspicuous yet out of the way in case a line forms. Consider placing it on a table or easel near the entrance to the reception so that guests see it and sign on their way in or out. Attractive signage can also help draw attention to your guest book and ensure that it isn’t overlooked.
2. Write a prompt. Looking for more than the typical “Congratulations!” and signed name? It helps to provide guests with a prompt, such as “What is your fondest memory of us?” or “What piece of marriage advice do you have for us?” Not everyone is a master at writing heartfelt prose so giving guests direction can help guarantee that you are left with lots of fun comments to read.
3. Plan for the future. Guest books aren’t just books anymore! For many, they’re a chance to add a personal accent to their home décor. For example, there are guest “book” art that can be framed and hung on the wall or displayed on a mantle. Other ideas include signed smooth river rocks for the garden or fountain. Think about what you would like to display in your home and what would fit the style and color scheme of your living space.
4. Minimize the mess. Non-traditional guest books can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to think about whether the materials will be practical for the setting and occasion. For instance, for thumb print books, for example, you don’t want guests accidentally dipping their suit sleeves in paint or knocking over containers of dirty watercolor water. Make sure the ink or paint you provide is washable and set out containers of moist wipes so that guests can clean their hands after they make their official mark.
5. Instructions. If your guest book is non-traditional, your guests may benefit from written instructions. You don’t want them mistaking it for just another decoration! You can even have members of your wedding party and family sign it first so that guests have an example. If guests know exactly what is expected of them, they’ll be a lot more likely to sign.
6. Provide the right tools. This one may seem obvious, but double check that the writing utensils you provide guests are fit for the task! Some pens won’t write on slick surfaces or will smear while others will bleed right through the page if the paper isn’t thick enough. If the writing surface is dark, make sure the ink will show up well against it. It’s always a good idea to test your writing materials before the big day to avoid disappointment. Don’t be afraid to research what will work best. In addition, provide plenty of pens, inkpads, and supplies for guests to use. People have a habit of unconsciously pocketing pens when they’re done using them, so anticipate them disappearing over the course of the night.
7. Provide space. Whatever form you choose your guest book to take make sure there’s enough space on the page or canvas. If you’re going to have an actual book as your guest book, purchase one with a few extra pages than necessary. If you’d like your guests to sign an object, either make sure it’s sufficiently large to comfortably hold a number of signatures equal to your head count or provide multiple items that can be displayed as a set. Finally, try not to choose something that will be difficult to sign by its shape or size. You will want to enjoy your lasting memorabilia from your South Florida wedding!