Audio Guest Books: What You Need to Know & Where to Buy

Read our comprehensive guide for an overview of this trendy guest book alternative.
Taylor Carson - The Knot Contributor.
by
Taylor Carson
Taylor Carson - The Knot Contributor.
Taylor Carson
The Knot Contributor
  • Taylor writes wedding venue roundups for The Knot.
  • Taylor was formerly the Assistant Managing Editor at Philadelphia magazine, and she continues to freelance for Philadelphia’s lifestyle and wedding verticals.
  • She received her degree in journalism, with a minor in English, from Temple University.
Updated Apr 27, 2023
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Are you looking for a memorable, out-of-the-ordinary wedding guest book? One guest book alternative is standing out above the rest as of late—the audio guest book. Whether this option is already on your big day wish list or this is your first time hearing about it, we've created this all-encompassing guide to inform spouses-to-be about everything an audio guest book entails.

Continue reading to discover what an audio guest book is, how much this nontraditional option costs, how it works, vendors to rent or buy from and more. And you won't just have to take our word for it. Much of the expert advice below comes from Alaa El Ghatit, owner of LifeOnRecord—an audio guest book company with more than 15 years of experience in the industry.

What Is an Audio Guest Book?

While you may think of an audio guest book as a physical phone that would replace a physical guest book at a wedding, the term "audio guest book" more appropriately refers to the finished product—a compilation of audio recordings made by wedding guests that you and your new spouse can cherish forever.

"This is primarily done by friends and family recording their voice using a vintage, retro or specialty phone at the wedding," El Ghatit shares. But audio guest books are not limited to specialty phones, with some vendors also providing the option for guests to call a specialty phone number on their personal devices.

After the wedding, the newlyweds then receive the compilation as a keepsake. This keepsake can be digital (aka recordings that can be downloaded or streamed) or physical (such as a vinyl record, a CD or a thumb drive).

How Much Does an Audio Guest Book Cost?

Audio guest book pricing varies depending on the type you're looking for, the vendor and whether you're looking to rent or buy the equipment.

According to El Ghatit, vintage phone rentals generally range between $300 and $600. Purchasing just a specialty phone number is a more cost-effective option, with prices closer to the $100 to $200 range.

Buying a telephone that has been refurbished into an audio guest book is also an option, most notably on Etsy, with sellers listing phones anywhere between $250 and $750. A benefit of purchasing a phone outright is it gives you the ability to potentially rent out your own device after your wedding. However, El Ghatit notes that renting is often the better option—"especially if you work with a company that can supply other aspects of the experience in addition to the phone."

How Does an Audio Guest Book Work?

Once you've secured an audio guest book for your big day, the process is straightforward. If you are using a physical phone, for the best audio quality, set up your device in a spot that is away from the noise yet visible enough so it won't be overlooked by guests.

For your setup, El Ghatit highlights the importance of signage and communication. "Even though the instructions can be simple," he says, "you need to tell people what to expect." To do so, place an instructional sign or two around the telephone and have your DJ or band make an announcement reminding your guests to leave a message at some point throughout the night.

What should guests expect? Typically, they can expect to walk up to the phone, pick up the receiver and then leave their message. (Some companies also provide couples with the ability to pre-record an introductory greeting.) Messages are saved and stored in the phone until they are transferred by you or your vendor to a computer and then turned into your keepsake.

Can I Use an Audio Guest Book for an Outdoor Wedding?

The short answer is yes. However, there are some considerations you should keep in mind. First, El Ghatit notes that while phones don't need to be connected to Wi-Fi or a telephone line, they do need to be connected to a power source. Many phones are battery operated, but couples planning an outdoor wedding should confirm this with the vendor that is supplying the audio guest book.

Additionally, you'll want to keep the potential for rain in mind. "None of the phones offered by any company are waterproof," says El Ghatit. "If it starts to rain, you should ensure the phone is sheltered."

Where to Rent or Buy Audio Guest Books Online

Now that we've laid the groundwork for audio guest books, it's time we highlight some of the most reputable vendors in the industry right now. If you're considering incorporating a trendy-yet-timeless telephone into your big day, continue reading to preview what's available.

LifeOnRecord Audio Guest Book

three vintage phones
Courtesy of LifeOnRecord

El Ghatit's LifeOnRecord is a family-owned company that has been helping individuals celebrate milestones via audio messages since 2006. The company's baseline wedding package—the LifeOnRecord Service—provides couples with a toll-free number in just minutes and an online portal that is accessible for a full year.

What Couples Love:

  • There are over 15 unique vintage and retro phone designs to choose from, each with an included toll-free virtual number for guests that can't be there or prefer to call from their own phones.

  • An online portal lets you delete, download, and edit your recordings.

  • Add-ons include keepsake speakers, vinyl albums and QR codes.

  • All recordings go through a noise reduction and speech enhancement process to eliminate any background noise and music.

        After the Tone Audio Guest Book

        After the Tone's vintage phones come in pretty much every color of the rainbow—brown, orange, cream, blue, yellow, pink, green, beige, white, red, black—meaning you can pick the perfect hue to complement your wedding day color palette. The After the Tone Shipped Experience comes with a phone in your choice of available colors, instructions for setting up and using the phone, a guide for guests and a prepaid return label.

        What Couples Love:

        • Once your rental phone is returned to After the Tone, you'll receive your voicemails digitally within three to four weeks.

        • After the Tone also offers a virtual call center package and in-person event services.

        • USBs and custom vinyl records are available for an additional fee.

        FêteFone Audio Guest Book

        FêteFone now offers over 20 unique telephone styles available for purchase (for the same price as renting). Choose from vintage, retro or novelty designs that you can buy, keep and even reuse for other events. Sold through their website, Amazon or Etsy, your selected FêteFone will be shipped quickly so you'll have it well in advance of your big day. One of our personal favorites, 'The Victoria,' features an elegant black-and-brass Art Deco design, complete with an integrated drawer for leaving notes to your guests.

        What Couples Love:

        • You have the ability to pre-record a message guests will hear upon picking up the phone.

        • Choose from a variety of styles, including a 1950s pay phone, a 1930s kettle phone, novelty shapes like pursed lips or a hamburger, or add your own DIY touch.

        • Instantly access your guests' messages after your event. Display your FêteFone at home to listen to your messages directly from the device, or download the audio files using the included memory stick.

        At the Beep Audio Guest Book

        At the Beep's audio guest books are modeled after the GPO phone design and available in a variety of colors. The company will also work with you to create a custom phone better suited to your color preference and you can add your names to the phone for an extra fee as an extra special decal.

        What Couples Love:

        • You can keep your rental for your entire wedding weekend.

        • Record a customized greeting, or select from At the Beep's standard options.

        • At the Beep provides video versions of your favorite audio recordings to make sharing easier

        Flashbulb Memories Audio Guest Book Phone

        Flashbulb Memories' Audio Guest Book rental features a vintage-style audio guest book phone with a black shell. For an additional fee, you can upgrade your shell color (available options: ivory cream, baby blue, president red, very orange, pastel pink, mustard yellow, simply mint) or have the company refurbish a family phone.

        What Couples Love:

        • Create a custom "at the beep" message that'll greet guests when they pick up the phone.

        • You'll receive an online gallery and raw audio files post-event.

        • Battery usage is optional for up to 10 hours of use from any location.

        Echo Phone Voicemail Guest Book

        Echo Phone rents out white, green, black, beige, pink and blue rotary phones as audio guest books. They also offer adorably designed vinyls and cassettes—or a USB—to enjoy your audio after your special day.

        What Couples Love:

        • You can choose from one of four custom cover options.

        • Phone rentals come with a frameable sign.

        • The USB, a keepsake in and of itself, is encased in a heart keychain.

        The Joyful Booth Co. Audio Guest Book

        Simply plug in the Joyful Booth Co.'s Audio Guest Book and your guests will be able to leave you heartfelt messages after the beep. The company offers two standard phones (retro black and retro silver) and four limited edition phones (three in vibrant colors and a payphone).

        What Couples Love:

        • The Joyful Booth Co. can ship phones across the continental U.S.

        • You can record an introductory message for guests.

        • Your individual voicemails will be combined into an mp3 file and a video that also features a photo of your choice.

        VintageVibeEvents Audio Guest Book

        For those wanting to purchase an audio guest book, Etsy seller VintageVibeEvents offers the Audio Guest Book. The product provides more than 12 hours of recording time, with messages being recorded via a small digital recorder connected to the phone externally.

        What Couples Love:

        • The Audio Guest Book is available in 12 colors and variations.

        • The phone requires only two AAA batteries, which are included with each purchase.

        • The phone is yours to keep after your big day and can be used for any number of future events.

        AfterTheBeep Premium Audio Guest Book Telephone

        Another highly rated Etsy seller, AfterTheBeep has audio guest books on offer. Buyers receive a visually appealing, ready-to-use phone made in the United States.

        What Couples Love:

        • AfterTheBeep phones are refurbished with microphones that record high-quality audio.

        • The included SD card can hold around 15,000 messages.

        • Every phone comes with unlimited support from AfterTheBeep and a six-month warranty.

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