27 Wedding Guest Book Alternatives You've Never Seen Before

Go off-book with these unexpected options.
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Senior Editor, Weddings
  • Hannah writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on real wedding coverage.
  • Hannah has a passion for DE&I and plays an integral role in ensuring The Knot content highlights all voices and all love stories.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hannah was the Social Media Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings.
Updated Jun 30, 2023

Guest books are a timeless wedding tradition, but you don't have to follow the status quo of using an actual book if that's not your style (although if it is, try one of these keepsake options). An alternative wedding guest book gives you the best of both worlds: a great way to remember your day and the loved ones who were present while you celebrated, combined with a unique idea that feels true to your personalities. You might have come across some popular guest book alternatives, like messages in a bottle or instant photos, but we're sharing even more unique wedding guest book ideas to choose from. Set up one of these creative options next to your reception venue entrance or wedding gift table so guests can spot it right away.

In this article:

Unique Alternative Wedding Guest Book Ideas

Part of planning the best wedding ever is filling it with the best wedding details ever. That's where these unique wedding guest book ideas come into play. From trending audio guest books to custom pet portraits, we love these standout wedding guest book alternatives.

1. Vintage Phone Audio Guest Book

Talk about an out-of-the-box idea (literally). Guests spoke their well wishes into a phone at this wedding and the newlyweds ended the wedding reception with a recording they could listen to for years to come.

2. Illustrated Pet Portrait

Celebrate Fido by incorporating him in your wedding guest book signage as this couple did.

3. Snail Mail Display

While some couples will pen handwritten notes to their attendees and set them at each guests' table setting, this couple turned that tradition on its head. Guests were encouraged to write a note to the newlyweds and then place it in an envelope affixed to a wood board.

4. Baseballs

As a nod to the groom's career as a professional baseball player, guests were asked to autograph baseballs set atop wooden blocks.

5. Cozy Quilt

This couple hung a quilt from a wall in their wedding venue and guests penned their notes onto the blanket with fabric markers.

6. Colorful Piñata

At this wedding reception, the couple asked attendees to write well wishes and place them inside a piñata.

7. Vintage Typewriter

This couple set out a vintage typewriter at their reception and asked guests to punch out a note of love and encouragement.

8. Quilt Square Coloring

Guests at this event used fabric pens to decorate quilt squares, that bore an uncanny resemblance to adult coloring book pages. After the special day, the squares were sewn together into a keepsake quilt.

Creative Wedding Guest Book Alternatives

Whether you're into music, art or paying homage to the place(s) where you grew up, these creative guest book ideas are totally customizable and unexpected.

9. Collection of Vinyl Records

Celebrate your love of music by setting out a handful of vinyls from your favorite recording artists with markers attendees can use for signing.

10. Heart-Shaped Wood Tokens in Acrylic Frame

Each guest signed mini wooden hearts before dropping the chips into an acrylic shadow box-like frame.

11. Custom Caricature Picture

This couple commissioned a custom caricature around which guests left well wishes for the couple.

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12. Instant Camera

Since it will take a few weeks for your professional photographer to edit your wedding photo album, Polaroid snaps from the day are a great option for couples who want to be able to reminisce immediately following the wedding day via a DIY photo guest book. Additionally, consider integrating this guest book idea with your photo booth so guests could take one picture home with them and leave another one for you to keep.

13. Ski-Themed Illustration

This couple had their stationer print a wedding sign with ski-themed illustrations that matched the rest of the stationery for their snowy winter wedding. After guests signed the border the frames piece was ready to be hung in the couple's newlywed home.

14. Illustrated Hometown Sign

Since a guest book is supposed to commemorate your wedding, it's a great idea to include a nod to your wedding destination, hometown, wedding date or even your monogram as part of the guest book.

15. Acrylic Sign

This couple had a gazebo painted on the middle of a wedding sign that doubled as their guest book.

16. Painted Globe

The best part about a globe guest book is that it can fit any wedding style or aesthetic. This couple opted for a minimalist, modern look with their globe. If travel is central to your love story, have a globe guest book that can become home decor in your new home. You could even have guests mark destinations they think belong on your travel bucket list.

Rustic Wedding Guest Book Alternatives

With nature-inspired designs and natural materials, these non-traditional guest book ideas are a perfect match for your rustic theme or outdoor wedding venue.

17. Wood Plank

At this rustic wedding, the couple asked guests to write on a wood plank that they later used as home decor in their new home.

18. Rustic Wooden Bench

For crafty, DIY couples, consider building a bench that can double as your guest book and future home decor.

19. Tree Stump

This rustic wedding guest book alternative is sweet and simple. Have guests write their names onto part of a tree stump—even better if it comes from someplace that holds meaning, like your backyard or a childhood home.

20. Anniversary Wine Bottles

Instead of pulling your guest book out every year, you can reminisce by reading notes and well wishes written onto wine bottles (or other bottles) designated for your major wedding anniversaries. Another option: Designate the bottles for future marriage milestones, like purchasing a new home or welcoming a baby.

21. Miniature Wooden Barrel

For a rustic vineyard wedding, ask your guests to inscribe their names onto miniature wooden barrels. This one has a slot on the top so that the barrel can double as a wedding card box.

Beach Wedding Guest Book Alternatives

If you're hosting a beach wedding, turn to unique wedding guest book ideas like wooden surfboards, seashells and other coastal-inspired elements.

22. Tropical Surfboard

At this destination big day in Hawaii, the couple paid homage to getting engaged while surfing by asking attendees to sign a surfboard.

23. Adirondack Chairs

Live out your best coastal grandmother-inspired life by having guests sign a pair of white Adirondack chairs on the wedding day. Once you've applied weatherproof sealer to protect the signatures, set up the chairs in your backyard for your new favorite spot to unwind together (with glasses of wine in hand, of course).

24. Canoe Oars

Boating hobbyists, scour flea markets (or even Etsy or Amazon) for cute oars that guests can sign.

25. Assorted Seashells

If you always return home after every beach trip with dozens of seashells in tow, you'll love this beach wedding guest book alternative. Showcase the signed seashells in decorative vases throughout your home as little reminders of your wedding day.

26. Vintage Life Preserver

Once guests have added their names, this vintage-inspired life preserver would look so interesting as framed wall decor in a nautical-themed space.

27. Messages in a Bottle

Give your guests the chance to share their 'messages in a bottle' for you with this unique guest book alternative. Depending on the number of people you're inviting, you might need to provide two or three different bottles to collect all of the notes.

Top Tips for Wedding Guest Book Alternatives

Choosing a guest book alternative also requires a little bit of extra planning, but we promise that it's well worth your time. Here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about guest book alternatives.

Think about your theme.

If you're having a hard time deciding on a unique alternative to a traditional guest book, take a look at your chosen wedding theme or aesthetic. If there are certain motifs you're already working into your wedding decor, there's a good chance that there's an on-theme item you could use for a guest book alternative. If you're tying the knot on the beach in Hawaii, have guests sign a surfboard that you can later hang in your home as a fun guest book idea. If you and your partner love puzzles and game nights, set out puzzle pieces or even Jenga pieces for loved ones to autograph as part of a puzzle guest book. Vino enthusiasts, consider having guests write on wine corks or even on a wine bottle that you plan to open on our first wedding anniversary. Limitless options can feel daunting so let your wedding theme inform your guest book brainstorming.

Have good-quality pens on hand.

Good pens or markers are a must. Since attendees won't be writing on paper, you'll need to be especially cognizant of the surface they're writing on and what instruments will be required to ensure their names are legible. Felt-tip markers and paint pens are a good idea if you're working with a rough surface like wood or something enamel where ink from a ballpoint pen would smear. And while you're shopping for good pens, keep in mind that you may need to source other materials, like an easel, to complete your guest book setup.

Balance creativity and practicality.

Some ideas might seem like they'd make for a cool activity or photo op, but keep practicality in mind, especially when it comes to ideas you hope to DIY. How hard will it be for guests to write on the item you're thinking about using as a wedding guest book alternative? Furthermore, is the item something you will want to keep and display as home decor? One benefit of an actual book is that it can be stored on a shelf. If your alternative option needs to be hung on a wall or needs ample display space, weigh your options carefully.

Keep prewedding events in mind.

Many prewedding events, such as a wedding or bridal shower or even a rehearsal dinner, will sometimes have a guest book too. These unique ideas would fit in at a wedding or bridal shower just as well as they would at a wedding reception.

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