24 Wedding Guest Book Alternatives You've Never Seen Before

In lieu of an actual book, ask guests to leave a note in an out-of-the-box way.
Hannah Nowack The Knot Weddings Editor
by Hannah Nowack
Hannah Nowack The Knot Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Editor, Real Weddings
  • Hannah writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on real wedding coverage.
  • Hannah oversees engagement content on The Knot's partner brand How They Asked.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hannah was the Social Media Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings.
Updated Aug 19, 2021

Wedding guest books are a standard detail couples often include in their reception plans. Typically placed near a gift or card table, a guest book is a great way to remember your day and the loved ones who were present while you celebrated. However, as timeless and customary as a standard guest book may be, that doesn't mean you need to select a basic or cursory book. The popularity of wedding guest book alternatives, like decor pieces couples hope to hang in their newlywed home, is on the rise. While you've probably seen ideas like a tree guest book sign or even a message in a bottle guest book, don't limit yourself to those concepts—the options are truly endless when it comes to unique guest book ideas. To help inspire you we've gathered some of the most creative and unique ideas out there.

Top Tips for Wedding 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 memento from your fun wedding day. 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 Creative 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.

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 in. Let these creative wedding guest book ideas inspire you as you plan the perfect wedding

1. Polaroid Guest Book

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.

2. Typewriter Guest Book Alternative

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

3. 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.

4. Illustrated Ski-Themed Guest Book Sign

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.

5. Heart-Shaped Wood Tokens in Acrylic Frame

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

6. Collection of 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.

7. Snail Mail Display

While some couples will pen handwritten notes to their attendees and set them at each guests' place, 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.

8. 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.

9. Piñata Guest Book

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

10. Acrylic Sign

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

11. Gold Unicorn Piñata

If this cute idea doesn't make your heart drop, we don't know what will. A festive and unique piñata was part of the guest book station at this wedding.

12. Rustic Oar Guest Book

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

13. Baseball Guest Book Alternative

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

14. Illustrated Picture of Dog as Guest Book Alternative

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

15. Rustic Wood Plank Guest Book

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.

16. Painted Globe Guest Book

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.

17. Quilt Guest Book

This couple hung a quilt from a wall in their wedding venue and guests were able to write well wishes on the blanket with fabric pens.

18. Minimalist Black-and-White 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.

19. Custom Caricature Picture

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

20. Vintage Typewriter

One reason couples choose a unique guest book, instead of a standard guest book that may eventually collect dust on a coffee table, is because they want to add a fun activity to their wedding reception for guests to enjoy. Here, instead of hand-writing a note, guests got to pen well wishes with a vintage typewriter.

21. Record Guest Book With Letterboard Sign

Celebrate your love of music with vinyl records as your unique wedding guest book. Bonus points if you also include a cute saying on letterboard signage.

22. Illustrated Detroit, Michigan, Sign

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

23. Audio Guest Book With Vintage Pink Phone

Talk about an out-of-the-box idea. 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.

24. Rustic Wooden Guest Book Bench

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

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