If you’re wondering, do I really need a guest book at my wedding, listen up: we’ll tell you the pros and cons of having a guest book at your wedding so you can make the choice that works best for you. This blog post is written for an Ask Emmaline question by Brianne, who wrote us with the following question.
“Hi Emmaline! Should I have a guest book at my wedding? I haven’t been able to find one I really like and my fiance and I are curious if it is essential. Do you recommend one? Why or why not? I don’t want to spend the money on it but I also don’t want to regret not having a guest book at my wedding. Thanks for your help!”
Great question, Brianne! Together, we’ll handle this etiquette question: do you really need them, or is it OK to skip them altogether? Let’s discuss it!
Is a Guest Book Necessary?
Is it OK to not have a guest book? YES!
While there are plenty of things you wouldn’t skip at a wedding — like food, seating, and a marriage license — a guest book is optional. But that doesn’t mean you should automatically skip it altogether. You may want one after all. Here’s why.
What is the purpose of a wedding guest book?
As a rule of thumb, a guest book is used to record the names of guests in attendance at your wedding. Traditionally, this was a great method for keeping track of who came to the wedding so you could also track gifts received and send appropriate thank you cards. Today, most are mini works of art and taken on all new shapes and sizes, from traditional books to vinyl records you hang on the wall, puzzles you put together, or even voice recordings made by your guests. (Cool idea, am I right? You can get this setup with the phone at MSO Photobooths.)
The number one reason why you may want one is to have a formal memento of guests’ signatures. This is particularly true when loved ones pass on, as it is nice to have a memory of them at one of your biggest life events.
If you’re on the fence about having one at your wedding, here are some pros and cons to help you decide.
• Remember who came to your wedding
Unless you have the best memory, it can be difficult to recall who came to your wedding. You don’t want to be left wondering if a guest did or didn’t make it to the nuptials, especially when it comes time to send out those thank-you notes. A guest book can be a helpful tool to have in remembering who came to the wedding and even help you recall the gift given. When writing your thank-you cards, you won’t be left red-faced by making a mistake on the card about seeing them at the wedding, or not, since you’ll know exactly who was in attendance.
• Adds to Your Decor
When it comes down to the entryway decor at your wedding, there aren’t too many items. A guest book adds a nice pop of color or a bright pattern to your space, tying in your palette and theme with ease.
• Nice Memento to Have
There are three mementos that remain after the wedding: photos of the day, the memories in your mind, and the guest book of signatures from your guests. There are not many mementos you keep, so it can be very nice to have a treasured keepsake of signatures and well wishes from your closest family members and friends.
• Fun Activity for Your Guests
Guests enjoy signing the guest book, or puzzle, dropping in a heart in a 3-D box, adding a fingerprint — whatever it is you ask them to do in order to “sign” your guest book. It is one small, yet impactful, activity to have at your wedding reception. It is these minor details that create the bigger picture, a wedding day worth remembering! By having a guest book at your reception, you’re adding to the unique story that is your wedding day.
• Helpful Words of Advice
If you opt for a guest book alternative like ‘words of wisdom’, ‘date night ideas’, ‘marriage advice’, or even ‘places to travel’, your guests have the ability to contribute their thoughts or suggestions and add to your future memories in the making. These tidbits are often helpful things you’ll learn something from, so setting up the guest book may be worth it for the thoughtful and wonderful advice and suggestions you’ll receive.
On the other hand, sometimes it is more trouble than its worth. In these ways, you’ll see how guest books are something you maybe don’t need or want to have at your wedding, and why.
For some, the budget simply isn’t there for one more thing. If you don’t want to or can’t afford to spend anything else on the reception, you can feel OK about nixing the book from your plans. Sometimes, it’s just not in the budget and that’s OK.
If you’re working with minimal space at the reception, there may not be a convenient place for it — or even an alternative — to be placed. If there is no room for one, and you’re OK skipping it, go with your gut. Sometimes, it just doesn’t fit into your plans and that’s totally understandable. You don’t want to overwhelm your space just for sake of crossing it off of your list.
If you see it as a hassle — too many steps for guests, overwhelming on the day-of to set up, or not something you really care about — it may not be worth having a guest book at your wedding. Simply put, if your heart isn’t in it, maybe you would be best suited at picking something else that does matter to you. A guest book isn’t for everyone.
In conclusion, a guest book isn’t the right choice for everyone. However, it is a beautiful accessory to have at your wedding and a memorable keepsake you’ll be sure to cherish. I hope this list of pros and cons helps you decide if you need one or not. Remember, it is best to choose every detail that YOU want, not simply because you feel pressure to do it. Many couples don’t want a standard book, but opt for something more interactive instead. On the other hand, some couples don’t want a lot of “moving pieces”, and will go the streamlined route with a simple book. Either option works great! It is important to do what you want and spend your wedding budget on the details that matter most to you and your partner.
A guest book isn’t required.
It is, however, nice to have and a great way to keep track of guests who attended your wedding.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do a guest book; sometimes, couples skip them altogether and that’s OK.
Thanks to Brianne for writing! I hope it helps.