The Evolution of the Guestbook

Guestbook alternatives have become pretty common in recent years.  It seems downright rare to sign your name in a book of simple, lined pages these days.  Many brides make their own books with images in them.  Some have guests write on cards or slips of paper that are hung on a tree or deposited in a special box.  Many have guests write on a matte or poster.  Posters of trees on which guests leave their thumbprints have taken the wedding world by storm lately.  There seem to be so many creative takes on the guestbook.

When I thought about our guestbook, I didn't really want an actual book.  I saw a poster in an old issue of Martha Stewart Weddings that I really liked, but its colors weren't right for our wedding.  I searched Etsy for guestbook posters and stumbled upon this one by AmerpandInk Designs:

Do you know what really sold me on this idea?  The dog.  The listing said the design could be customized and after staring at the image for a few days, I took the leap and made my purchase.  I didn't expect the amount of customization that Tasha Montgomery, the artist behind AmpersandInk, would do for me.  She asked for pictures of me and Marc as well as any elements that we'd want on our certificate. I made a little Picasa album with some of the images I've shared on past posts to give her an idea of our style and what our venue looked like.

About a week later, we had a first draft and a few decisions to make about the placement of the main element, the granary at Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards.  I was delighted by the beautiful flower border that Tasha drew based on our wedding monogram and the little cartoon Minks. 

We decided that we liked the granary off to the side.  Tasha suggested that we put something on the other side of the image to provide balance and I sent her pictures of the vineyard part of Pippin Hill to be her inspiration.  I also asked her to add the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background, which were a huge part of our decision to get married at Pippin Hill.  The second draft arrived and suggestions went back and forth to get to our third draft.

Tasha didn't love the tree on the third draft and asked if there was a tree that might be "very Virginia" that could be used instead.  My first thought was the magnolia tree, but those are pretty huge.  I was coming up blank and showed the draft to a colleague who instantly said we should use a dogwood.  Of course!  Dogwood trees are hugely popular in my area.  We even have a Dogwood Festival each year!

As I looked at the draft, I started thinking that the Pippin Hill granary was looking a little sad over on the right.  That's when local photographer Jen Fariello posted some beautiful images from a winter wedding at the venue.

Pat Roberts and Sherry Spencer from Pat's Floral Designs (who happen to be my florists!), had put up some gorgeous wreaths at Pippin Hill for the holiday season.  I loved them so much that I emailed one of Jen's images to Tasha right away and asked if she could incorporate the wreaths into her design.

The final proof arrived last week and I was giddy over how beautifully it came out.  I sent a quick tweet asking for some recommendations for local printers and my photographer's husband responded that they liked to use T&N Printing.  I rushed down to the shop where a nice man named Ken showed me paper options.  He had the poster printed within minutes and even gave me a second copy for free.

Are you ready?  Here's the final copy:
(names are edited, of course)

Seeing Baxter on the bottom makes my heart almost burst with excitement.  I'm so happy with how this came out and am so thankful that Tasha was willing to go through multiple drafts with me to arrive at the final design.

What do you think of non-traditional guest books?  Have you seen any in person at weddings?  How were they received?


  1. LOVE it!!!

  2. This is seriously the cutest guest "book" I've ever seen! Love it!

  3. Very Nice!

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