Guestbook alternatives Part Deux: from fingerprints to rocks

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I love when you guys do roundups like “non-floral centerpieces” etc. They help get my noggin thinking!

Can you do a Part Deux to the guestbook roundup? I think that one can be a real pain in the ass for those of us that don't want a book filled with just names collecting dust laying around.


Not only did Kyle send in that request for another guest book alternative roundup, but then he sent in some of his favorite ideas to boot! So how could I resist doing another guest book post? Answer is: I couldn't. So here we go…

Fingerprint tree

The fingerprint guestbook tree from Andy and Nadine's wedding looks amazing and can also help with criminal investigations.

fingerprint balloon guestbook alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Etsy seller Bleudetoi shows us how fingerprints can also make awesome balloons too.

Time Capsule Candle

time capsule candle alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Kyle tells me that these are really popular in Japan. He also sent a link that (once you use Google translator) breaks it down. Your guests write their message on strips of paper, then you collect all the papers and put them into a glass vial that has a cap with a wick on the top. Finally you pour wax granules over the vial, light that bad boy up, and let it melt the wax until you've got a decent seal going on. Ten years in the future you relight the candle to expose the glass vial and read what everyone had to say on your wedding day while enjoying a bottle of wine or whatever your vice is. This one would have to take some creative DIYing since the whole getup isn't sold outside of Japan as far as I know, but I think it'd be easier and cheaper to pull off than the commercial deal anyway.


signing the guestbook
Have guests sign quilting squares that are already stitched together to form a quilt, like from Lindzy and Davido's wedding, or leave out a basket of individual quilting squares for your guests to decorate and sign and then stitch them up into a wedding quilt later.

Picture book

Guestbook / Coffee table reader
Get a picture book of the place where you're holding the wedding (New Orleans, Paris, etc.) or a photography book about love, or of a connection you and your significant other share (your alma mater, modern art, etc.) and have people write messages in the book. Then you have an awesome, super personalized, coffee table book!

Canvas painting

Punk Art.
Ben and Ella designed a canvas that says “All You Need Is Love” and each of their guests decorated a square or two (or five). Or, if you prefer a more free-form guest book, you could purchase a black canvas then let our guests go wild doing. (I will warn you: I did this for my Sweet 16 and it ended up a big blob of ugly. But, I'm assuming your guests will be more mature than a bunch of teenagers.)


rainbow flag alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)You know those flags they make for hanging off your porch on different holidays, seasons, your college mascot, etc? Pick one out that matches your theme or has some sort of meaning to you two (I like the rainbow peace flag pictured here, thinking of people signing all the long rainbow lines), then get people to sign it with Sharpies! You can hang it outside every year on your anniversary. Pirate flag guestbook? Yes please!


Jessica and Charlotte decorated their guestbook scrapbook-style with scrabble stuff, autumn leaves, their wedding invitation illustration, and a quote about love. Then they set out a digital camera and a PoGo printer, which prints photos with a sticky back, to add to their guestbook scrapbook.


Reception slambooks
Instead of a guestbook, Adam and Jenny made slambooks. “It's something that was cool to do in my 5th grade class (so my two best friends from elementary school who attended totally got it!). Basically it's just a list of questions for people to answer, and we made some wedding/couple/love-themed. This was also an extra activity to do at the tables.”

Steampunk guest box

alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

From Steambride: “Instead of a guestbook we are opting for slips of paper that will later be incorporated into a project. My plan is to Mod Podge the slips of paper onto a vase that we then can bring out every year on our anniversary and fill with flowers. This alternative guestbook is great for smaller weddings where there are not hundreds of signatures and messages. However, we needed something to hold the slips of paper. So this is where my five years of working in the scrapbooking industry came into play. Behold, the steampunk wooden box of wonderment.”

alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Garden rocks

guest book rocks
I absolutely LOVE this idea. If you have a backyard or a small garden area, this is pretty awesome. Dar and Scott set out rocks on a table with a sign that explained, “In lieu of a guest book, please sign a rock for our garden and put it in the tray.”

Want more ideas? You can always peruse our past guestbook entries, and if we STILL have left a fantastic idea or two out, leave 'em in the comments!

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Comments on Guestbook alternatives Part Deux: from fingerprints to rocks

  1. Oh man! All of these ideas are fantastic! We had been planning on some variation of the thumbprint tree but this has definitely got, as the inspirational Kyle says, ‘my noggin thinking’ 🙂 Love this roundup.

    One thing that I can contribute is a version of the ‘money dance’ tradition in my area that we thought up. Instead of people having to give money to dance with my partner and I, we are going to give people pieces of paper where they can write advice, funny stories, words of love, etc for us to enjoy later. Guest book plus! 🙂

  2. A friend of ours makes amazing t-shirt quilts, so we rounded up a bunch of tee from college, childhood, and shows we’ve seen together and took them down to her to make for the guestbook. Our friends will be able to sign a square that is special to them, and older relatives can sign the framing fabric. Plus, while the shirts hold a lot of fond memories, neither of us really wear t shirts too often anymore, so this way we can keep the memories minus the mothballs.

  3. We had fabric shapes (hearts and leaves) for people to sign. My mom will be embroidering the names, and then making a quilt to put them on- a tree with the hearts and leaves on the branches. I thought having something actually useful would be much better than a book we’ll open three times and allow to collect tons of dust.

  4. I wanted to draw out the Marauder’s Map (from Harry Potter)and have like feet stickers that people would place on the map and sign their name next to it. Not really anymore useful than a regular guest book, but it appealed to my nerdy side. Fiance talked me out of it when he pointed out that me, him and maybe 3 other people would “get it”.

    • OMG THAT IS SUCH A COOL IDEA. though i doubt i will be able to talk my non-HP FH into this one!

    • i hope you don’t mind, but i just had to borrow this idea!! so cute and clever and unfortunately for my guests i don’t care if they get it haha, its for me to cherish. my fiance agreed since i gave him the death star card holder pinata… so far it’s looking great!

  5. A friend of mine had a nice photograph of her and her husband with a matte around it. The matte was large enough to fit signatures and short notes from people who wanted to sign it. After the wedding, they got a big frame and framed the photo of themselves surrounded by their wedding guests’ names! It’s simple, but still different from a boring old guestbook, because now it hangs on the wall in their apartment!

    • This is, at least in my region, a pretty standard BarBat Mitzvah practice. A large picture of the kid that all the relatives and friends sign with little messages.

      I strongly rebelled against the “pictures of me everywhere” thing I’d seen at some of my friends Benai Mitzvot to the point where I didn’t even allow this one, “traditional” picture. Instead I had everyone sign a Doodle Bear.

      And ya know, I think that could be pretty awesome at a wedding, too. Buy one of those signature stuffed animals (like the kind people have at hospitals – just make sure it doesn’t say “get well soon”) and have everyone sign that. Then it could sit on your bed and comfort you whenever your SigOth goes out of town and you need something to cuddle.

  6. I was pretty set on the tree one, but now I also love the photo book idea. One friend of mine had a photo book of their engagement pictures printed by shutterfly and are using that as their guest book.

    One of my very favorite guest book ideas that you often see on DIY sites is to make a custom photo booth; people print 2 of each strip of pictures, keep one, and the other is signed and goes in a basket for the bride and groom. Then you can make a cool collage/wall art type thing with all the funny pictures.

    • I did a Shutterfly album of our engagement photos also and will be putting that out as our guestbook in less than two weeks. I left lots of white space around the photos so guests can sign there.

      Since we have lots of family and friends who are creative and artistically inclined, I also bought a little square spiral-bound sketch book from an art supply store and made a little sign that I glued to the front of it that says “Wedding Doodles”. The first page of the book says “Sketching a masterpiece is futile…get those creative juices flowing and leave us a DOODLE,” with my own doodling on that page as an example. I’m hoping for some fun doodles!

  7. I always loved the fingerprint trees, but when I saw that exact fingerprint balloon, I was in love. We already had a mascot of the wedding – hippo drawing, and in our invitations, he has a harness around his belly and is anchoring a balloon, so obviously he’ll have the harness in this again and he’ll be floating up there with the balloons. I’m also over the moon for the color combination used in that picture, and so did my best to duplicate it. So fun, can’t wait to hang it in our house!

  8. I found this inspiration while searching online and its ideal for us. Wishing bottles. We like to collect old decanter type bottles so we’re going to have about a dozen set up with tags that have 1-7,10,12,15,20,25. The guests will then write words of advice, memories or well wishes on paper and place them in the bottle of the year they want. When our anniversary comes around we’ll take down the appropriate bottle from the mantel…. break it…. and remember our guest year after year!

  9. I found a Guest Birthday Calendar idea that I love. My fiance likes it too, so that’s what we’re using. I would like to make sure we get each guest in at least one photograph, so we could then send photo postcards on their birthdays.

  10. I LOVE the fingerprint tree/balloon! For our wedding, we had a dry erase board, and had our guests write us a note, then get photographed with said note. People actually had fun doing it, and we recruited a camera-happy uncle to take the photos for us. I’m planning on either an album or some sort of wall collage of all of our pics. I think I’ve seen something similar with chalkboard, too, but didn’t want to risk people getting chalk all over themselves (like I know I would).

  11. My husband and I just got married this past Friday and for our “guestbook” we used a kite. At the end of the ceremony my husband and I held on to the kite while someone on the other end held a reeeaaaally long ribbon tail that reached the end of the aisle. We had markers in baskets along the edges of each bench and all our guests came up and signed it and left messages. When they were done my husband and I took off into the adjacent field to fly the kite instead of a traditional exit.

  12. I love Quaker-style marriage certificates, where all of your guest sign as witnesses of your marriage. It’s a guestbook inasmuch as it is a record of who attended, but it’s also a show of solidarity and support with your marriage – which I think is beautiful.

    In a totally different vein, I also love using polaroids as guestbooks (they could write messages on the white part)… That’s just plain cool. 🙂

    • I love the polaroid idea! Would go especially great if there was a diy photobooth.

  13. We are doing something similar to the quilt signing, but my grandma has everyone sign the blocks before she put the quilt together and hand embroiders each name and message on to the blocks. We are having to start a bit early by giving the blocks to family members now, my grandma just turned 80 and my cousin’s quilt took her almost a year to complete. We are planning on having clothes lines and pins out so that as each person signs a block they pin it onto the line creating some fun decorations along the way.

  14. We are doing a wedding tree! Our wedding is in a month and I’m finalizing the design this week!

  15. I was at a wedding where they laid out a table cloth and permanent markers for everyone to sign/leave a message. They were planning to use it on their table on anniversaries.
    For my wedding, I just put out a few sheets of nice paper for everyone to sign. That way I can just incorporate them into an album with all the wedding pictures, rather than have an entire book devoted only to that.

  16. We did Wish cards that I am turning into a big wall hanging. I will post pictures in Tribe when I am all done.

  17. we’ll be doing the fingerprint tree but also an advice jar, just where people write marriage advice on paper and put it in a cute jar.

  18. I bought a fujifilm instax, and got pictures of all my guests at the reception. The guests then stuck them into a pretty handmade book (etsy) and wrote some sweet messages next to their photographs.

  19. We’re using blank tibetan prayer flags that I ordered for less than $20. And I thought of it all by myself 🙂

    • Oh what a good idea! I’ve been wanting to get us some prayer flags for our home, and this would be the perfect excuse to get them!

  20. We wanted something we could hang and display also, but the fingerprint thing really annoyed my mother who thought it was too much “work” for the guests…. Found a few posters with spaces for signatures like this one:

    so I came up with my own to fit our Deco Movie theme:*jhN*kib10t75vjbQJqv3OkgjTE1O/guestbookposter2.jpg

    I had a post a wedding update about it in Tribe, but wanted to share with non-Tribers. 🙂

  21. Or if your wedding is in the fall,why not use colored paper cut up leaves and have guest sign that and put them together on a table or coffee table with glass over it(or picture frame)where it can be seen everytime you have dinner or watch tv.. might make a great conservation piece.

  22. One of the cool customs my mother-in-law uses for her Christmas parties might work well as a wedding guest book alternative too. She has guests sign a beautiful tablecloth with a washable marker. After they’ve signed, she embroiders the signatures, then when she washes the tablecloth you only see the embroidery. This could be done it any color combo, and used on special occasions.

    Love all the ideas you’ve captured here. Lots of new ones! Well done.

  23. My wife and I only had 11 guests, so we had a lot more flexibility. We took a 24 piece puzzle (I think it was Barney!) with big pieces, painted the back of it in one of our wedding colors, and then at the reception we put it together and had everyone sign it. It’s now taken apart and the pieces make a faux frame around the mirror in the craft room – it’s like every time we look in it, we see all these sweet messages from our friends.

  24. We are having the guests sign jenga pieces, so we can remember our wedding every time we play.

  25. Wow! That was absolutely fun and very creative. The guest will surely enjoy participating the signing of rocks and finger printing on the guest book tree or balloon. 😀

    • We are trying to do a rock guest book for my in-laws 5oth wedding anniversary party and so far… i’m struggling with finding a marker or pen that will write on the rocks and dries quickly…. what did you use on your rocks?? Thank you 🙂

  26. For all the non-tribers, my guestbook will be a fingerprint one as well, but with a twist. For our fishing themed wedding, I have painted a huge piece of canvas with mostly an underwater lake scene, with 2 silhouetted fisher-people in a boat floating on top. The fingerprints will go underwater to become the fish! So excited about it!

  27. The gal who is designing the invitations also designed matching postcard-style cards, which we’ll probably print on postcard stock via Vistaprint. We’re doing a book themed wedding, so on the left side of the card is a “Special note for the couple.” One the right side is space for people to write their names, their favorite book, and a book recommendation for us. Our receptacle for these bookish cards is a box shaped like a vintage book, which we found at Michael’s for $8.

  28. As a generally non-crafty, non-weddingy person, I’m fairly proud of my idea for our upcoming guestbook. The plan is to get a batch of baseball cards and have guests ‘autograph’ and message them for us, then we’ll assemble them all together in a big frame.

  29. My better half and I get married in April. For our alternative guestbook I have bought a vintage looking recipe box and blank recipe cards for the guests to sign, doodle on and write ‘recipes’ for a lasting happy marriage 🙂 It can then be displayed nicely in my kitchen rather than my bottom drawer!

  30. My husband and I (4 months today!) found a great book called 1001 Movies to See Before you Die. He’s a filmmaker, and we love watching movies together. We got metallic sharpies and asked people to sign on the movie they would like us to see. Now when we choose a movie, we can flip through and see who recommended what film to us.

  31. My mom is an amazing artist, she can draw the most incredible things. I asked her to draw the tree for our thumbprint tree. I can’t wait to see it. We will have a beautiful drawing that my mom created for us topped by the prints of all the people we care about. I think it will be an amazing keepsake from our wedding.

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