© Melissa Nowakowski November 2009

If there's one wedding staple that never seems to be overlooked it's the guestbook. However whether it truly has a place at a wedding is something that must be determined by those who are hosting the celebration. And to do that, you must first determine its worth.

Historically guestbooks have been used as a record of those who attended the wedding and included a space for their address and phone number. It was then used as an address book of sorts for the happy couple to look back upon and to also use to contact their guests with thanks.
Through the years however, guestbooks have turned into merely a record of those who attended the wedding with a space in which they write their best wishes.

Is this something that is important to a couple or is it merely an element of tradition? If a simple book of names means absolutely nothing to you then opt to not have it all. And if you do want something to look back on 20 years after the big day then this planner says make it count and choose an alternative to the boring old book that you will want to look at. Even "photo guestbooks" -- books of photos of the couple through their courtship for the guests to sign -- are becoming a big trend and can be seen at almost any wedding.

Being a fan of personalized, unique weddings, here are a few alternatives to the traditional guestbook:

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PUZZLE PIECES: Have your guests write a message on each puzzle piece and store the pieces in a decorative box without putting the pieces together. Years from now you can have fun putting together the puzzle pieces to see what each guest wrote!

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FUN PAGES: Create pages full of activities like couple trivia, "draw the happy couple", theme-related crosswords,etc. and let your guests have some fun filling out your guestbook!

SATIN WRAP: Lay the white satin wrap you wore for the ceremony on the table for guests to sign and store the wrap with your wedding gown!

SEALED WITH A KISS: Place decorative envelopes and white note cards on the table. Have your guests write a note to the happy couple (including their favourite memory of the big day) on the note cards and SEAL them inside the envelopes. Store the beautiful envelopes in a decorative box or vase. Opening the envelopes on a special wedding anniversary and reading the messages inside will be a sweet treat!

CHALKBOARD CHIC: Have your guests sign a chalkboard! Not only is it a fun alternative for the guests but a scrawled-upon chalkboard is currently a hot trend in home decor!

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TYPEWRITER: For the literary enthusiast, budding author or screenwriter a typewriter is a chic and amusing way for guests to record their best wishes.

WISH TREE: The wish tree is a growing trend wherein you supply decorative cards with a ribbon attached upon which guests can share their wishes for the couple and hang on a vase of branches or a manzanita tree. It's an elegant way to display your guests' messages. The key to making a wish tree unique is to choose decorative cards or shapes that reflect the couple's uniqueness? Some ideas? Pocket mirrors with a white card glued to the back for guests to write their wishes. The multiple hanging mirrors create a beautiful glistening effect, especially when surrounded by candlelight. another idea? Have fake solid-coloured decorative birds for the guests to write their names and wishes upon with a black felt marker and perch the birds in the tree.

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MEMORABLE OBJECTS: Of course, anything that is of symbolic importance to you can serve as a writing pad for guests from instruments, a favourite brand of wine and a piece of artwork to a heirloom like a passed-down platter, storybook or quilt.

ADDRESS BOOKS!!! Why not revert back to the guestbook's original purpose and have your guests fill in their names, addresses and telephone numbers? It's a great way to keep in touch with those who attended your wedding by providing an opportunity for you to send "Where are they now?" update letters every few years, to send holiday cards and, of course, to just keep in touch!

However you choose to incorporate a guestbook is up to you. Yet remember, if a guestbook holds no meaning for you, there's no need to have one at all. Your guests will likely not miss it. However if a record of your guests' attendance is something that is important to you, make it count and choose something that will still be important to you at your 50th wedding anniversary.

Happy planning!



H1N1 is nothing to laugh at and at this time of uncertainty shaking hands, hugging, kissing even those closest to us can be...well...downright scary. (Think of a receiving line at a 200 person wedding!)

That said, all the talk surrounding the H1N1 epidemic lately has inspired us to come up with a super cute favour idea that just might bring a smile to your guests faces in a time of fear -- scented antibacterial hand gels!

Bath and Body Works has some wonderful antibacterial hand gels ranging in scents from floral to citrus and even holiday-inspired scents! And at just $2 each, they not only fit into tiny pockets but in the smallest of budgets as well!

This planner has stocked up on these pocket-sized treats and here are a few of our favourites: