- 8 years ago
- Wedding: June 2009
We started working on our guest books almost as soon as we got engaged. We both agreed that we didn’t want to collect people’s signatures, we wanted them to be able to write a small message if they wished and we wanted it to be personal.
We decided to create a Bride Side and Groom Side scrapbook filled with everyone’s picture that was coming to our wedding, we even put those who couldn’t make it so we could take the book out at a later date when we saw them and let them sign it. For example, two of our very good friends were due with twins the day we married, clearly they couldn’t come, but they loved being included in our book and getting to sign it later.
The first picture is from the wedding – you can see how we assembled the pages to the book so people could sign, the next two pictures are after the wedding, with the pictures in the sheathing. The last pic is how we did our table of contents.
Materials: 2 12×12 scrap books, an assortment of 12×12 stock paper (number depends on how many guests you’ve invited, scrapping materials (glue dots, variety of colorful papers that you can cut into shapes, small white binder clasps and/or strong white paper clips (Stapes has shaped clips, you can actually buy hearts!), photo paper and good photo printer (or you could just do printing at Wal-mart), colorful pens
Step 1: Go to a craft store and pick up 2 scrap books in your wedding colors. I bought a green and a yellow one. 12 x 12 worked very nicely, as it can fit 3-4 pictures well, but also looks nice with just 2. Then pick out 12 x 12 stock paper in your color theme to fill the pages. You need two pieces of stock paper for each sheath. I picked a few shades of green, yellow and white. While you are there pick up some good, fairly dark colorful pens for people to sign the book, make sure the shades are darker then the stock paper you expect people to write on, also pick up small white binder clips and/or strong white paper clips (I found the paper clips couldn’t do it on their own, which is why I resorted to binder clips.)
Depending on how large your wedding is, you may need to pick up extra plastic sheathing, depending on how many pages come in one book and how many pictures you will put on each page. We had 200 people ( so really 100 because most pictures were displayed by couple). Two regular scrapbooks worked perfect, we even had a little room to spare.
Step 2: Start gathering pictures of all the people you invited, family and friends. Be creative. If you can, find pictures that either you or your partner are in with the guest – these are very fun! If that’s not possible go for funny pictures, or even old high school or baby pictures (if it’s an old friend.) Be careful, make sure the picture flatters the guest or at least make sure it’s something they would really enjoy seeing. You don’t want anyone embarrassed by a photo you choose. If you have the hard copy, that’s great, but make a copy – don’t use the original. If you can’t find a picture, a great resource is Facebook – you can right click on any picture that someone has posted, paste it to a Word doc or save it as a .jpg and print it from your computer. You can also ask family for pics of other people. You can even ask the person you are inviting if you are really stuck. Just let them know you are trying to gather a picture of every guest you invited as a keepsake. They will happily provide you with something.
Make sure you crop/shrink the pictures so that they fit nicely in the book with a few others on the page, I found 2×3 or 3×3 to be a good size. Sometimes I just cropped them to show the face of the person. You can do this in Picasa (a free photoshop tool from Google), you can even do this with the cropping tool in Word.
Once we gathered a full page of pictures, we’d print an 8×11 photo sheet of them on our printer – we’d squeeze as many as we could on one sheet to save printing fluid costs.
Step 3: Another thing you should be working on as you go are your scrapping materials, different shapes and colors to display with the pictures to pretty it up. Depending on your budget you might just be able to pick this stuff up at a craft store already cut. I unfortunately could not afford that and put friends and family to work cutting hearts and flowers and different shapes out of different colors of paper every time they came over.
Step 4: Assembly. You need to display the stock paper on the outside of the sheathing so that people can sign the paper. Use the binders and paper clips to secure the stock paper to the outside of each sheath, we put one on each side of it, that helped keep it sturdy. When all is said and done you’ll remove the binders and paper clips (pass them on to another bride-to-be on weddinbee.com [which I just did this week] and you’ll stick the finished signed pages into the sheathing).
Step 5: Figure out how you want to group the pictures – we did ours by how well we knew the people – family first, then wedding party, then guests (grouped by how we knew them: college friends, work friends, etc.) It didn’t work out perfectly but it didn’t matter because we had a table of contents on the front of each book. We put 3 picutres on most pages, towards the end we put 2 to use up more space in the book. Decorate each page with scrapping materials, we matched the pages that shared a view, but we did not match all the scrapping in the book, every two pages that shared a view was slightly different colors and shapes. Make sure you number each page in whatever way works for you – we scrapped the page numbering too with colorful backgrounds. You could handwrite them as well.
Step 6: Once it is all assembled create a reference or table of contents for the front of the book so people can easily find their page without looking at the whole book. The best way to do this is alphabetical order by the first name of the invited guest. Doing a bride book and a groom book helps keep it organized as well and makes it a little simpler for people to find themselves.
Step 7: Don’t worry about guests of people who you don’t know – you’ll have a blank page or two in the back that they can sign if they want to. We didn’t worry about late repliers or people who changed their mind last minute because we put EVERYONE we invited in the book, regardless of if they came or not. That way we didn’t have to wait for yes and no’s to roll in and like I said, you can have people who couldn’t make it sign it later. They’ll love that you thought of them in that way!
Step 8: We layed the books out with all the colorful pens on a “Guest Table” and we use a chalkboard on a small easel to share a brief set of directions on what exactly guests were suppose to do. I think it said “Please choose a pen, find your picture and sign our guest books with a short message or friendly piece of advice for married bliss.” We put our table of contents on the front, if I did it again, I’d probably find two small nice frames and stand them up on the guest table – groom and bride, that way people didn’t have to shut the book to see the list. The book looks way cuter open!
Step 9: This is going to be a VERY popular table and not all guests will get to it during cocktail hour. We had our staff bring the table into the main wedding tent (we got married outside) so that people could also sign it during the main reception. Out DJ announced this at cocktail hour so people didn’t feel like they had to stand in line to sign the book!
Step 10: Sit on the couch a few weeks after the wedding and enjoy reading all the wonderful messages with your husband!