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DIY Weddings

Guest book alternative- suggestions/advice

I really like the idea of an alternative guest book that I can hang on a wall after the wedding, and I want to try to DIY. I'm reasonably crafty and I feel like this is definitely a DIY I can handle- I just really don't know where to start here. Problem is when I google/pinterest ideas all I find are etsy shops, and I'm really looking for some instructions or tips. I am torn between a fingerprint guest book (maybe a tree) vs. something that guests just sign (maybe a wood sign with our names or a wood letter for our last initial, or one of those mats with our picture in the middle). I have plenty of time for some trial and error but figured I would ask here first.

Has anyone done this successfully or seen it done successfully? I did attend a wedding recently where they had a fingerprint tree. I loved the idea, but they had about half the number of guests, and I was one of the first to sign and didn't think to go back at the end and see how the final product came out.

We're expecting to be around 240-250 guests- how big do you think I would need it to be?

If I do a fingerprint guest book, should I go with paper or will canvas work? (I feel like canvas would look nicer but might be more difficult to sign?) Also, if I'm drawing a tree or some other "base," would you recommend paint or ink? (I'm thinking ink since the fingerprints would be ink?)

If I go with some sort of wooden sign for just signatures- any thoughts on a good size? I've seen letters (we would be using a P) that are about 18" by 12". Do you think that would be big enough for the number of guests we're having?

Any other tips and tricks?

Sorry for all the really specific questions- hoping someone here will have some answers or be able to point me in the right direction! TIA!

Re: Guest book alternative- suggestions/advice

  • DC625 said:
    I really like the idea of an alternative guest book that I can hang on a wall after the wedding, and I want to try to DIY. I'm reasonably crafty and I feel like this is definitely a DIY I can handle- I just really don't know where to start here. Problem is when I google/pinterest ideas all I find are etsy shops, and I'm really looking for some instructions or tips. I am torn between a fingerprint guest book (maybe a tree) vs. something that guests just sign (maybe a wood sign with our names or a wood letter for our last initial, or one of those mats with our picture in the middle). I have plenty of time for some trial and error but figured I would ask here first. Has anyone done this successfully or seen it done successfully? I did attend a wedding recently where they had a fingerprint tree. I loved the idea, but they had about half the number of guests, and I was one of the first to sign and didn't think to go back at the end and see how the final product came out. We're expecting to be around 240-250 guests- how big do you think I would need it to be? If I do a fingerprint guest book, should I go with paper or will canvas work? (I feel like canvas would look nicer but might be more difficult to sign?) Also, if I'm drawing a tree or some other "base," would you recommend paint or ink? (I'm thinking ink since the fingerprints would be ink?) If I go with some sort of wooden sign for just signatures- any thoughts on a good size? I've seen letters (we would be using a P) that are about 18" by 12". Do you think that would be big enough for the number of guests we're having? Any other tips and tricks? Sorry for all the really specific questions- hoping someone here will have some answers or be able to point me in the right direction! TIA!
    My cousin did a picture frame mat and had about 70 guests at the wedding, many couples just signed as one i.e. "The Smith's" and there was still hardly any room so I'd be cautious on making sure that everyone has room to sign or write something, as I noticed some people did. 
    image
  • We did a fingerprint guestbook on canvas, and used a fine point sharpie paint pen for signatures. It worked out really well. I painted the canvas design with acrylic, and it looked fine and was super easy. Just make sure you have wet wipes/baby wipes and a trash right next to it so guests can clean their hands after.
    charlotte989875
  • I went to a wedding recently where the Bride & Groom had a huge photo frame with an open slot at the top.  Their theme had stars in it, so they had these wooden star cut-outs that guests wrote messages on and then popped them into the top of the photo frame.  The stars all stacked up inside with the messages against the glass and they now have it hanging in their house!  
    JCocco219CaitFinsOurWildKingdom
  • I tried to attach a photo but it doesn't seem to be working.  I just get this message that it's "uploading ..." but nothing happens for ages and the file isn't very big.  Sorry.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I painted a small wooden chest and had people sign it.  Then we placed the cards we got from our wedding, our table number, a favor, an extra invite and probably a few other things in it as kind of a wedding keepsake chest.  We still have it sitting on the floor of our family room.

    OurWildKingdom
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We did a Shutterfly photo book of our engagement (and other) pics.  It rests on our mantle now.  The space on the pages made it nice for our family & friends to write more than just their name (and many of them did)

    My BIL & SIL did a tree guest book that looks like this:
    image

    It's hanging on their wall in their house.  It's nice ... however as a guest, it was hard to sign in a super small leaf (it was maybe 1.5 x 1 inch).  I'd caution against the fingerprint idea because people will likely not want to get ink on their fingers and risk getting it on their clothes.
    MesmrEwe
  • I have seen the wood letter and it turned out pretty neat, they had different color pens to sign with but I never saw the finished product. I have also seen the tree and it looks like a great idea to hang in the house later!

    We are using a book about the history of the venue we are using and just asking people to sign any place in the book, that way we have a keepsake of our venue that doubles as a guest book.

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  • Second the photo book. We had 200 guests, did the photo mat and there are maybe 15 signatures. This is including my wasted brothers, who the next day was worried he wrote something obscene while blacked out(I love my brother!). He actually just took up a huge space with LOVEE,  NICKY (misspelling included) but other than that it's incredibly bare. I'm not upset about not having a guestbook, just wish I hadn't spent $20 on another "wedding thing". A photo book is nice even if you don't have signatures.

    I guess I should have assigned someone to be in charge of the guestbook picture frame.




  • In a sense, this is a "know your guests" type DIY.  The fingerprint idea may work great with some, but quite honestly, after getting all dressed up, the last thing I want to do as a guest is get fingerprinted or risk the mess of whatever medium you choose for said fingerprint getting on clothing (I'm a wiz at stain removal, but at the end of the day, there's only so much you can do for certain inks/paints unless you attend to it immediately).  However, I'd be happy to sign and let my kids sign whatever design/piece of paper/book you choose for your guest "book"...

    At the end of the day, since this is something you want to display in your home, and you aren't talking a wedding of about 50, you are going to need something decent sized.  One idea because it'd give you flexibility, is have people sign pieces of paper then decoupage them to a monogram cut-out MDO board that you can size appropriately to the space/number of signatures (since some sign larger, others smaller, you can choose multiple colors for the papers, and then cut/rip them down to a smaller size before gluing them on.  You can then have the flexibility to include your engagement & wedding pictures, if you do an announcement in your local paper, etc. 


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  • Thanks everyone for your input. I hadn't thought about people not having space to write messages with certain ideas. And yeah- with the number of guests I'm having I think a photo mat or letter would have to be huge! (Spelling out our 6-letter last name would probably give me enough space, but that kind of seems like overkill lol.) The photo book is an idea I hadn't thought of, and I could definitely display it as a coffee table book. I'll have to do some thinking about what would work best for us.

    Thanks ladies!
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I made up 8x8 cards with an open spot for a 4x6 picture.  I did some for portrait  and some for landscape photos.

    The card has a spot to sign your name and write something if you wanted.   After the wedding I found a picture of every couple/guest and put attached it to their card.    I had nearly every one sign a card.  The few I did, I just added a picture on one of my blank cards.  Those all went into an 8x8 photo book I got a Michael's.     

    I look at the book from time to time.  I loved seeing all the pictures of my guests.     

    Funny - we had 2 single guests hook up.  We didn't know until we went to her room the next morning to say good bye.  DH ended up getting a picture of him in her bed.   That is in the album.   His comments was "oops".






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    CaitFins
  • I painted a small wooden chest and had people sign it.  Then we placed the cards we got from our wedding, our table number, a favor, an extra invite and probably a few other things in it as kind of a wedding keepsake chest.  We still have it sitting on the floor of our family room.
    I love this idea. How many guests did you have/how big was the box?
  • We did the letter Initial, my uncle made it out of plastic we still have to hang it, I will take a finished photo if you want, but we had about 100 guests and it turned out wonderful, we are going to hang it in the entryway at the front of the house with a canvas from the wedding.

    image
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  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My Bff had a wedding quilt.  She had squares of fabric that people could sign with a fabric pen, and then after the wedding she assembled it and had it bound.  


    image
    MesmrEweOurWildKingdom
  • We are having a rock and roll theme so we are going to spray paint a record gold and then have it matted. Then people can sign the mat and we can hang it in the house after the wedding. I'm thinking of the gold records artists get when they sell a million records or whatever it is.
    OurWildKingdom
  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    If you want to do the photo mat/frame, maybe get a few mats made up. You can also do a set of frames photos on your wall, instead of doing just one big signed mat.  As far as space, just think about how much space it takes to write your name & message.  Most of ours wrote some type of message and I'd say average took around 3"x2" space. 

    We also did a Shutterfly book with our engagement photos, but left every other page blank.  Then we got a polaroid camera and had guests take selfies to include in our book with their message.  It turned out really nice.  But, we also had a small wedding, so we didn't need too large of a book.  My sister did a similar idea (borrowed our polaroid camera), but she had 200+ guests, so bought scrapbook pages for guests to sign & attach photos to, then she bound them all into a large scrapbook. Using loose pages left her with flexibility that people could use as much or as little as needed, which was nice.

    image 

    CaitFinsOurWildKingdom
  • My friend used cloths pins and attached a heart shaped stock to each one.  After people signed them, they hung it up on a satin ribbon with the letters LOVE in the middle and attached their clothespin to either side of the letters. It was about six feet long.   It was sweet, but you may want to figure out, depending upon size and guest count if that is long enough.
  • The one problem with something you want to hang on your wall is someone writing something inappropriate. A friend of mine had a friend of theirs draw a dot-to-dot (without the line drawn in) of a penis on theirs (fairly obvious, it was not small and anyone who looked at it would wonder what the numbered dots were and connect them).

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    nerdwife said:
    I painted a small wooden chest and had people sign it.  Then we placed the cards we got from our wedding, our table number, a favor, an extra invite and probably a few other things in it as kind of a wedding keepsake chest.  We still have it sitting on the floor of our family room.
    I love this idea. How many guests did you have/how big was the box?
    @nerdwife - we had 130 attend.  The box wasn't super huge.   Most people just signed their names plus a "Congrats!" or something similar.  I got it at Michael's I think.  Not the best picture, but this gives you an idea...

    nerdwifeCaitFins
  • primafaba15primafaba15 member
    100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited November 2015
    We ended up doing the globe idea that's been floating around -- we started dating while we were studying abroad together and so the whole wedding was kind of a travel theme. 

    Since we figured some people (like parents) might write lengthier messages, we made up some 'postcards' for folks to 'send' us if they wanted to do more than just sign the globe. It was pretty inexpensive to do (we got a cheap globe at Toys R Us and painted the base so it looked nicer) and came out very nicely. We have the globe on display in our living room (H had the idea that we'll have a 'time capsule' of the world in our wedding year to share with our kids), and I'm going to put the postcards in a little photo book. 

    I will second that you have to be aware of your audience and hope no one signs anything inappropriate...our globe was fine, but some 15 year old cousin who was really unhappy about being there wrote 'poop' on 30something postcards. Fortunately, people weren't really that into the postcards, so there were still plenty leftover. 

    OurWildKingdom
  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    The one problem with something you want to hang on your wall is someone writing something inappropriate. A friend of mine had a friend of theirs draw a dot-to-dot (without the line drawn in) of a penis on theirs (fairly obvious, it was not small and anyone who looked at it would wonder what the numbered dots were and connect them).
    That's another reason that doing something that you assemble later may be a good idea.  Then you can omit any inappropriate items from the final display.

    image 

    MesmrEwe
  • Picture...couldn't figure out how to attach: 
    CaitFinsfyrchk
  • I was thinking about making a quilt for people to sign but then recently decided to purchase an initial. Decided the quilt would be great but might be making myself more work then needed and might be harder to work in our space then needed. Love the idea of having our initial hanging in our future home for years to come.

    A family friend did this - I know there isnt a ton of names on here but they had a small wedding and depending on your numbers/theme you could make a larger size.
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    OurWildKingdom
  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    Another vote against the tree thing- I went to a wedding this weekend and found that many of the guests were confused by it. They thought it was a family tree and that they should only include a finger print if they were directly related to the bride or groom. In the end, only a few prints made it to the picture.
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    OurWildKingdom
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