Wedding guest books are an age-old tradition for brides and grooms who want to remember those who helped them celebrate their special day. With a traditional wedding guest book, attendees at the wedding sign their names, possibly jot down well-wishes or advice, and the couple takes the book home at the end of the day…often, never to look at it again.

But times have changed. Traditional wedding guest books are simply not cutting it anymore. As modern couples seek to create unique experiences for their guests, the “guest book” is one of many opportunities to surprise and delight.

Read on for some unique, alternative wedding guest book ideas that can not only embody the theme of your wedding, but also create a keepsake to reflect on your big day for years to come.


painting of the Lightner Museum used as guestbook

Meredith and Jerry used a framed photo of the Lightner Museum for their wedding guest book. | Photo: Bow Tie Photography


Wedding Guest Book Art

What if your wedding guest book was also a piece of art?

A photo, painting, or illustration of your wedding venue could be the perfect focal point, with guests signing the mat that goes around the outside. You could also print and frame your favorite engagement photo for guests to sign. Something as simple as a wooden sign to hang on your wall could be a unique piece to add to your home décor, especially if it contains well wishes from your wedding guests.

Better yet, allow your guests to show their creative side to create a unique piece of art to add to your home. Helena and David asked guests to “leave a mark” by painting on a piece of glass with one of their wedding colors. We loved this interactive and fun take on this wedding guest book trend!


Paint and sign for wedding guest book

Helena and David’s interactive art guest book | Photo: Meagan Gaines Photography


Audio or Video Guest Book

One of our favorite alternative guest book trends is the audio guest book. With services like After the Tone, couples can rent a retro phone and guests leave voice messages. You will not only have a sweet message from your guests, but you’ll also be able to have their voices saved for posterity!


wedding signage for audio guest book from After the Tone

At Bri and Dane’s wedding, guests recorded messages on a vintage phone from After the Tone | Photo: We Are the Bowsers


Another take on this trend is to rent an entire phone booth! (Think of the fun telephone booths you would see in the UK.) Not only is this a fun experience for guests, but it makes for amazing photos!

Voast (think video-toast) also offers a fun video alternative to the audio guestbook. With this video camera, you can add fun questions for your guests to answer, and the screen will record their responses. Voast will even edit the clips together into something amazing for you to watch after the wedding.



Games & Toys

Games are a great way to add a fun and entertaining component to your wedding guest book.

Whether you want to use the wooden blocks of a Jenga set or the back of a board game, guests will have plenty of space to leave their names and thoughts for you to read for years to come.  We’ve even seen cornhole boards and beer-pong tables used as guest books for those who like to play these more “adult” games!

Puzzle pieces are another great option. You can even turn one of your engagement photos into a giant puzzle, making a display piece after the big day! Each time you bring out the game or see the puzzle on your wall, you’ll be reminded of your special day.



Add a touch of nostalgia to your wedding guest book by using Legos! Guests create their likeness out of Lego Minifigures and write their names on the front. The figures are then attached to a backing that can be displayed in your home after the wedding.



Thumbprint Tree

A thumbprint tree is a unique way to not only capture a piece of your guests, but a really fun way to display your wedding guest book.

Choose ink colors that match your wedding color palette, and be sure to have a quick hand-washing station nearby. Guests can write down their well-wishes near their thumbprint and maybe even add a cute drawing to the print.


Message In (or On) a Bottle

What better way to celebrate your anniversary than to read messages from your guests that help you to relive the biggest day of your life?

You can get creative with the type of “bottle” and use anything from a beautiful vase to a miniature whiskey barrel. Guests can leave notes, advice, recipes, or anything they want for you to open at a later date.

After it’s opened, the fun doesn’t stop there. Make it a tradition on each anniversary to read the messages. Or, agree to only open one or two notes for each anniversary. That way each year brings a new treasure to open.


Wedding guest book asking guests to come up with date night ideas

Megan and Sean had guests write well wishes and date night ideas for their time capsule guest book. | Photo: Walls of Jerico


Instead of writing messages to go inside a bottle, you can also have guests write their names or messages on the bottles themselves. Choose your favorite type of wine or liquor, and make a plan to open them for special events or on your anniversaries!


wine bottles with wedding guest signatures on the label

Alicia and Stephen asked their guests to sign wine bottles, which they plan to open on special occasions in the future. | Photo: Sunny Lee Photo


Wedding Polaroid Scrapbook

If you choose to rent a photo booth for your wedding or provide Polaroid cameras, create a fun scrapbook and supplies so that guests can leave you photos and messages during your event.

We recommend placing this in a highly visible area, like your cocktail hour space. Have a person (or people) in charge of taking pictures of guests. They can help encourage guests to get in front of the camera and double-check that everyone’s photo is captured!


wedding guest book with Polaroid photos

May and Matt captured fun Polaroid photos of their guests in their guest book | Photo: Bow Tie Photography


Vinyl Records

If you’re a music lover, a vinyl record guest book might be the perfect alternative to a traditional sign-in table.

This guest book is easy to DIY. You can find vintage records at a thrift store, clean and spray them with acrylic coating, and customize them with your names or monogram. Ask guests to sign their “autograph” on the records, and get ready to have the cutest display piece for your home!


vinyl record as wedding guest book

Chelsey and Drew’s vinyl record guest book was hit with guests | Photo: We Are the Bowsers


Travel-Themed Guest Books

For our travel-obsessed couples, a postcard guest book could be the perfect option! Collect postcards from your favorite destinations, or create custom postcards with your engagement photos or fun facts about your relationship. Have guests write well wishes on the back and place them in a customized mailbox for you to open after the big day.



Another fun travel-themed guest book idea is to use a globe of the world. You can add fun sayings like “Let the Adventure Begin” or “Love Makes the World Go Round,” and guests can add their names or messages.




If you have a home or plan on buying a house soon, consider a wooden bench as an alternative wedding guest book.

Imagine a bench, with all of your guests’ words of wisdom, care, and advice, on display surrounded by flowers from your garden. Or a wooden rocking chair in your new baby’s nursery when (or if) that time comes.

It’s a timeless treasure that can be handed down for generations.



Sports-Themed Guest Books

Did you and your fiancé bond over your love of sports or outdoor activities? Your guest book could be the perfect way to incorporate this into your wedding day.

Basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, and more make the perfect pieces to display in your home with the “autographs” of all of your guests.

A surfboard is a creative, fun way to incorporate the Florida beach ambiance on your wedding day. It’s large enough that guests can write their names, well-wishes, and other messages with ease. It’s a perfect guest book for surfers and beach lovers!


wooden decorative surfboard covered in signatures

A surfboard could be the perfect guest book for a couple who loves to ride the waves together.


Heirloom Quilt

Whether great-aunt Peggy is making a quilt for you or you buy it on Etsy or at the local craft fair, a quilt is a unique way to have your guests leave their thoughts. Make sure to use special fabric pens that will be permanent on the squares, so you can wash the quilt without losing those special messages!



Unique Wedding Guest Books

If you’re thinking, “But I still really want a book as a keepsake,” don’t worry, we’ve got you! You can still have your cake and eat it too! There are modern alternatives to the traditional sign-in book that can add a unique touch to your wedding day.

Consider using your favorite book and having guests sign in the margins or inside the cover. The sky’s the limit when it comes to book choices. If you are religious, consider a Bible, or if you plan to have children, a fairy tale or children’s book might be a nice choice. You’ll be reminded of your beautiful wedding day when you read the story to them.

Sites like Artifact Uprising and Mpix also offer beautiful photo books that make the perfect coffee table book after the wedding. You can add your engagement photos within the pages, along with blank pages where guests can write their messages. Just make sure to test the pens you are using in these books, as we’ve heard that certain markers can smudge and ruin the beautiful messages!



Make Memories That Will Last

Traditional wedding guest books haven’t completely faded away, but there’s no reason you can’t add your own unique touch to this wedding tradition. Choosing a unique wedding guest book alternative is not only fun for your guests, but it creates a lifetime of memories for you.

Having something that stands out will make it impossible for people to pass by your guest book on your wedding day. If you choose something you love, it’s also less likely that it will end up collecting dust on a bookshelf, never to be looked at again.

At the Lightner Museum, we love sharing tips and inspiration for your big day. Make sure to follow us on Instagram and TikTok for more unique ideas!

Are you still on the hunt for your dream wedding venue? Reach out to our team for more details about hosting the perfect St. Augustine wedding!