The Ultimate Wedding Guest Book Checklist

“Heather, I’m a busy bride and I don’t even have time to think about the wedding guest book or table!” No problem. Here’s my Ultimate Wedding Guest Book Checklist. Quick. Simple. Easy.

A guest book table does not necessarily require hundreds of hours to plan out. It can be done quite simply, actually. Here are my top suggestions to achieving an easy peasy guest book table:

  • Unique Guest Book: Choose a book that is interesting, that represents the two of you as a couple; one that piques interest.
  • Guest Book Station Attendant: An easy way to encourage more people to sign is to have someone (or more) volunteering to work at the table. Who can say ‘no’ to that cute niece?
  • Great Location: Put the guest book table in a location where everyone can see it or has to walk by it. If people can see it, they are going to be more inclined to sign it!
  • Clear Instructions: Tell your guests what they need to do. In simple language. If there are 6 steps to signing a guest book, how likely is anyone going to be to do it? Keep it simple…
  • Lead by Example: ‘Show’ your guests how/what to do at the station. If you are having guests fingerprint papers, have some already completed! If you are having guests take pictures of themselves, have some on display, as finished examples to follow!
  • Guest Book Table: Choose a table that has plenty of room. If you have a wedding with 300 guests, don’t make a guest table that only allows one guest to write at a time! If there is plenty of room to write and it is comfortable, they are going to be more inclined to take it seriously!
    • Linens/Tablecloth: Cover the table using linens that coordinate with your overall theme/aesthetic.
    • Old Pictures/Engagement Photos: Use pictures of your parents, grandparents on their wedding day; make use of that engagement photo session you had (way back) and display some of those pictures.
    • Include a jar/vase of your wedding flowers on the table.
    • Signage: Create signage that tells your guests what the space is for!
    • Pens disappear! Stock the space with plenty of pens! {archival are the best}
    • Chair(s): If you are asking guests to write long notes of remembrance, then provide comfortable chairs! Who wants to write out several paragraphs of memories while bending over a table? Make it as comfortable as can be for your guests…
    • Lighting: Don’t make your guests write in the dark! Include candles or even put some old lamps on the table (or ones that fit with your wedding aesthetic)! It’s a great way to lighten traditionally dark spaces (especially if you are in a dark reception hall).
    • Plenty of Supplies: If you are using a non-traditional guest book, be sure to have plenty of supplies on hand so that you don’t run out!

Happy planning!

Calligraphed Epistle Ultimate Wedding Guest Book Checklist




Your Wedding Guest Book Table Perfectly Styled in 5 Simple Steps

5 steps to the perfect wedding guest book table graphic

Are you hung up on the logistics of setting up a guest book table? If so, this is the post for you. In making just a handful of simple, yet strategic decisions, you will have a guest book station that people will WANT to visit!

5 steps to a simple wedding guest book table set up:

  1. Get Help! Some suggest having one of your attendants *work* the station. I disagree. Find a teenager–someone who would love to have the responsibility! Having a ‘manned’ guest book table will increase the visibility and likelihood your guests will sign your book.
  2. Location! Don’t hide the table. Put it somewhere obvious, in the natural traffic pattern of the reception. If people see it, they will be a lot more likely to sign it!
  3. Lighting + Space! If you want your guests to write thoughtful notes to you, be sure to make it comfortable by providing enough physical space. If you are using a small table and load it up with a bunch of wedding decor and flower arrangement, it will feel cluttered and will encourage a quick visit to the table. If you provide a chair, however, and a space for guests to really sit and reflect, chances are you will have deeper sentiments conveyed. Also think about lighting…if your reception hall is dark, how can you expect guests to even see to write? Consider placing the table in a well lit area or even add a lamp (on trend with your wedding theme). A well-lit and roomy guest book table will increase the likelihood of your guests not only visiting your station but also writing meaningful notes to you.
  4. Plenty of Pens! This seems obvious, right? Well, it isn’t. Think about how many times people walk off with pens! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been at a wedding and there has only been one pen. At one table there was a line to sign rustic tags because there was only one pen–but enough room for 3 or 4 people to be using the space at one time. Another wedding there was actually no pen–I had to come back to my table and borrow one (because I didn’t carry my regular purse). Even if it seems ridiculous, supply the station with extras to alleviate any potential crisis with your guest book station!
  5. Keep It Simple Stupid! Just Say No to Micro-Managing! Are you familiar with the Einstein quote, “If you can’t explain it to a 6 year old, you don’t understand it yourself?” Just think about that for a minute… If you plan a guest book table with multiple moving parts and complex instructions, how likely are your guests to engage? Just remember: simple set up + simple directions = better results! Don’t overthink the guest book table.

If your goal is to try and get as many people to write you a meaningful sentiment on your wedding day, do everything you can to make them at ease with the process. A simple space, with enough room and lighting, well stocked with all of the accessories needed, will encourage your guests to share thoughts and memories–something you will delight in reminiscing over for decades to come!

10 Things to Include at your Wedding Guest Book Table Station

Don’t have time to think about the details of your guest book table? Fear not…here is the Calligraphed Epistle’s 10 Items to Include at Your Wedding Guest Book Station list!

  1. Archival Pens – Micron are my favorite!
  2. Signage – Give your guests simple instructions.
  3. Lighting – Use a lamp or candles to light up the table.
  4. Space – Plenty of room to compose notes.
  5. Flowers – Decorate the space with a simple jar/vase of your wedding flowers.
  6. Pictures – Make the space personable. Include old pictures.
  7. Inviting – Include a chair or two…create a table that is welcoming and interesting!
  8. Linens – Use an old vintage linen to decorate the table.
  9. Interesting Guest Book – Be creative. Choose a meaningful book or alternative.
  10. Extra Supplies – Have extras on hand in case those pens run off!

10 things to include at your guest book table








How to get your Wedding Guests to Sign the Guest Book!

There are always going to be guests who ‘just aren’t that into you’…get over it. But, these 6 tips will {at least} help you get a lot more people to sign your wedding guest book! Here’s how to make that happen.


Don’t hide the guest book table in the obligatory dark corner. This seems obvious right? But, it isn’t… {You’d be surprised that most couples think that everyone is so thrilled to be at their wedding that they will flock to their guest book…no matter where it is. Well. Not so much.} Here’s what to do. Put it in a place that is obvious, that is well lit and is near a traffic pattern that makes sense. {Don’t put it in the middle of the buffet table…or dance floor.} The bottom line: if the guests can at least *see* the guest book table, you’ve won half the battle!


Are you having a separate table at your reception for ‘cards’ or ‘gifts’? If so, think about combining them *or* {at least} putting them in close proximity. Doing so, encourages ‘participation’ in each of these steps… If someone makes the ‘trek’ to place a gift on the table, and the guest book table is *right* there, chances are that they will take a minute or two to also sign your book!


Make the guest book interesting. If you plop down a $1.00 signature book from the dollar store on a table and expect each of your guests to be running like the bulls of Spain to sign it, you are fooling yourself. It’s an afterthought… If you are going through the motions with this and you don’t care, why should your guests care? If you want your guests to sign your book, MAKE IT INTERESTING. Pique their interest! Curiosity may have killed the cat but it will make your guests far more eager and interested in the process! Interest=Signage. Period.


Find that *perfect* person to work the station. Maybe you have a perky Aunt Jane…you know the type, very personable, outgoing and knows *everyone*. Or, maybe you have a teenage niece who’s bringing a ‘friend’? Let them man the station…solicit signatures and the like. They can be rewarded with a special gift and/or acknowledgement at the end of the night! Regardless of who would be the perfect ‘attendant’ for your station, having someone who is bubbly, vibrant, always smiling and endearing will go a long way to increasing your signature rate!


The formal announcement. Yep. Don’t shy away from this…especially if made during reception ‘down times’. It’s the perfect time for guests to do their ‘chores’. There’s no food, no dancing yet…make an announcement and help your guests during the wait times. Give them a little reminder of things they can do! Happy guests=Happy reception.


When all else fails {and if you happen to be competing for some Guinness World Record Guest Book Signature Rate Title}, bribery is {absolutely} the answer! If your guest signs the book, they get *their* wedding party favor. Period. End of story. {But the wedding favor had better be good…and I mean…exceptional.}


So there you have it. 6 ways to increase your guest book signage. {relatively painless, really…}

  1. Location! Location! Location!
  2. Location addendum.
  3. Pique their interest.
  4. An awesome attendant.
  5. Announcement.
  6. Bribery.

Happy planning!