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Leave Your Name Here: Unique Guest Books

Want to remember who attended your wedding but not in love with the idea of traditional guest books? We ask Pittsburgh-area brides about their alternatives.


Guest books are an important part of a wedding day. While guests use the books to record their names, some of them also provide the bride and groom with strong advice and words of encouragement. Still, many brides agree that traditional guest books do little more than collect dust once the wedding celebrations are over. In lieu of standard books, these Pittsburgh-area brides shared their ideas for functional and timeless guest books.



Picture-frame guest books are becoming more common. Not only are they a functional option, able to be hung on a wall and admired every day, but they also can be customized to fit the desires of the bride and groom.

For their wedding on June 19, 2015, Julia Balacko and Jeffrey Knopes decided to go with a white matte picture frame with room for everyone to sign. It “was a way to feature all of our guests' well-wishes in one place where we could display it,” says Julia. “For us, it was both a practical decision and one that allowed us to incorporate a piece of our wedding day into our decor.”



Danielle Stump and Adam Elliott wanted to avoid a traditional guest book for their wedding on April 18, 2015. Instead, they searched for “something that personified us as a couple but was also special,” says Danielle.

While searching online, she stumbled on the idea for a thumbprint tree. “One of the most special things was that my grandma was unable to attend the wedding, but she was able to put her fingerprint on the guestbook and be a part of our wedding day,” she says. “Now, we have our thumbprint tree hanging up in our living room, and we get to look at it every day.”


Stacey Martin and Patrick Brady were looking for something they could display in their house when they chose a guest book for their wedding on Aug. 15, 2015. They opted for a large letter “B” made of medium-density fiberboard, which they ordered from weddingcuts.com.

“It’s a great reminder of our wedding day,” says Stacey. “A lot of our friends have done the signed photos, so we wanted to do something that we hadn't seen before.”



Incorporating guests’ advice for the bride and groom into a guest book seemed to be the perfect option for Mandi Bridgeman and Christopher Pryor, who married on May 16, 2015. 

Rather than having a separate guest book and a box for guests to place their advice, Mandi asked guests to leave messages in a bottle. The messages were written on scraps of parchment paper and placed in a large glass jug that coincided with the wedding’s rustic theme.

“I am sure many love stories have begun with a message in a bottle,” says Mandi. “By adding the message in a bottle, my friends and family were able to give us their advice on building a great marriage, their favorite love quotes and kind words. It has been a wonderful way to look back on our day as well as glance into our future.”



As a reminder of their initial meeting in Kenya, Stephanie Szewciw and Patrick Yingling incorporated touches of Africa throughout their wedding day on June 13, 2015. Stephanie’s mother suggested using Jenga blocks for their guestbook because the word “Jenga” comes from the Swahili word “kujenga”, which means “to build.”

“I have no poetry ability, but from time to time, I create a good rhyme, so I made one up to go along with our Jenga-block guest book,” Stephanie says. “Our guests wrote really sweet, cute and creative things along with their names on the blocks. We have them stored now in a clear vase in our home.”



For this adventurous couple, a typical book wouldn’t suffice. Jenny Jacobson and Marc Brenner wanted to incorporate their love of travel and exploration into their wedding on July 11, 2015, so they left a bucket for guests to add to Jenny and Marc’s bucket list.

“There’s everything from a large scribble from our 3-year-old flower girl to a note to ‘take Mom and Dad to Tahiti’ from my new father-in-law,” says Jenny. “And, for our first month of marriage we agreed to complete one from the best man — we went skydiving. As we complete them, we write dates on the back and store them together.”


Don't forget to register for the Pittsburgh Magazine Weddings Launch Party set for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4 at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, Downtown. The event, which is free to attend, will feature live entertainment, drinks, food and more — as well as your first opportunity to see our Spring Weddings Issue!


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