I was recently shopping around for a guest book for a couple’s anniversary party. As I strolled around the shops for guest books, I managed to find only two options available. In one aisle the guest books were covered in glitter and hearts. Inside the books there were themed pages with notes where guests could offer advice to the happy couple. Lifting one of the fluffy books off the shelf, I quickly realized that this was not the book for the couple I was shopping for. On to the next aisle, I found some books without any hearts or glitter. They looked like the guest books you would sign after your stay at a hotel. Was there no in between? A book that was completely over the top or a book simply filled with lines on each and every page? Holding both books in my hand I turned from discouraged to inspired and decided that I was going to create a custom-made guest book for the couple I so much admired. The book would be a reflection of their love and their memories that they’ve made together over the years.
Step One – Create Your Design
I did not want to use glitter of any kind for this guest book. I just knew that it was not their style. So I found a leather bound book to use for the keepsake.
For the theme of the guest book itself, I wanted the book to be able to reflect their memories together. The couple grew up in the sixties and I thought it would be a nice idea to create some sort of display of their memories through the years (I’ll get to that later). For the book however, I decided to use a DIY design that I found on Project Wedding.
Step Two – Gather Supplies
- Leather or fabric bound notebook / sketch book with blank pages
- Cardstock and matching envelopes (blank)
- Craft Paint
- Stencils with letters (I found one with the full alphabet and a couple of designs as well)
- Sharpies or Pens (For guests to sign the book)
- Twine or thread
- Glue stick
- Glue gun
- Fine paint brush
For the colors of the book I went with dark red. It was the couple’s fortieth anniversary and the formal gift is ruby. For the book, I bought a dark brown leather book and an assortment of grey and brown cardstock.
Step Three – Glue Envelopes
Using a combination of a glue stick and glue gun, I glued about 60 envelopes into the book which actually took up most of the pages. I only used two envelopes per page and different colored envelopes on alternating pages.
Step Four – Inspire Memories
While the envelopes were drying, I started on the cards for the envelopes. The cards were white, grey and dark grey. One thing I would suggest is make sure that the card stock is matte. Some of the cards I had purchased had a shine on them and it made it difficult for guests to write their messages to the happy couple. Instead of guests writing best wishes and old sayings, I thought it would be nice for guests to write favorite memories they’ve shared with the couple over the years.
The memories I wrote were specific to the couple and it felt much more personable than a standard guest book at the store filled with generic sayings. I stored the stacks of cards in Ziploc bags until the party to keep the cards flat and preserved.
Step Five – The Cover
For the cover of the book, I again wanted the decor to reflect the couple. Using the stencils, I painted only the first initials of their names with an ampersand. Underneath the letters, I wrote a small saying noting the years they’ve spent together.
As a finishing touch, I added some red twine to wrap the cover of the guest book to resemble a package in the mail as the book would be filled with envelopes of their memories from their closest friends and relatives.
Step Six – Display
For the party itself, I requested that a small table be set up to display the book. Laying the book out flat, I set up all of the cards into different piles. While I don’t have a final display from the event itself, the picture below is a sample of how it looked. As an added display, I took some time perusing different thrift stores and dollar stores to find some items that reflected the couple’s memories together. I wanted the display to show that they were a couple of the baby-boomer generation and that they’ve shared so many times together over the years. Here’s what I found:
- Mini Coca-Cola Bottle
- Record (I painted ‘Abbey Road’ on it with the stencils I bought! It was their favorite album in the sixties)
- A tiny lantern to reflect all their years of camping
- Seashell for all their vacations to the seashore
Anyways you get the picture! While the guest book was not perfect, I was happy with the fact that the keepsake was a true reflection of their lives together – complete with memories and love.