When it comes to planning an event, there are a lot of little details that come together to make it as special and memorable as possible.
Bringing all of the moving parts together into one cohesive event isn’t always easy, but when you do pull it off, your event can be something truly magical. Something you might not have thought about that can help make your event stand out from others is a themed guest book. Letting all of your guests sign in and leave their personal mark on such a book creates a cherished keepsake that you’ll love for years to come.
On the other hand, having a more generic guest book at your event can seem a bit out of place. You have all of these other personalized elements that you’ve synchronized with each other, but then there’s a cookie-cutter guest book that people sign and forget. If you want to make an impact, try matching the guest book to your event theme so that it becomes a part of the event itself. There’s no better way to do this than with a photo guest book that captures the theme in a way most of your guests haven’t seen before.
Why a Photo Guest Book?
Right now, you might be wondering exactly why you might create a custom guest book as a photo book instead of a standard guest book.
There’s actually a good reason for this: You can better capture the theme of your event through pictures than you can through the limited design elements of a standard guest book. Think about photo yearbooks and other personal photo books that mark a specific place or time; they tend to bring memories to life and stay with you beyond the event or time period itself. On the flip side, a more standard no-photo guest book is not something widely considered to be as personal or customized of a memento. The point of having a photo guest book isn’t just to record who is at your event, but to create a personal keepsake that will help represent your event well in the future.
What Is Your Event’s Theme?
Before you get too far into starting to design a guest book for your event, you’ll want to stop and think about what the theme of your event actually is.
For some events, this thought process is easy because you actually do have a formal theme already created. For other events, it’s a bit trickier; the theme is inherently tied to the type of event (such as a wedding), but as far as thematic planning goes it may have stopped with picking the colors that people will wear. There isn’t anything wrong with that… many events don’t have any sort of a formal theme.
If you don’t have a formal theme for your event, this can make the act of designing your photo guest book a little more intensive–and interesting, too. You can put a bit more thought into which photos to add and what aspects of your event to bring to the forefront. Fortunately, you can break down different aspects of your guest book theme to make the creation and customization easier.
Three Aspects of Your Photo Book
When it comes to designing a photo book to serve as a guest book for your event, there are three aspects that you should focus on: The pictures it contains, the colors you use in the book and, the text you include. Each of these aspects is a key part to the book’s theme, and that’s what you want to match up with the theme of your event.
Take a moment to consider each of these aspects in a little more depth to see just how they can work together to create a guest book for your event:
- Pictures: Obviously, your pictures will be an important part of any photo book. For this book, though, you need to make sure that you’re selecting photos that not only capture the reader’s attention but are also relevant to the event for which the book was created. The photos should not only match the theme in general content, but they should also match it in tone.
Select pictures that bring up the right types of nostalgia, evoke appropriate emotions, and maybe even make guests laugh with unexpected flashes of comedy. Put care into your picture selections since they will become a part of the event’s theme just as much as any decorations or centerpieces.
- Color: The colors that you use in your guest book should sync up with the predominant colors of your event, but there’s more to the effective use of color than just making sure that a few colors match. The colors you use will not only tie the book into the event’s theme colors, they will also serve as accents to the pictures you select.
This means you have to make sure that they aren’t going to clash, or if they do then it’s at a point that’s appropriate (to draw attention to a specific picture, for instance.)
- Text: The text that you include in your book is just as important as your photo and color choices, even though this is the aspect that’s most likely to be neglected. It’s easy to forget when designing a book like this that it isn’t just meant to be a photo book… you want it to effectively serve as a guest book as well.
Your choice of text can help in this regard, while also providing a narrative that ties the various pictures and pages together. You can use text to keep guests moving through the book, connecting them back to the event and encouraging them to sign where appropriate. Your text is what truly transforms the book from a photo book into a guest book worth signing.
All of this might sound like a lot of work for a guest book, but the end result will be very worth it. What is just a guest book today may end up being a treasured keepsake or even a coffee table book at some point in the future.
Tying the Book to Your Theme
After coming up with the perfect photos and figuring out how to design a guest book with them, you still have to tie your book into the overall theme of your event. Don’t worry, though… you’ve already done most of the work in that regard, even if you don’t realize it yet.
The selections you made regarding pictures, colors and text were all part of tying your book and your event theme together. Aspects of your event and its theme are already designed into the book, so the book itself should fit well as part of the event. Now you just need to do a little bit more to make sure that the book fits into the event instead of just sitting awkwardly by the sidelines.
Make a place for your guest book where it can have its own focus, ideally near the entrance so that it will be one of the early things that guests see. Don’t just stick it on the end of a crowded table; find a stand or podium where the guest book can be the center of attention, and, if necessary, include a sign or mention it to your guests so they’ll know that you would like them to sign. You want it to seem natural there so that your guests can be more easily drawn in once they open its cover.
Designing Your Photo Book
Now that you know how to match your guest book to your theme and make it a natural part of your event, the big challenge that remains is actually creating it.
Start looking for pictures to include early, since you may need to go through a few different revisions to make sure that you have everything just right before your event. Come up with a set of photos that you’d like to include, plus alternate shots for different pages so that you can swap out the various pictures if you find that certain pics just don’t work well with others.
Keep in mind that this is supposed to be a guest book too, so you’re going to need to leave places for your guests to sign. This could be blank pages at the back of the book, areas set aside on the various pages, or even the inside front and back cover. Part of the decision on where these spaces will go will depend on how you lay your book out, and it’s definitely something that you should keep in mind during the design process. Wherever you decide to leave space for signatures, don’t forget to include a bit of text so that your guests will know where they’re supposed to sign.
An Event to Remember
If this seems like a lot of preparation for a guest book, it won’t seem that way after your event has come and gone.
By that point, you’ll have a book full of signatures and notes from family and friends, giving you something to look back through fondly to help you remember the event and everyone who attended. You may find that some of your guests made notes around the pictures, sharing a joke or calling up old memories. As more people sign the book during the event, it will take on something of a life of its own that will be fun to explore later. The book that you make to serve as a guest book might end up becoming a major keepsake that you turn to time and again.
There’s also a chance that others will want a copy of the book as well, both as a way to remember the event and to be able to look back on the various memories you evoked with your pictures. You might even find yourself having to order multiple copies because your seemingly simple guest book ended up being the life of the party. When was the last time you saw a guest book that was so in-demand people wanted their own personal copy?