Guest Books for When You Don’t Want a Guest Book

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Traditional Guest Books

Guest books are traditionally part of every wedding. But through your planning, you may wonder if you really need one.

Decades ago, a wedding guest book was necessary for couples to keep track of every guest in attendance, while also giving guests the opportunity to leave a thoughtful and congratulatory message for the happy couple. Today, this tradition is no longer critical, and you may find that many guests forget to take the time to leave a note for you (or perhaps they skip it intentionally). However, despite the debate around its modern functionality, many couples still choose to have a guest book at the wedding reception.

What’s the Purpose of a Guest Book?

A traditional wedding guest book is not much more than a sizable journal-type book with blank or lined guest book pages. Its purpose is simple: to give guests a chance to offer their warm wishes, congratulations, and advice for the happy couple as they celebrate with you. Many couples believe it to be a precious keepsake that they can look back on for years to come. However, it is becoming increasingly common for a couple to opt not to have a guest book or to have a non-traditional wedding guest book alternative.

Why You’d Want A Guest Book

Perhaps the best reason to have a guest book at your wedding is the sentimental value it provides. This is where your grandparents and parents can write sweet messages with advice for you as a couple, where a friend from college can reminisce about the funny encounters you may have had on your way to find each other, and where your siblings can recall memories about the first time you spoke of your partner.

Second, and far less sentimental, you may choose to have a wedding guest book, because some of your guests will expect you to have one. This is especially true if you have any older relatives in attendance who are accustomed to this tradition. Many guests may also use a guest book as an alternative to sending or bringing a card for the couple.

Finally, your guest book can offer yet another detail to show off your creativity and personality. An increasingly popular idea for modern couples is to think beyond the traditional guest book of blank pages bound together.

(For more on Guest Books visit

Non-Traditional Guest Book Options from Smiling Dog Entertainment

While today’s couples seem to be moving away from the traditional Guest Book, we believe that there is still interest and value in unique ways to capture the memories of who joined you to celebrate your special day and we have a few fun options for doing so.

Retro Audio Guest Book

As mentioned above, one of the best reasons to have a guest book at your wedding is the sentimental value it provides. Being able, at any point in time, to look back on the messages left you by your family and friends can be a truly heartwarming experience.

Now imagine, instead of reading their messages, being able to hear the voices of those same family and friends sharing their wishes with you. With an audio message you also hear and feel the emotion and passion of the person delivering the message.

How impactful would it be to listen to the wedding day message of a friend or family member who has passed away? Wouldn’t that be an amazing gift!

A Retro Audio Guest Book from Smiling Dog Entertainment can deliver the emotion and thoughtfulness of your guest’s wedding day messages to you in an easy to play format within 48 hours, and usually sooner, of your reception.

Recording a message is simple for your guests, simply pick up the handset, listen to the pre-recorded message, and then record your message. Our system does the rest – capturing and compiling all the messages. And we are currently testing a system that will allow those invited guests who were unable to attend your wedding to call in to a pre-determined phone number and leave you a message.

With a number of vintage and retro phone styles it certain we have a phone that will fit seamlessly into your wedding décor theme.

Our Retro Audio Guest Books include all of the equipment necessary to record and save your guest’s messages. You can use your own Guest Book table and décor or we can work with you to add a custom guest book table to your order.

Our Retro Audio Guest Book packages start at just $299.00 with a $50 discount for any Retro Audio Guest Book added to certain Smiling Dog Entertainment Photo Booth Package rentals.

Email us at or call us at 515-446-9054 for more information on our Retro Audio Guest Book options.

Photo Booth Guest Book

“This photo booth vendor was a great addition to my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding reception! They had a great selection of props and such a smooth seamless process. The memory album served as a much better guest book than any signature book would have!”

Sharon H. Mother of the Groom

Use the Memory Album included in your chosen wedding photo booth package or add one to it for an engaging Guest Book experience for your guests and a lifetime of fun and colorful memories for you.

Our Memory Album guest books include a printed copy of the photo strip from every group that visits the photo booth during your reception. Wedding photographers capture many amazing photos from your special day, but none match the fun, smiles, laughter, and love generated by guests decked out in fun and colorful props highlighting their unique personalities.

In addition to placing a copy of each printed photo strip in the album we leave room on the page for those in the photo to leave handwritten, heartfelt notes on the page next to their photos.

When couples choose to use the Memory Album as their guest book we coordinate with the DJ to encourage guests, throughout the night, to visit the photo booth as it is serving as the Guest Book for the newlyweds.

The Memory Album/Guest Book is presented to the couple at the conclusion of the photo booth rental and

“we had an absolute blast looking through the photo album of all the pictures + notes from our guests.”Rachel

“…worked throughout the event to make sure a copy of each strip was put in a special book for us that guests could sign and then handed us the very nice, full-sized leather book THAT NIGHT!!”Brittney

“As we look back thru the album they created from the booth for us, we are reminded of the wonderful day spent with our friends and families.”Marissa

“…we even got a book with all the pictures at the end of the night which was so fun to look through the next day!”Steph

Our most popular wedding experience photo booth package, the Sophisticated Wedding Experience includes a Memory Album, get all the details on that package as well as our other exceptional wedding experience photo booth packages at

“Polaroid” Photo Guest Book.

Recently one of the brides, who had already hired us to provide an exceptional photo booth experience for her reception, contacted us with to see if we could help provide a solution to an unexpected situation with her reception.

She had asked a friend of hers to take Polaroid pictures of all the guests as they came into the reception venue for placement into their guest book. Guests would then leave a short note on the page next to their photo.

Unfortunately, the friend who was going to take the Polaroid pictures was no longer available to do so and she did not have any available to take their place.

She wanted to know if we could do something with the photo booth to take the place of the Polaroid photos for the guest book.

We came up with a great solution: we arrived with the photo booth a couple hours earlier than planned so we had plenty of time to be setup and ready as guests arrived at the venue. The photo booth was placed in the hallway guests had to walk down to get the main reception area, and just past the guest book table. The bride, placed a sign on the guest book table directing people to the photo booth to have their picture taken.

When guests came to the photo booth we took a single group photo (family, couples, parents, grandparents, etc.) and printed it out on in a 3.5” x 3.5” square template that fit perfectly into the photo space on her guest book pages. We gave the photo to the guests and directed them to place it in the guest book.

The template we used for the guest book photos was simple, yet elegant and provided a perfect visual record of everyone who attended their wedding.

Later, after dinner we opened the “regular” photo booth up to guests so they could don the fun and colorful props and have photos taken with friends, in specific groups (i.e. bridesmaids and groomsmen), and others.

It took a little bit of extra time and effort on our end to deliver the solution, but the bride LOVED the way it worked out and we loved the square prints that we created for her guest book.

The Polaroid Photo Guest Book can be booked as a standalone experience or an addition to one of our exceptional wedding photo booth experiences.

To learn more about the “Polaroid” Photo Guest Book experience email us at or call us at 515-446-9054.

(More information on the Polaroid Photo Guest Book will be available on our website soon.)

Which Guest Book Experience Do You Want for Your Reception?

Are you interested in hearing the messages and emotions in the voices of your guests as they share their thoughts for you on your special day?

Or are you more interested in having a visual record of who joined you in celebration?

Based on our experiences you can’t go wrong either way, but we’re particularly fond of the opportunity to capture the voices of those who are at our celebrations to be able to listen back on for years to come. As mentioned above, an audio guest book provides a unique opportunity to connect with loved ones, even after they’ve left us, for a special memory.

Contact us at or 515-446-9054 to discuss which Guest Book experience you’d like for your reception.