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DIY Wedding Photo Ideas for the Big Day – Creative Tips on Showcasing your Engagement Photos (Wedding Guest Book)



This is the third in a series of posts on DIY wedding photo ideas and now we’ve arrived at the Big Day!

If you missed the first two posts:

Pre-Wedding Photo Ideas

Wedding Proposal Photo Book & Wedding Website

Save the Dates, Photo DIY Wedding Invitations & Engagement Photo Book

For a roadmap of the series, head to the main guide on DIY wedding photo ideas.


Wedding Photo Guest Book

As mentioned in my last post on pre-wedding photo ideas, I made three versions of photo books with my engagement photos.  The third version was my wedding guest photo book.  These photos were taken by our photographer Albert Yau of SecondPrint Productions.  I arranged our photos in layouts that left a lot of blank areas so our friends and family could write messages.  Note that if you’re using a photo book publisher that doesn’t offer custom layouts, you can easily pick a multi-photo layout and then just place a single photo. Any areas you don’t drag a photo into will print out as blank.

Wedding Guest Book Engagement Photo Book

Wedding Guest Book Photo Book Intro

As a tip, if I could change one thing, I’d find a finer point metallic pen, or use a lighter background so I could use a fine black Sharpie. I printed this book with MyPublisher, a photo book publisher. I recall that I had a choice of black, white or grey – I think I would have gone with grey so I could use a fine black Sharpie.  As far as I know, they didn’t make a silver Sharpie with as fine a point as they do in black. (To clarify, I’m talking about an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie. I couldn’t find an ultra fine point Sharpie in Silver, only a “Fine” point one.)

Wedding Guest Book Engagement Photo Book

Wedding Guest Book Engagement Photo Book

This was so much better than a regular guestbook and it encouraged our guests to write cute and fun messages to add to our memories of our big day. It was a great way to showcase our engagement photos as well.  A regular guestbook may just get put at the bottom of a closet, while a custom wedding photo guest book will at least make it to a place of honor on your bookshelf don’t you think?

Wedding Guest Book Engagement Photo Book

Other ways to incorporate your engagement photos into your wedding day:

•Blow up your favorite engagement photo and place it on an easel near your gift table or entrance to your reception;

•Opt to have that same photo matted and have your guests sign it;

•Use your e-session shots for personalized table numbers (see more on that in my next post);

•Have one of your images imprinted on M&Ms! Our good friends had an elaborate candy buffet table at their wedding and the M&Ms with their photos on them were the highlight!

•Sweets lovers, if your budget allows for a little splurging, you’ll love these personalized sweets.  I came across them at RitzPix.com under the personalized photo gifts section.  Did you know that you can get photo lollipops, photo brownies, chocolate covered Oreos, photo shortbread and sugar cookies and Rice Krispie Treats on a Stick all with your mug on them!  You can pick some of your cutest engagement photos and go customizing crazy!  These personalized treats can be a bit pricey, but a few well-chosen items can go a long way and can be combined with other yummy (non-personalized) candy.

ritzpix personalized sweets

You on a brownie!

ritzpix personalized chocolate heart

A chocolate heart

ritzpix photo lollipops

Photo lollipops

These great personalized sweets can serve as your wedding favors.  Yum!

More wedding day photo ideas to come!  I’d love to hear what you think of these ideas.  If you’ve used any of these ideas and like to share your feedback to help others, please add your comments!

See other posts related to Weddings & Brides.

Stay within budget and make your own photo books.  Check out our Coupons and Deals page for discounts.

Which is the best photo book publisher for your project?  Check out our cool NEW tool and let the wizard help you.  Go to the Photo Book Software Wizard!




Be sure to check out my CANVAS DEALS!


  1. Parik
    Posted July 6, 2010 at 11:06 am | #

    Awesome idea to have a Photo Guest Book! I will be having a destination wedding on a cruise in August, and would love to know some of the details for your guest book:
    1) How many pages was it?
    2) What was the layout (portrait vs. landscape) and size?
    3) I’m assuming it was hardcover?
    4) Any other lessons learned?

    Thanks a lot, just came across your blog today and it’s fantastic.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted July 6, 2010 at 10:24 pm | #


      Here’s the stats:
      -38 pages (19 pages double sided)
      -Landscape 11.25×8.75

      1) I think I mentioned this in the post, but pick a background color other than black like I did – use grey, white or something else other than black because it’s hard to find a fine tip permanent marker in a color other than black.
      2) You can use any company, but note that there are some companies, such as PhotoWorks, Inkubook and Mixbook that have ready-made photo guest book templates. These have lines for guest signatures.
      3) Alternatively, you can do what we did. We opted to do something more freeform to allow guests to write anywhere – what I would call signing “yearbook” style. This encouraged guests to write messages rather than just sign their name. I didn’t really need their names and addresses cause I had them already and I would rather get messages. Some of our guests wrote really fun notes to us. But if you’re concerned about guests signing on your photos, then you may want to stick to the premade lines.
      4) If you want more signatures, you can put someone in charge of being the “attendant” to help guide guests in signing it, or at a minimum, put a sign encouraging guests to sign the book.
      5) I have seen some books add phrases to guide guests such as, “the best advice for a happy marriage is…” “Love is….” or something along those lines…
      6) Don’t worry if not all your guests sign the book. The ones that want to, will. Out of approx 175 guests about 85 signed (most signed as couples). An attendant may help boost those numbers.

      Congrats on your upcoming wedding! I welcome you to fan me on Facebook for updates and to get notifications of new posts and deals.

      • Posted October 22, 2016 at 8:41 pm | #

        Metallic sharpies show up on black.

  2. Posted August 22, 2010 at 7:16 am | #

    The photo guest book is genius! I love those photo lollipops as well. Those would be great to use for most any party.

  3. Claudia Alaniz
    Posted November 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm | #

    I didn’t like any guest books I seen at stores for my wedding and was always interested in making photo books so I thought this would be a great opportunity to try it for my wedding. My husband and I have known each other for 16 years and dated for about 10 of those so we had a lot of great photos all the way back to my senior prom. Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to figure out where to make the photo book so I went to a print store my mom had been going to for years here in Glendale, California, and they were able to help me upload the photos I scanned and some engagement photos, create the pages and even added some pages for a hardcover 20-page book. There were about ten pages of photos and we threw in blank pages in between some photo pages to give guests more writing space. I did keep the background white and since my wedding had a variety of colors, we put out different color markers so it didn’t look so plain. I liked the idea that I was able to see the progress of my book being made and it was done in a day but it was more than I hoped to pay ($40) and I was only limited to two hardcover choices – black or gray with a window. A host or attendant would have DEFINITELY helped because ours was picked up and passed around instead of left at the front/entrance table and so less than half of our 250 guests got a chance to write in it or see the photos. Since these are photos and not just a blank book, guests want the chance to look at all of them but of course forget to pass it around or return it to the table for other guests. I am wary of what sites to try to create photobooks because it’s all online and it may not always turn out exactly how you saw it online when you receive it. I will be doing a few trial photobooks to check for quality, photo paper and price of different sites. I just created a small softcover photobook of my Vegas bachelorette (totally innocent) weekend from Shutterfly and although I think it’s great for just small photobooks, I don’t think it says wedding, so I’ll keep trying. Thanks for the site, it is soooo helpful to get a real perspective and review!

  4. April
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 3:12 am | #

    I would of never thought to a guest book like this! I love photography soo much, and I would love to have a book thats more than just signatures and notepad lining. Should the type of paper bring printed on be a concern for markers and .. I guess… longevity of the signature/pictures? Or would a silver sharpie just do the trick? Also, how many pages was your book? I wonder how many pages to print for the guest book is there is a guest list of 100 or so?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted November 18, 2010 at 3:26 am | #


      Thanks for your comment – if you look at Parik’s comment at the top, you should find your answers there. 🙂

  5. Melanie
    Posted November 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm | #

    Thanks for the tips on the engagement photo books. We are definitely doing this for our wedding. I wouldn’t have thought about having a black background with a silver pen. I think that would make it even more professional looking.

  6. Holly
    Posted July 2, 2011 at 8:53 pm | #

    This is so cute! I was looking at Blurb’s website to create a guest book, but I have quite a few questions.

    1. Which paper do you think is the best to write on? The ProLine Pearl or the ProLine Uncoated?
    2. Which one will prevent smearing or bleed-through from the pen/marker?
    3. The ProLine Uncoated says it is archival-quality, does that mean it is archival paper?
    4. Is is better to have archival paper?


    • photobookgirl
      Posted July 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm | #

      I think the marker is more important than the paper actually. I recommend the fine black Sharpie that’s noted in the post. The silver one I used was too thick, but ended up being out of necessity since I used black backgrounds (I suggest using another color instead). Either the pearl or proline uncoated should be fine with the Sharpie – that thing can write on anything. If you want to be sure, then order a sample pack of paper. I discuss it in this post on Blurb proline papers. I think definitely upgrading to a premium or pro line paper is best so that you don’t get bleedthrough on the other side. Archival means it won’t fade over time or is guaranteed for many, many, many years. I haven’t lived long enough to see my photo books fade, but if you want it to last – I think archival is best, but just because a company doesn’t say something is “archival quality” doesn’t mean it won’t last from my understanding. Best of luck – the photo guest book is a great idea and you’ll actually want to take it out and look at it again, as opposed to a regular one with just lines 🙂

  7. Posted December 27, 2011 at 2:59 am | #

    Those photos with monkey are cute. They are not really the typical engagement photos but they are nice because they really show true emotions and realistic set-up. For engagement photos, showing real images of lovely couples are preferable than scripted ones. Real photos have more impact.

  8. Grace
    Posted June 14, 2013 at 10:32 am | #

    Hi I was reading your articles on guestbooks, which is super helpful. I have one question: would you not recommend the standard glossy paper that comes with standard photobooks? Will a sharpie still work?


    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 11:57 am | #

      Hi Grace,

      Sorry for the late response – for some reason I missed a bunch of comments until now. The standard glossy will work fine with a Sharpie. I wrote more about wedding guest books here.

  9. Pia Merkl
    Posted December 8, 2014 at 7:06 pm | #

    Good article, thanks.

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