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Your John Hancock, Please!

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When you look back at your wedding day, you have lots of wonderful things to recall. But what tangible memories (other than your spouse) have you got? Hopefully, your wedding album is filled with fabulous photos. However, there’s another item that allows you and your spouse to remember in a somewhat different way.

Cindee, a bride, asks: “What’s the concept of a guestbook, and how (and where) did the tradition begin?”

Dear Cindee: The guestbook is a simple custom that’s been designed and redesigned yet again. Once upon a time, tradition held that upon arriving at the church or other ceremony location, each wedding guest would sign his or her name in a book reserved for the purpose. Perhaps because a blank page offers such a temptation, guests soon began to embellish by writing simple messages to the bride and groom. Suddenly the guest book transformed from a simple list of guests to a recording of their good wishes. Encouraged by this trend, couples scribbled “instructions” asking guests to write more than just their names.

Nowadays, some brides take the concept to the next level by having the book passed from table to table at the reception. In that way, guests aren’t under pressure to write a message. Some brides provide marking pens, crayons, colored pencils, calligraphy pens, and a variety of other artistic tools so guests can be even more creative, if they wish.

For more information about the guestbook tradition, read HudsonValleyWeddings.com’s article “Your Wedding Guestbook, Create Memories in New and Creative Ways.”

To submit your own question to the Wedding Guru, email Judy at judy@hvmag.com.

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