If your wedding guests sign a traditional guest book, you may end up packing it in your attic and forgetting about it for years. However, if you use a photo mat as your wedding guest book, you can hang it proudly in your home and look at it for the rest of your lives together. With a guest book photo mat, your wedding guests sign a large mat surrounding a picture of you and your spouse. If you choose the right pens and framing materials, you can preserve your guests' signatures indefinitely.
Find a favorite picture of yourself and your fiance. It's traditional to choose your engagement announcement photo, but if you want your photo mat to be unique, use a high-quality candid or a picture of the two of you participating in a beloved hobby.
Purchase an acid-free mat with a smooth surface in one of your wedding colors. Acid will cause the signatures to deteriorate over time, and a textured surface will make the mat more difficult to sign. The size of your guest list will determine the size of your mat; the mat should be much larger than your photo to provide room for all your guests to sign, but not so large that there will be a lot of blank space surrounding your photo. Consider having a mat with a border at least seven to nine inches thick.
Buy a frame large enough to hold your mat. Use glass with a UV-protective glaze so sunlight will not fade your guests' signatures.
Purchase fine-point archival pens in a color that contrasts with the mat color. Archival pens do not contain acid and will not deteriorate over time like other permanent markers.
Frame the photo and mat before the wedding, but do not put the glass into the frame. If you have your guests sign the unframed mat, some may sign the edges, and a thick frame will cover their names. Framing the mat beforehand ensures that your guests will only sign its visible surfaces.
Hang your photo out of direct sunlight to prevent the mat from fading. If you store it instead of hanging it, do not store it in a basement or attic, as the heat and humidity in these parts of the house can damage your mat.
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