Create Memories That Are Cherished for a Lifetime
Family reunions provide a rare opportunity for family members from all over the country or the world to gather in one place. Multiple generations get together, share some fun and swap stories. Your guest book provides a way to capture the memories, create a record of family history and stay in touch with everyone who participates. Some creative thought, planning and a few materials are all you need to create a guest book the whole family will cherish.
Gone are the days when guest books had to be created with pen and paper. Sure, you could create a guest book using printed pages and a custom cover and have it bound at your local print shop. You could also opt for a digital guest book using an app on a tablet or phone, allowing guests to upload photos and order a hard copy of the completed family reunion guest book. Other creative ideas include having guests sign a blank quilt, blank wooden blocks, rocks, or a blank family tree. Opt for the format that best suits your family reunion theme and family interests. Can’t decide? Create a family poll to see which option wins and then go from there.
Get creative and make your guest book more than a place to record names and contact information. Start a family poem and ask all your family members to write the next line as they sign in. Include an envelope or link for donations to a local charity or to pitch in with family reunion expenses. Create a theme for your guest book using the logo from your reunion T-shirts, or a theme that relates to the time of year or holiday closest to your family reunion date. Summer guest books might feature red, white and blue colors, while winter guest books are red and green or blue and white.
Paper guest books are easily completed using a template in your word processing software. Have it printed on festive paper at your local print shop. Design the cover using your reunion T-shirt logo, family artwork or a digital design created in Canva or PicMonkey. The print shop can easily bind the books for you. Blank quilts for fabric guest books are available online, or you can take scraps from family clothes and sew them together to create your own. Your local craft store sells blank wooden blocks, or you can simply cut pieces of scrap wood from your local lumberyard. Digital guest books walk you through the setup process and allow you to choose from themes, layouts, text and photo options.
Share With Family
It used to be that whoever organized the family reunion was the one who got the guest book, but technology has changed that and made it easy for everyone to have a keepsake. Digital guest books are the easiest to share because each family member simply needs to log on to the app and order his or her own copy. Younger members of the family can order for any older members of the family who might not be as tech savvy. The other guest book formats can be captured via photo and uploaded to any photo site, such as Snapfish, Shutterfly or Mixbook. You will be able to edit and crop photos so that family members can order their own hard copies.
- Write on only one side of each page. If you use both sides, ink can leak through and damage the writing on the other side.
- It might seem like a good idea to put the guest book near the food or drinks, but don't do it. All it takes is one spill to destroy all your hard work.
Anne Kinsey is a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and missionary, residing in rural North Carolina. She is the founder of Love Powered Life, a nonprofit organization with the mission of creating loving community for trafficking survivors and their families. Anne has enjoyed writing for publications like Working Mother, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, Bizfluent and Career Trend. She resides in rural North Carolina with her husband, three children and a house full of furry friends.