Of all the things you buy for your wedding, you only get to keep a few. The cake gets eaten and the flowers fade, but the guest book and the album for your photos are items that you will have forever.
There are probably as many options available for handmade books and albums as there are Etsy sellers, so I narrowed it to two key decisions you need to make when choosing a book or album.
Decision one: The Cover
I like to think of the cover as the personality of the book. It’s the first thing you see, and is also a tactile element of the book. Remember that the guest book should look good in your wedding and also in your home. So choose a cover you like! It doesn’t have to match your wedding perfectly, but should blend in with your theme. If you are having red roses at your wedding, but your home décor doesn’t have much red in it, keep that in mind.
Cover materials range from silk to wood to leather to paper to metal and a variety of oddball materials. There are advantages and disadvantages to each – and each has it’s own feel to it. This is truly a personal choice, and my best advice is to search the options out there, and if you have an idea for a cover, find someone that works in those materials and ask them if they can make a book or album for you.
Decision two: Binding Type
The binding is important for two reasons — it affects the way the book lies on the table, and affects the ability to add pages to a book. (I’ll be talking more about functionality and style in this article, not techniques or terminology. I’m not a bookbinder!)
One type of binding used for albums is called post-binding, and it is commonly used in scrapbooking. This type of binding allows you to add or subtract pages by unscrewing the posts that hold the pages together. You can then add, subtract or move pages, and screw it all together again. The pages of the book do not lay flat, but they do tend to stay open while you are looking at them. You can usually find pages to add at your local craft store, and they are very easy to use with photos. These books often have standard page sizes, like 12×12, 8×8 or 8×10. This binding is a logical choice for an album, but could also be filled with blank pages for a guest book.
The other type of binding is constructed in a variety of ways, but has the common trait of looking like a book – it lies flat on the table and you cannot add pages to it. These are your typical journals or sketchbooks. They sometimes use beautiful knot patterns, and can have an exposed or covered spine. This type of book would be a logical choice for a guest book, but can also be used as an album. You will need to attach your photos directly to the paper with photo tabs or adhesive.
Other terrific options —
You can find an Etsy seller like jennysbooks and ask her to make a custom cover for a traditional guest book or album that you already have. Here’s an example of one of her covers:
In the end, there are two major choices with albums and guest books: cover materials and binding. There are many options to fit just about any taste, or you can take this opportunity to get a custom book designed to your taste through Alchemy. Many artisans/crafters will take the time to walk you through what choices they have and go over options with you. Keep in mind that a custom book could take 6-8 weeks to make, so order early! And enjoy the process.