Big Wedding, Small Budget

Wedding Themes

Colors and themes are something all over the wedding world, from the Knot to Offbeat Bride. For more traditional weddings, the theme might be Old Hollywood. For the more offbeat, it might be Civil War or fairy themed. Just please, don’t have a Hunger Games themed wedding, for god’s sake.

For people really interested in styling their wedding, I guess a theme is helpful. It gives you a central idea to build around. It helps narrow down the millions of choices out there. And if you and your partner have a very specific hobby or passionate interest, it makes sense to share that with your guests.

Our theme is (drumroll, please)….getting married.

Yes, you heard right. The truth is, we don’t really have a theme. And sometimes this worries me. I mean, I tell people we’re having a picnic wedding, but does a normal picnic include a DJ and Italian food? No, I think not. I tell them we’re getting married on a farm, evoking images of rustic barn weddings. And we’re really not rustic. I mean, there will be no burlap or cowboy boots (at least, I won’t be wearing them).

Our website is totally different than our save-the-date, which is totally different than our invitation, which will probably be totally different than our place cards, program, and table numbers (which will not match each other). The wedding world tells me this will confuse our guests. Not having a unifying theme will be disruptive and jarring.

Sorry, but I have a little more faith in our guests than that. They know they’re coming to a wedding. What is there to be confused about? I mean, the décor in our house does not have a unifying theme (nor do all the paint colors flow together), yet somehow, people are still able to find the kitchen.

Our wedding is not a styled event. It will probably not be on the pages of a magazine (though I’d love for it to be in Offbeat Bride!). It’s a wedding. It’s an exchange of marriage vows followed by a party filled with some cool stuff that I’ve found, things that I think are pretty or fun. Hopefully, our guests will be too involved in celebrating to worry about the escort cards not matching the invitations, anyway.

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Guest Books

I definitely want to have a fun guest book at our wedding. I don’t want just a book where people write their names; I want something we can look over later, something we’ll enjoy looking at and remembering all of the people who came to our wedding. There are lots of creative ideas out there! Here are a few (as always, sources are listed below pictures):

Linda Carol Arts

A wedding sign in board would provide us with something fun and pretty to hang up, and it does give each guest the chance to write a message. But I’m sorry; it just reminds me too much of my bat mitzvah, even without a photo on it.

Must Love Weddings

One of my friends did the Polaroid guest book at her wedding. I think it’s such a fun idea; it’s like getting a bonus photo album of your guests! But with 250 people, I think it would get too expensive and too bulky. Also, I worry that the line to take photos would be too long and people would just give up. Even though our wedding is in Orlando, it isn’t Disneyworld, after all; we’d like to minimize lines.


I love the idea of a photo guest book; it’s a great way to share our lives with those guests that we don’t see or talk to very often. I’ve liked looking through these at other weddings I’ve been too. Also, a photo guest book would be easy to pass around tables, so there would be no waiting in line. And I love making Shutterfly albums, so that would be fun!

TexturedInk on Etsy

A poster-sized map would serve as a great guest book for our wedding. Our guests are coming from near and far, and I think it would be really fun to have guests sign in on the place where they live. But poor New Jersey would fill up really fast! And, so would Florida. So I’m not sure how practical this actually would be. But I think it would look really cool hanging up in our house.

PuzzledOne on Etsy

I am totally in love with this puzzle guest book! It’s available in several different colors, and I just think it’s so pretty! But the bigger ones are pretty expensive. I guess we could ask for one piece per family, but that seems pretty nit-picky and controlling. Also, I’m not sure how we would display it. I guess we could glue it and get it framed, but I think that process might be too expensive as well. It’s worth investigating, though.

Mendocino Weddings

The Jenga guest book is an idea I have seen popping up all over the wedding blogs. Steve and I do love some Jenga (and we love to play it with Emily), so it would be really cool to have the guest sign blocks. I think it would be so much fun to play a game of Jenga and chuckle over our wedding at the same time! Of course, with 250 guests, we’d have a couple of Jenga sets, but who cares? Plus, it would be really affordable, so obviously, I like that.

As with most things wedding, there are so many ideas out there. These are just a few of the guest book ideas I’ve come across. Who knows what else I’ll find?

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