Have you seen the phone guestbook trend?! If you’re wedding planning, I’m SURE you have!

Here’s a deep dive into my experience with the trending guestbook idea from both a past-bride, guest, and wedding photographer’s perspective! Let me start off by saying I don’t regret choosing the book the phone guestbook one bit, I’m SO glad I did!

What I do regret is:

  1. Not considering the faults or risks
  2. Not thinking of the experience
  3. Not doing much research

Faults & Risks

Risks? Mmm, yep: technology not working properly is a very real thing.

I was very concerned about the phone getting lost in the mail once we shipped it back, but I didn’t even think about the fact that the messages could corrupt at any point – on the wedding day, in the mail, or in the downloading/uploading process. Someone could have accidentally bumped the phone and the recorder could have just unplugged and we wouldn’t have known. I truly didn’t even think about all of the risks of technology failing with something so precious and special.

Thankfully, we didn’t have any tech issues, but I’ve seen so many post about couples whose voicemails were lost! 🙁

If the phone guestbook is a BIG deal to you, go in knowing the risk and being okay with that if it does happen. It’s SUCH a unique and fun idea, but just consider how you can capture your memories and your loved ones in other ways – professional photography, videography, content creators, photo booths, disposable cameras/Polaroids, a written guestbook alongside the phone guestbook, etc. It truly can’t hurt to have a second option of a physical guestbook for people to sign.

The Experience

When it came to the experience for our guests, here’s what I would do differently if I had a second chance:

1. Place the phone in a central location that everyone will pass by

Many of our guests didn’t even know about the phone because it was off to the side of our tented reception. After hearing from friends and family, mostly only one side of our tent saw it while the others didn’t go that way nearly as much since we had a bar on both sides of the tent!

Pro Tip: Have your band/DJ mention it throughout the night (more than once) and have staff/planners at the venue mention it to the tables as they’re serving dinner!

2. Plan an alternate/backup option

Part of me feels like it’s really not that deep, so having both an audio guidebook and a regular guestbook seems like overkill, but I kind of wish I had a guestbook or a set of custom postcards next to the phone as an alternative option. It would have been a fun way to display our engagement photos and would also give anyone who didn’t want to leave a message a chance to write a note instead!

To be honest, some people will think the message thing is super weird or awkward and would prefer to write a note instead. They may not leave a note or message at all, which is okay, too!

3. Find a quieter, yet still high-traffic spot to display it

We’ve been guests at multiple weddings now with the phone guestbook, and they’re all very different. Some have a message from the couple before you start talking, some just have a beep, some have no sound at all. Either way, when it’s in the reception space with loud music playing, you can’t hear anything at all.

For each different phone type, it’s unclear if your message starts recording once you pick up or if you have to wait for a beep/message to end, because if you just start talking, the first half of your message may not even be recording. I was halfway through my message at a friend’s wedding before I realized and heard the beep mid-sentence. No idea if my message got cut off or not!

Pro Tip: We had our phone on display during cocktail hour and then moved it to the reception space for multiple opportunities for guests to use it! It was really fun to hear the messages as guests drank more later into the night! 🙂 You can also hear our band playing in the background, which was really cool to relive!

4. Remind your VIPS to leave a message!

I didn’t realize our parents, siblings, and grandparents wouldn’t have a chance to leave a message. I wish we asked someone to check in with them and remind them to do it. It’s not their fault at all, since it’s such a busy day for the family of the couple, but of all the voices I’d want to save and cherish forever, it’s our parents, siblings, and grandparents’. I was so bummed to realized most of them didn’t get a chance to leave a message – most of them didn’t even see where it was set up!

By the time we realized at Sunday brunch, the tape was full – nobody else could record. 🙁

5. Use it as a photo-op

This is more for you as the couple than the guests, but I wish we took a few cute husband and wife photos using the phone! We had it set up with our vintage furniture display, which we took night portraits in, but we forgot to pick up the phone for some photos! Not a big deal, just would have been super cute as a prop! 🙂


Check Recording Times

I didn’t even know the recording could fill up! That may have been naive, but the company never really shared how much available recording time there would be. Had I known, I would have likely ordered a 2nd recorder or phone to swap out when it was full.

We didn’t realize that once you turn the recorder on, it records non-stop until it runs out – it doesn’t start/stop recording when the phone is picked up. So, recording time is wasted even when someone isn’t leaving a message.

I wish I asked more questions, because we planned to put the phone out at brunch the next day to give people another chance to leave a message, but it was full before the end of the reception! Highly recommend asking how many recorders you need for your number of guests and how many hours it should last!

Check their Reputation

I wish I looked up a few different companies to learn about their customer support and service. I had a great experience, but it was only after the fact that I read about how certain companies dealt with the loss of messages with other couples. I would have been really bummed to be in that position hearing how it was handled by different companies!

Overall Feelings Post-Wedding

It was genuinely so fun and meaningful to hear the recordings, and I know they’ll only get more special with time. We laughed, teared up, and enjoyed hearing such sweet and thoughtful messages from everyone! To be honest though, we only listened once when we got the recording back, and I have no idea when we will listen again!

I would recommend playing a slideshow of your wedding photos to watch with the recordings, so it isn’t just 30-45+ minutes of audio only.

As mentioned, I’m still so glad I have our audio guestbook! I’m a nostalgia nut who wants to hold onto as many memories as possible. Was it THE ultimate game-changer guest book idea I thought it would be?! Unsure.. but I’m definitely not at all upset about having it! 🙂

Truthfully, I value our photos and videos a lot more than I would any type of guestbook. I know that we have our memories captured so thoroughly in those ways that the audio element was just the cherry on top – it helped us remember the day and our people in such a different way! 🙂

Images from our wedding by the incredibly talented Madison Delaney Photography!

If you found this blog helpful, dive into this post all about creating visual interest in your wedding decor!

Is the Phone Audio Guestbook Worth it? | Wedding Planning Advice

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