8 Ways to Turn Your Wedding Items into Keepsakes

The image of my grandparents’ wedding album is permanently imprinted in my mind. Its pillowed, white, lace-trimmed cover sat tucked behind the glass of their china cabinet next to an equally fluffy ring bearer pillow and a cracked, brown leather guestbook. They were lifelong keepsakes that held a special place of honor from the moment they moved into their house after their wedding, until they retired to Florida over 50 years later.

Most of us can recall an image from our childhood like this, the hutches and china cabinets of our parents and grandparents whose wedding keepsakes held similar, lifelong places of honor. While the marriages and the memories were no less special then than they are today, for our Pinterest-savvy generation, the standard wedding keepsakes just do not cut it anymore. If you have spent months planning your dream wedding, there is no doubt you are going to want the keepsakes from your big day to be as uniquely special as the day itself. Here are eight great ways to turn your wedding items into lifelong keepsakes; the kind you will want to keep on display for decades to come.

1. Get Creative with the Guest Book.

While my new hubby and I love flipping through our guest book every now and then (usually on our anniversary), most of the time it is tucked away on a shelf in the closet of our home office. If you are looking for fun and creative ways to make your guestbook a keepsake you will want to display all year round, think outside the box or, outside the “book,” if you will. Invite your guests to sign another item; something that speaks directly to who you and your new spouse are. Did you go backpacking across Europe before tying the knot? Invite your guests to write their notes to you on a vintage-feeling map of the continent, one you will be thrilled to hang in your home. Are you both classic rock lovers? Leave a few vinyl records out on a table and invite your guests to sign them with paint pens. Consider creating a “message in a bottle” style guestbook by decorating a wine bottle (or multiple depending on your guest count) with your names and wedding date. Invite guests to tuck away notes or words of wisdom that you will love to read for years to come.

2. You Cannot Go Wrong with a Photo Booth.

Photo booths have been making appearances at weddings for years now and trust me when I say they never, ever get old. Most photo booth companies will allow your guests two copies of each picture strip they snap: one for them, and one to paste into a keepsake album for you! There is nothing like flipping through an album of crazy selfies post-reception. Not only will you laugh over all the fun your guests had, you will also have hard evidence that their photos only got goofier as the night went on.

3. Upcycle Some of Those Fabrics.

This is a great way to give your wedding dress, your ring bearer pillow, your garter – basically any linen that you purchased instead of rented – a second life. There are tons of creative ideas for upcycling the fabrics you selected for your Big Day. From using pieces of your bridal gown for baby clothes or a baptismal gown (if kiddos are next on your to-do list) to repurposing your table runners as fun throw pillows, you definitely have more options than just storing them in a mothball-filled box in the attic.

4. Invest in a Cute Sign.

In other words, not something that you will just roll up and stick in the garage for years. Do you and your newly-wedded love to entertain friends and family around your spacious kitchen? Consider a sign for the hors d’oeuvres or dessert table, inviting your guests to feel welcome and dig in – something that will look cute at your wedding and great on your kitchen island later. Are you an outdoorsy duo? Maybe a distressed wood sign placed outside the reception, painted with your names or a favorite quote is more your style. After the wedding, display it near your front door or in your garden.

5. Repurpose Those Centerpieces.

When selecting centerpieces, think longterm. Items like mason jars or square candle votives not only make great table arrangements, they are also timeless enough that you can use them in your home for years to come. Vintage teacups make great wedding planters and afterward your kitchen will be fully-stocked for teatime. But you do not necessarily have to plan on just tossing those floral arrangements out, if you already love having greenery around your home, consider using succulents for your centerpieces. They are durable enough that they will last through the wedding and stick around long afterward. Lastly, you loved your bouquet, so why not preserve it? Have it made into a piece of jewelry – think earrings, bracelet or a pendant drop for a necklace – you will enjoy your beautiful bouquet for years to come.

6. Do Not Monogram Everything.

From shot glasses to champagne flutes, you will never be more inclined to monogram than you are in the weeks and months leading up to your wedding day. Don’t get me wrong, whether you are swapping last names, hyphenating, or keeping things traditional, there’s something about two names becoming one that is totally worth celebrating. But with that said, in five years, are you really going to want to invite your new boss and his wife over to toast your recent promotion with heart-and initial etched wine glasses? If yes, then by all means, you monogram your little wedded heart out. Otherwise, you might consider something just as personal, but a little more, shall we say, evergreen? Do you remember the exact spot where you and your soon-to-be spouse met? If so, a quick online search can tell you the coordinates. “41.8781° N, 87.6298°W” looks super cool on a shot glass and, it makes for a good story. Maybe a line from your favorite song would look great etched along the base of a wine glass. Did you get the same, regrettably impulsive, tattoo in college? (Four-leaf clovers, moon and stars – you know the kind I’m talking about). You might cringe at those tiny skulls on your left hips now, but they might be the perfect design for a one-of-a-kind whiskey tumbler set. All I’m saying is, think outside the monogram.

7. Do Not Be Afraid to Think Big.

This is an idea I am loving lately – but it’ll take a little more planning than your standard wedding keepsake. Consider snagging a vintage rocking chair or a cozy bench to set up somewhere near the guestbook, or use it to replace your guestbook entirely! Place some fancy paint pens near it and invite your guests to write you loving messages or doodles during the reception. This keepsake will look completely adorable on your front porch or back deck for years.

8. Consider a Time Capsule.

Maybe you are all set at home: you have enough pillows, drinking glasses, and teacups to last you a lifetime. Or, maybe displaying your wedding memories all year-round just is not your style, no matter how much you might love all that swag on the big day. A wedding time capsule might be just what you are looking for. Pick a capsule that speaks to you and your spouse: a vintage trunk, a glass canister, repurposed wine bottle – practically anything works. Fill your “capsule” with items from your wedding day (notes you wrote to one another, personalized napkins, your hair clip, candid photographs that didn’t quite make the wedding album — the list goes on. Seal the capsule until a special anniversary and tuck it away until the next Big Day.