How to Make a Personalized Funeral Guest Book: Step-By-Step

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A funeral guest book is a great way to hold your loved ones close during a day of remembrance. Having a written record of who attended the funeral of a loved one as well as their personalized messages can be a blessing. 

A funeral or memorial service guest book is a guest book that’s specifically designed for a funeral service. Also called a funeral registry, this is an important part of recordkeeping as well as paying respects. 

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With so many styles of funeral guest books to choose from, you might decide to make your own. This is the best way to make the exact personalized funeral guest book to fit your needs. To get started, follow this simple step-by-step guide to making your own funeral guest book no matter your budget.

What Is a Funeral Guest Book?

First, let’s define what a funeral guest book is and how it works. A funeral guest book or funeral registry is a way to keep a record of everyone who attended the funeral service. This is something families often pass down through generations, and it can be an important part of a family’s genealogical history. 

Another purpose for a funeral guest book is for guests to pay respects. The guest book usually encourages guests to do more than just sign their names. They often have space to share a message with the family, offer condolences, or write about a special memory. 

These guest books essentially become a memorial album. They’re a way to honor both the deceased and the family to create a lasting, meaningful tribute.

Steps for Making a Custom Funeral Guest Book

While you can find many ready-made guestbooks, you might wish to create something uniquely your own. And you might be looking for something more budget-friendly. 

Additionally, most guest books you’ll find at big-name craft stores are designed for birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations. They might not fit the tone of a funeral or memorial service. Follow these steps to make a custom funeral guest book for your memorial event. 

Step 1: Choose between a physical or online book

The first step is to decide if you’re going to create a physical book to bring to the funeral or if you’d prefer an online funeral guestbook. An online guestbook is one that exists on the internet, and this makes it possible for guests to pay respects from afar.

There’s no right or wrong choice, and some families might choose to have both a physical and digital book. If you do opt for an online guest book, check the next section below to see our favorite providers. 

Step 2: Purchase a large album or notebook

If you’ve decided to make a physical book for your in-person event, your first step is to purchase something that can be used as a guestbook. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy or expensive. It can be any of the following:

  • A photo album with space for notecards or paper inserts
  • A large journal
  • A scrapbook
  • An art sketchbook

All of the ideas above can work perfectly, so choose whatever fits your budget and style.

Step 3: Create an instructions card

While funeral guest books are becoming more common, there might still be some misunderstanding around how they work. Create an instruction card to pair with your funeral guest book so guests can quickly see how to create their own entry. 

On your introduction card, include some ideas for what guests might wish to write. These might be:

  • Their names
  • Contact information
  • Hometown or location
  • A favorite memory of the deceased
  • Condolence message
  • How they remember the deceased
  • A family photo

You might also wish to include a time limit, space limit, or other clear instructions on your card. The goal is to make it easy to follow without taking too much time. 

Step 4: Write an example

The first few people who use the memorial guest book are likely going to want to follow an example. Ask a trusted loved one to write the first entry, or do it yourself. This doesn’t need to be anything complicated, but it’s nice to have a clear example so everyone can follow suit.

Step 5: Bring pens and other extras

Last but not least, bring pens, extra paper or notecards, and anything else people might need to create their entry. If guests are bringing photos to include, you might need special pens to write on them or tape/glue to apply them to the book. 

Bring a selection of craft supplies, pens in different colors, and so on. Your guests will want the chance to express themselves, and the more options they have, the better. 

Where to Purchase a Custom Funeral Guest Book

If you’ve decided to purchase a custom funeral guest book instead, there are many innovative providers. From digital funeral books to gorgeous, one-of-a-kind creations, there has never been a better time to find exactly what you’re looking for. 

Online memorial providers

Most online memorial sites offer online guestbooks. Some of these are free or available for a small fee, so they’re more budget-friendly than you might guess. These usually also have other memorial features, bringing your memories to life. Here are our favorite providers:

Mixbook

If you’d like to include photos or other printed mementos with your custom funeral guest book, Mixbook is a great choice. This is the top-rated provider of photo books online, and it’s easy to add blank pages or extras to leave space for guest messages. 

With books starting at $15.99 in 3 different sizes, this is a fully customizable, affordable choice. If you digitize the guest book, you can easily give this on a loved one’s birthday, death anniversary, or another special memorial event. 

Etsy

The creator marketplace Etsy is also home to a number of custom funeral products. Many specialist crafters understand the importance of having something to hold onto to remind you of your family’s support. 

With hundreds of funeral guest books to choose from, Etsy creators will do everything they can to help you find what you’re looking for. From photos to engravings, this is one of the best ways to get a custom funeral guest book at any price. 

Hallmark

Hallmark is another provider of funeral guest books. Though they provide guestbooks for any occasion, many of these would be perfect for a funeral or memorial service. 

Although you’ll need to do much of the customization yourself, there are many great options to choose from. Most include flexible interiors to design the guestbook you’re looking for. 

Blue Sky Papers

Last but not least, Blue Sky Papers is the premium place online to find a custom funeral guest book. Though these are more expensive, you truly get what you pay for. These keepsakes and guestbooks are designed according to your preferences. 

From leather to unlined linen, these are classy and upscale tributes. You can upload images, personalize the engraving, and add extras to make something that will last beyond a lifetime. 

Customize Your Funeral Guest Book

When planning a funeral, there are so many different things to organize. One of the most important aspects of any memorial event is keeping a record of those who show their support. In addition, you want things you can hold onto even after the funeral ends. A funeral guest book or memorial registry is the perfect way to do both of those things. 

Not only is this a family heirloom you’ll cherish for years to come, but it’s a gorgeous testament to a life well-lived. Each signature and entry in the guestbook shows a life that’s been touched by someone else. Those we love never really leave us, even after the funeral ends.

Whether you create your own funeral guest book or customize one with a retailer, you’re sure to appreciate the symbolism behind it. 

Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, you have more than just the funeral to think about. Handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.

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