Introducing Guesterly!

About your people. For your people.

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

You know what my favorite part of a wedding is? Sunday brunch. And not just because the waffle maker at the Quality Inn is the best hangover cure. It’s because Sunday morning is when all of your new best friends from the night before gather around, high on post-wedding bliss, and eat breakfast together like you’ve been friends for years. Sunday brunch is when my people’s people are now my people. APW’s brand new sponsor guesterly has a simple goal: get your guests to that Sunday brunch feeling before your wedding starts.

Guess Who…?

Guesterly is like a pocket-sized yearbook for your wedding guests. It’s an alternative to the standard wedding program in that it’s all about your people, and made for your people (and made for making them have a ton of fun at your wedding). Guesterly got started when APW readers (and former magazine editors) Rachel and Lorne were planning their own wedding and set a simple mission statement for the event: inclusiveness. So they made a book and filled it with info and photos about all their guests, with the hopes that it would help bring their guests together. (Cough. Chatting, new friend making, hooking up? We all have different “togetherness” goals.) It was a huge hit at their wedding, and soon friends’ started asking them to make books for their weddings, and next thing they knew, guesterly was born.

Is This Another Thing I Need?

What guesterly is not is another thing to add to your checklist. Guesterly’s goal isn’t to give you one more thing to do, or to make you feel like now you have to have a WEDDING MAGAZINE, why with all the things? Instead, guesterly‘s goal is to give you an easy way to create a sense of community at your wedding, if community is part of your wedding’s mission statement. For those of you for whom figuring out how to have a fun wedding is the goal, guesterly gives you a tool to get people ready to party with each other before they even arrive. In fact, guesterly creators Rachel and Lorne even admit that you don’t have to buy their product to have a guesterly-like book at your wedding. Rather, they just make the process super easy and give you a really high quality product at around the same price it would cost you to make it yourself. Says Rachel:

The heart of guesterly is all about bringing people together: we believe that it’s people who make a night great, who make a wedding memorable, who make a life special.

While we’re the only ones creating and championing this concept—mini books celebrating and introducing your guests—you could certainly create a guesterly-style book on your own. We love this concept so much that if you want to take the idea and run with it, do it! But we created the first guesterly for our own wedding by hand, and then for friends’ weddings. We know how much time it takes, and how it’s (still!) expensive to print at home. (True fact: it cost us $300 to print our own full-color guesterlys at home—very close to what it would cost with the guesterly service today!) So, at guesterly, we’ve negotiated wholesale printing costs, we’ve sourced the talent of top designers, and our automatic photo gathering system (simply enter a list of guest names and we gather, on average, 80% of your photos!) means it’s affordable and easy.

The guesterly software makes it super fast and easy to create a guesterly booklet—and prices are as low as $4 a book (when you order 100). And every order includes FREE design love from a professional graphic designer who personally looks over the design and gives it that extra sparkle. Even better, all of our guesterly designers have experience at a top magazine—from O, the Oprah Magazine, to Glamour to GQ—so you are working with the best in the business to make an outstandingly beautiful book.

Big on community, short on time

Guesterly is an awesome solution for those of you who want that community feeling at your wedding, but who don’t have a ton of time to make something yourself. (You’ve got better things to do than right click on all your guest’s Facebook pictures and then paste them into some kind of bookmaking software, right? Like maybe… plan a wedding? Or hell, just watching this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy sounds like more fun than that.) So let’s talk about how it works:

Step 1: Choose your design style and colors and make your cover
Step 2: Input your guest list (you can even copy and paste it in); you and your partner authenticate with Facebook (the same way you authenticate when you sign in to the New York Times, for example) and guesterly automatically gathers most of the photos you’ll need for the book (about 80% depending on how private your friends are). And they don’t do anything else with your Facebook authentication after that.
Step 3: Edit your guests via the guesterly guestbook dashboard (change and add photos, and write a fun fact about each person if desired)
Step 4: Edit the welcome message and head to the checkout! Guesterly’s designers will adjust your cover so it’s perfect and send you a PDF proof, then send your guesterly to print.

All of which takes about an hour, and can be done while you watch this week’s episode of Grey’s. So. Go you.

The Bottom Line

Guesterly books start at $4 each, which works out to be about the same cost as that extra beer you were planning on giving your guests for social lubrication (which they don’t need now, because guesterly!). Pricing varies based on the number of pages in your book and how many books you’ll need, but guesterly isn’t hiding the ball there. You can see the full breakdown right here. Rachel and Lorne are so certain that you’ll love your guesterly experience and end product that they even offer a 100% money back guarantee. If your guesterly books arrive and you don’t love them, simply send them all back for a full refund. Plus, guesterly is offering $20 off to anyone who signs up for guesterly by Friday. Just head over here to redeem your offer.

Not everyone is looking to turn their wedding into a community event, but if you are one of those people (or if you’re just having an intimate wedding and want everyone to know each other before they show up), then guesterly is your jam. Guesterly has taken a complicated process and made it easy and affordable, but that’s not the part that matters. What matters is that guesterly is an easy way for you to prioritize your guests, by making the wedding as fun and inclusive as possible. (Sunday brunch fun! Less awkward introductions fun! A reason to be social fun! “OH! Are you the friend in NYC who owns the floral business? That looked so cool!”) So if you’ve been secretly hoping that your old friend from high school will hook up with your partner’s best friend from college on your wedding night because they’d be so totally perfect for each other, then maybe you should head over to guesterly right now and get started on your book. They’ll thank you for it later, maybe at their own wedding? Here is to dreaming!

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • Kate

    I think this is a cute idea and could work perfectly for some weddings. However, I think you need to consider your guests’ privacy before including them. For example, if I was invited to a coworker’s wedding and found out they distributed a book with my full name, picture, and other identifying details to dozens of strangers (including your weird Uncle Ted) without my permission, I wouldn’t be too enthused. Why not have guests opt in with their RSVPs (let’s pretend for a minute that people actually RSVP)?

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Yes, hopefully couples will be prudent with respect to what “additional information” they provide about their guests, but Uncle Ted can already see your name and profile picture through your co-worker’s Facebook account, assuming you’re Facebook friends with your co-worker. If you’re not, it sounds like this service won’t be able to get a photo of you, and your co-worker will have to ask you for one.

      We had guests we had to ask multiple times for their children’s names. If RSVPing involved not just returning a postcard, or making a phone call, or clicking some boxes online, but selecting and emailing a photo, we’d see lower “compliance rates” than we already do.

    • Meg Keene

      I think it’s just generally wise to consider your guests level of privacy when you do this, and act accordingly. That said, ElisabethJoanne is right. Your FB privacy settings are going to limit what you can get to what people share, and that’s going to give you your first round of considering people’s privacy. IE, no one can get your picture if you haven’t made it ok to get their picture. But you really do know your guests, so as long as you’re thoughtful and don’t have a exceptionally private crowd (say, celebrities) you’re going to be fine. Mostly because this book just includes names and faces (which people are going to find out at the wedding anyway), not like, cell phone numbers.

      I say this as someone who has a public job and is hence one of the most private people in the world in my personal life. BUT. Even as a really private person, it’s something I’d be more than fine with. Because what’s going in this book is my name and my face and a sentence about me. That’s ALL information you’re going to know about me if we attend a wedding together anyway.

      The only thing I would suggest people ask permission on is kids pictures. You’d need to ask permission anyway, because of the super smart way Guesterly is set up (kids don’t have FB profiles). But it’s just wise anyway. I wouldn’t have any kind of problem with you giving people a booklet with my name and face (because hi, I will be bringing my name and face to your wedding). But I’d nicely decline the inclusion of my kid. (Most people wouldn’t, but it’s still nice to ask.)

    • Meg Keene

      In short: Guesterly has your name and your picture, but it’s not going to have a lot of other identifying details (that you wouldn’t be bringing with you to the wedding anyway).

  • Amy March

    Love this write up. My first concerns were “isn’t this another pinteresty chore,” “why would I need this,” and “doesn’t letting them into Facebook seem creepy.” And now I have (fantastic) answers. I feel like this is a primer on how to pitch a new product concept.

  • Oh man, that Sunday brunch feeling was the thing I loved most about my wedding! And I love Guesterly…the books are so pretty in person!!

    • Meg Keene

      Because… you did something like Guesterly yourself!

      Because you are crazy smart :)

      • Rachel Mount Hofstetter

        OMG Rachel I love this!! Buttons!!

        • We thought of it as a modern “bride’s side or groom’s side?” :)

          • JSwen

            Oh that is so cool! Future DIY post? I’d love to know how you made the pins.

  • genevathene

    Love this idea so much! And I’m usually one who gets pretty grumpy about wedding “extras”, like monogrammed favors. Not sure if guesterly is in our budget at this point, but am looking forward to figuring out if we can DIY something similar!

  • meleyna

    I am so glad I am not the only one who is still watching Grey’s.

  • meleyna

    So I am going on a 15 person bachelorette weekend tomorrow, where the only person I know is the bride. This would be really helpful in this situation. I think it also might work for rehearsal dinner/prewedding events where the crowd isn’t quite as big. I think it lessens the privacy issue, and works with smaller budgets.

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