Broke-Ass Tag: birthday guest book


Under normal circumstances, I can usually tell you what day of the week it is, or what day of the month it is. On a really good day, I’m aware of both at the same time. On a sub-par day there’s a good chance I have no idea where I am, what I’m doing, what time it is or what day of the week, but look! I’m here and I’m dressed and that’s about all I have to offer! I spent all day yesterday thinking it was Monday. It was not. It was a Tuesday in disguise! (This further underscores my theory that Tuesdays are actually the most evil days of the week, and Mondays just get stuck taking all the heat.) The calendar and I, we’re constantly at odds.

I’m especially bad about forgetting birthdays. I woke up on January 5th in a dead panic — Grandma’s birthday! I had missed it! It had been the previous day! I called my parents’ house (Grandma lives with them now) and, luckily, my mother intercepted the call. “MomOHMYGAWDIMISSEDGrandma’sBirthdayHOWDIDTHISHAPPENI’mTHEWORSTGRANDCHILDEVER!”

I said it all in one breath. It was so impressive. Mom contemplated hanging up on me, because who wants to hear that first thing in the morning, but instead just laughed. “Mallory. Your Grandmother’s birthday is in July. Have you had your coffee yet today?”

Womp, womp.

All this serves to tell you — since I never know what day it is, or what date it is- that remembering birthdays is almost impossible unless I compulsively check Facebook. And even if I were good about keeping track of Facebook (admittedly, I am not) that still won’t help me remember Grandma.

In line with bucking tradition at our wedding, I opted for the most ingenious little details that will help me remedy my time/space affliction: A Guest Book Birthday Calendar.

I first heard about the idea from Darcy (Martha Stewart’s Wedding Expert, whose daily e-blasts are missives I like to pretend are personal notes from her to me). I then loudly declared over on my defunct wedding website that we’d be using it at our wedding. Then, I did what I always do when I don’t write things on Post-Its and stick them to my computer screen: I forgot about it.

Until Shutterfly sent me a promotional e-mail telling me that they were running a promotion for Free Photo Calendars! Somewhere, in the back of my dusty, stress-addled little mind, a light bulb clicked on and a small voice coughed out, “You have 200 engagement photos, six weeks, and no guest book. DO THE MATH.” I quickly logged in, uploaded my favorite photos of The Groom and I from our engagement shoot and 10 minutes later, I had designed and ordered my Guest Book Calendar, for which I paid a measly $3.10 for shipping. It arrived within two days.

Folks, it was like a miracle. The uploading interface, the layout of the calendar, it was all so, so simple. And so fast! I was done before my attention span even had a chance to cut itself short.

The Shutterfly interface: Everything from photo layout to text placement is literally as simple as a click of your mouse.

We kept the cover short, sweet and to the point.

I didn’t want to worry about a separate sign with directions that people (*cough* myself *cough*) could knock over, ruining the experience for everyone. So I was elated to find that one of the templates allowed for text under each Calendar photo. I put the directions on each and every single month, lest anyone get confused.

I know there are a bunch of other DIY photo publishing houses out there, all with quality products and great promotions. Shutterfly is simply the one I found first and learned the fastest; they’re in no way, shape or form sponsoring this post. Just, you know, for the record. But the image quality is fantastic and it was a great way to include our engagement photographs in our wedding day. Plus, I was having a great hair day on the evening of our engagement shoot. If that doesn’t happen for me on the day of the wedding (because, let’s be honest, it’s hit-or-miss 99% of the time) I want a reminder at the reception that sometimes, sometimes, I pull it together and look like a human.

The obvious bonus is that after our wedding, I’ll have a full calendar of all the major birthdays in both our families, as well as all our friends. Going forward, I’ll do what my mother does each December: bribes my father with a fresh plate of cookies if he’ll copy all the birthdays over into a new calendar for the new year. It’s a system they’ve had in place for literally, two and a half decades of blissful marriage. I’m already brainstorming cookie ideas with heightened allure, to ensure this process is adopted in my household as well. Who says family tradition doesn’t pass down through the generations anymore?

If you’re going to do this project, let me know who you use and how it went for you. Price shop around and see what the competition has to offer, and I’d sign up for the annoying promotional blasts from the sites you’re considering, because that’s where you learn about things like Free Photo Calendar deals.

What are your unconventional guest book ideas? What have you seen at other weddings that impressed you? Have you seen a system that doesn’t work? (Anyone else out there also terrible at remembering dates/days/times/birthdays? Am I totally alone in this irresponsible handicap?

Until next week, stay classy my dears. And don’t forget! We’re all in this together!