Wednesday, July 1, 2009

guest book pens

The guest book pen: a detail that I try not to leave unnoticed. Why? Well, I make custom guest books, and I want to make sure they don't lose their integrity by being ruined simply by the wrong choice of a pen. When I choose paper, I'm not only selecting paper that reflects the design of the wedding or matches the paper goods, but paper that will last over time, won't turn yellow or begin to spot. These brands of papers come with a price, but when a person is dealing with something she wants to keep over time, quality becomes a priority. Yes, paper ages, and though most of us have never bore any interest in how paper is made or what happens to paper over time, you want to make sure your guest book is doing ok as it sits untouched in storage or simply on a bookshelf. A guest book is something you plan to store away as a keepsake for years, and a small detail, like the pen that marks the pages, does impact what happens to your treasured guest book memento over time.

Above: Image of glass blown pens from Smart Bride International

When shopping around for your guest book pens, take note of the surface of the paper that your guests will be writing on. Is it glossy (coated) or matte (uncoated)? Colored? Textured? Hand made?

For a traditional guest book which uses typical text weight, uncoated sheets of paper similar in thickness to bond paper, I would suggest using a ball point pen. Ball point pens write pretty smoothly on flat surfaces, don't bleed over time, and are easy to find. I would try avoid using a roller ball pen (the inky kind) because it tends to bleed, smear, and gap if not held at the right angle. And over time, the bleeding will turn yellow. You're also looking at the aesthetic value of the stroke thickness -- a ball point pen has a medium thickness, but is usually governed by the pressure of the hand. For instance, a felt tip pen (made of a fiber tip) creates thick strokes. And after fifty or so entries, the felt tip will eventually give way and flatten during the reception, making for chunky names and addresses.

I know, picky as it may seem, a pen is a tiny detail that can maintain the health of your guest book. Note: You don't have to spend an arm and a leg on a guest book pen. From my experience doing weddings, it's common that few pens end up disappearing throughout the night, so unless you want to tie down your pen to the guest book, don't feel bad if you end up going to Staples to pick up a pack. I'd recommend putting several out and having your coordinator save a few to replenish should they go missing throughout the night.

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