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A guest book at a memorial or funeral is an important way for guests to pay their respects to the family and honor the memory of the deceased. At the funeral or memorial service, guests are encouraged to sign the guest book and perhaps leave a personal note. Make sure that someone is designated as the collector and keeper of the guest books during the day, as they will become an important family keepsake.

Attractive guest books are available at stationery and paper stores or can be ordered online and shipped overnight to your home. The line to sign the guest book can traditionally become a bottleneck at funeral and memorial services, and guests can be left standing patiently outside the vestibule in all weather in order to sign the book.

Digital tablets can also be used in place of a traditional guestbook.

Even if you are not anticipating a large crowd, have more than one guestbook available for signing during the service or afterwards at the reception. Two or more guest books can easily be combined afterwards to make one important memento of the day. Provide multiple pens and appoint someone to monitor and replace the pens if necessary.

Adapted with permission from Celebrating a Life by Faith Moore, published in 2009 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang

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Celebrating a Life: Planning Memorial Services and Other Creative Remembrances
By Faith Moore
Faith Moore