It's not a party without a guestbook

"Welcome! You can put your coat on the bed, food and drinks are in the living room, and don't forget to sign the guestbook!"

This is how I greeted my guests at my recent Housewarming Party, and pretty much everyone gave me a puzzled look, wondering if they had heard me correctly. They had.

I am a big proponent of guestbooks, or livres d’or, at parties that mark life events, big and small. It is a really special memento to have your closest friends’ best wishes for you at a major point in your life, preferably packaged up in a fun and stylish booklet. Especially when living the life of an expat, as people regularly come in and out of your life, a guestbook can uniquely capture a singular moment in time.


There are different routes to go when picking the materials for your guestbook. Leather-bound volumes, while fabulous at weddings, may not be the most appropriate choice for an intimate soirée.

For the party that combined one friend’s birthday and a farewell for two others, I went to the Bon Marché to buy two small notebooks and two lovely greeting cards. I covered the notebooks with the cards, making custom booklets for each occasion.

Photo courtesy of Edna Zhou 

Photo courtesy of Edna Zhou 

For my Housewarming Party, I took an image of an old map of Paris and cut out my neighborhood in the shape of a heart. I attached this to the cover of a pretty blue notebook.

Guestbook Livre d'or

And yes, there always exists the possibility that people will laugh at the idea of signing a guestbook at a small party. But be strong, your guests will sign it. And I’ve noticed that the more ridiculous someone finds the idea, the better (and funnier) their entry will be.

Housewarmings, farewells, birthdays, bridal showers… Guestbooks are literally always a good idea.