Awkward small talk at your wedding is a thing of the past thanks to the launch of Guesterly. The new company creates a tongue-in-cheek take on a wedding yearbook with a glossy booklet that features guests’ photos as well as their bios so they can skip uncomfortable introductions (and the desire to beeline for the door after the last plate is taken away) and go straight to making friends and connections.
The idea was generated while founders Rachel and Lorne Hofstetter were planning for their 2012 wedding. Having grown up and gone to colleges on opposite sides of country, the New York City-based couple knew that most of their 125 guests would be meeting for the very first time—introductions Rachel and Lorne would be too busy to make on their big day. Inspired by Lorne’s old Freshman Herald, a book he received as an incoming freshman at Princeton that introduced each of his classmates, the couple set out to create a similar journal including all their guests. When they couldn’t find a service that would do it for them, the duo made one from scratch themselves and sent it to their guest list a week before the wedding. The result? Thrilled guests who were talking and celebrating like old friends all weekend long.
A year later, after numerous requests from friends and family to create Guesterlys for their weddings, the creative couple left their jobs—Rachel as an editor at O, the Oprah Magazine and Lorne as an engineer at General Electric’s global research center—to work on the publishing service full-time. They enlisted magazine editors from publications such as Glamour, O, Allure, InStyle and Self to call each couple a few weeks before the wedding and interview them about their guest list. After the bios are written, a graphic designer customizes the books to complement the wedding colors and themes. Since Guesterly’s launch last month, the couple has already scored a partnership with e-stationer Printable Press, making it easy for the booklets to have the exact look as the couple’s wedding invitations and paper goods.
Prices start at $3,500 for a guest list of 100 or for $10 per book if the couple want to write the guest bios themselves.