After the Wedding: Turn Your Guest List Into an Address Book

Le Pen

Le Pen

When I was growing up, my mother had an address book that she kept in the top drawer underneath the little TV in our kitchen—well, actually it took up the entire top drawer underneath the little TV in our kitchen. (It’s still there, come to think of it.) It was a behemoth, between the pages she’d added to it over the decades and other random things she’d shoved into it—little notes and newspaper clippings and the like—eventually getting to the point where she had to wrap a rubber band around it to keep it from barfing out every last thing it held  all over the kitchen whenever someone moved it.


I dreaded asking her a question that would end up with her directing me to go find the answer in that thing—but I also kind of liked that address book. It held years and years worth of friends' and family's moves and birthdays and wedding dates in it; it was this tangible thing that connected us to them, and I always imagined that one day I'd have an overstuffed and unmanageable address book in one of my kitchen drawers, too. And even though these days, most of the information we want to keep at the tip of our fingers gets logged into a Word or Excel document on our computers, tablets and phones, there are still a few oldies but goodies—like the address book—that deserve to be preserved in their pen and paper form.

We've heard of a few brides recently who've echoed similar sentiments, and so we checked in with Carolyn Brandhorst, owner of the Papery in Midtown Village, to get her recs for creating a real, honest-to-goodness address book for brides who don't want to fire up Excel every time they've got to send a birthday card.

  • Pick out a beautiful address book that you love—Brandhorst suggests choosing one that matches your kitchen. At the Papery, she orders address books for customers from Rag & Bone Bindery (Paprika or Typewriter, please)  and colorful leather-bound books from Graphic Image.
  • Brandhorst thinks handwriting the addresses is the way to go, as opposed to printing them all out and cutting and pasting them in there. (Plus, these days, each entry has space for everybody's extra contact info, like home and cell, email, etc.) And for that? "Le Pens are our favorite," says Brandhorst. "They are a very, very fine-point market, they come in lots of great colors, and they never smear!"
  • And for our two cents, we here at PW would like to add in: wine and editing. Turn on some sort of mindless show like The Bachelor each night, pop a cork, zone out and copy out a little chunk of the alphabet like three to five letters at a time. And since you have the chance to really personalize this list for you and your needs, here you can leave out anyone who, say, you know you won't be exchanging Christmas cards with—i.e., that extra member of your mom's book club who she insisted on and who you met for the first time at your wedding. This book should only include names that your daughter will recognize in 15 years when she carefully pulls it out of the kitchen drawer, and rummages through it to find something she needs.

So who's with us?

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