The Death of Traditional Funeral Guest Books

Every day, funeral homes are faced with having to adapt their traditional way of doing things to keep up with the evolving needs and expectations of their families. Today is no different.

I’m here to tell you that traditional funeral guest books are now a thing of the past—and like many other funeral traditions that have perished, it’s the advances in technology that are responsible for their death.

It’s not that funeral professionals staying current with industry trends have forgone the guest book altogether—they’ve just reinvented it.

Obviously, a traditional register book serves a purpose. It fulfills the needs of the family when it comes to collecting the names and addresses of all the friends and family who attended the funeral service.

But what else does it do beyond that?

Nowadays, a funeral guest book serves as another way for your funeral home to assist families in their grief and healing, and honor their loved one in a unique and memorable way.

With the recent trend in personalized register books like the Tribute Book, families have the ability to tell the life story of their loved one through photos, memories and a family tree, while still allowing service guests to sign-in.

tribute book

Here are some examples of pages you could include in a personalized register book for your families:

Prayer page – Family and friends dealing with the death of a loved one often turn to religion and spirituality. Feature an uplifting prayer to assist in the grief and healing process.

Life Story page – Celebrate and honor the life lived by using photos and stories to illustrate the unique story of the life of the deceased.

Family History page – Showcase the family history of the deceased with a customized family tree or with family photos.

Funeral Services page – Provide all the necessary information associated with the funeral services such as, date, time, location, officiates and bearers for the funeral service.

Register page – Give friends and family who attend the funeral service a place to sign-in like a traditional guest book.

Photo pages – Friends and family who attend the funeral service enjoy looking at photos that represent and celebrate the life lived.

Notes & Messages page – Allow service guests to take part in the healing process by providing space to share their memories of the loved one, or write a personal message to the family.


By offering your families a personalized register book, you’re giving them a valuable keepsake that will be cherished and used far more than a register book that’s only a list of the names of those present at the service.

The best thing about these modern-day guest books is that as technology continues to evolve, the software systems associated with these personalized register books are becoming easier to use, making it push-button simple for funeral professionals to create the books in-house.

Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy, but a personalized register book transforms the traditional funeral guest book into a book of memories that serves as a way for families to share the legacy of their loved one for generations to come.

An even more innovative way of doing this is through social memorial websites…but we’ll save that discussion for another day!


What are some other unique and personalized services you offer your families to help them honor and celebrate the life of their loved one? Share your comments below!

Kelly Murad


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  1. Funeral Blog. The official blog for the funeral & cemetery professions. » Blog Archive Why “Ordinary” Funerals Can Kill Your Business (And What To Do About It) » Funeral Blog. The official blog for the funeral & cemetery profession

    […] for years to come. Your software should make it easy for you to offer them more than an average, run-of-the-mill register book. […]

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  3. Carolyn Jean Casey

    I have the old funeral registers of family members. I would like to put the information safely on line somewhere for others to know who signed guest books, dates of funerals, etc. Can you help?

  4. Rilee Chastain

    Hi Carolyn, thanks for the comment! Our social memorial websites serve as an online guest book for family and friends. However, they do not cross over with a physical register book at all. Sorry! You could scan all of your previous guest books as a simple solution for making them digital!

  5. تندخوانی

    Thank you very much.

  6. Sandy Sinnett

    What do I do with guest book for the visitation attendance? Do I photo record this and toss?

  7. Rilee Chastain

    Hi Sandy, thanks for your question. We think it’s a great idea to ask families to use your social memorial websites as a guest book (if you have one). And giving a link to the site at the service! If you don’t use social memorial websites, so you can certainly still give the guest book to families. Hope this helps!

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