Sign Here: The Story of the Guestbook Quilt

2016 July/August

In the past, a wedding guestbook simply served as a record of the friends and family members who celebrated a couple’s union.

 

Katie Johnson wanted hers to keep her warm.

 

When Katie, formerly Katie Pinkston, married Brandon Johnson on June 13, 2015, she wanted her reception to feature an unusual guestbook—something people don’t normally sign at nuptial events. She said she found inspiration in Paducah, her hometown. Known as Quilt City USA, Paducah serves as a location for the American Quilter’s Society’s annual Quilt Week.

 

Katie and Brandon had planned to marry at the city’s First Baptist Church, so she found it apropos to turn her guest signatures into a quilt.

 

“I wanted something that was unique to Paducah,” she explained.

 

When guests entered Katie and Brandon’s reception at the Country Club of Paducah, they scribbled their names and well wishes for the couple onto cream-colored fabric squares. Mary Scott, of Mary’s Time 2 Quilt, agreed to piece the squares together into a beautiful blanket Katie and Brandon could use for decades.

 

The bride felt the idea would give her reception a bit of her hometown’s atmosphere.

 

“I wanted Paducah to be really involved in it because that’s where I grew up,” she said.

 

The quilted guestbook resulted not only from the bride’s creativity but also from her sentimentality. Other parts of the wedding bore touches of her love for friends, family and personal memories, as well. She said she even followed the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition and carried family mementos down the aisle.

 

For an “old” item, she used her grandmother’s handkerchief and stitched in blue buttons from another grandmother’s wedding dress. She wound the “old” and “blue” around her bouquet. Then, she “borrowed” the latter grandmother’s engagement ring and wore in on her right hand.

 

Brandon supplied her with a “new” item before the ceremony—a pearl bracelet that circled her wrist as they said, “I do.” In return, Katie said, she gave her groom a drawing of their new home, created by Paducah artist Bill Ford.

 

After that day of celebration, joy and reminiscing, the couple returned to the home depicted in Bill’s artwork. They knew they could look forward to many years under its roof, snuggling under a quilt stamped with signatures and with love from friends and family.

 

Then, they could pass that quilt on to their children—along with its memories and meaning.

 

 

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