Shower games don't have to be old-fashioned, cheesy, and cliche. Have fun with it. There is no set rule on what you have to do, but a couple of games to break the ice and loosen everyone up can really set the tone for the whole party. I like to plan a game or activity to keep everyone busy while the other guests arrive, at least one main game, and then have a few old stand-bys ready in case there is extra time to fill.
Some people arrive early, others on time, and quite a few straggle in a little late. (Yep, that's usually me unless I'm throwing it. In that case, I'm just rushing around thinking that I am running late!!) Hopefully your guests will mingle and talk to each other, but just in case that doesn't happen, it's good to have an activity to occupy them while they wait for everything to start.
Bridal Bingo is a great, easy one for people to play. You provide the blank bingo cards (I use B-R-I-D-E at the top of mine) and each guest writes the name of one item that they believe the bride will open as a gift. You can decide how strict you need to be on the rules. My only rule is that you cannot list multiple items from the gift that you brought in a winning line. That takes all of the sport out of it!! I personalize the free space with a picture of the bride-to-be, then make copies on colored paper to match the other decor. A bowl of small candies at each table is my favorite way to mark off spots, but a pencil works too.
How well do you know the bride? is also a good game at the beginning of the party. Come up with a few questions about the engaged couple. Some should be simple enough for everyone to know (like where is the wedding taking place), but be sure to throw in a few hard ones too (like what is the bride's middle name). It is a game after all!! Definitely add some silly questions in there (like what is the bride's favorite body part on the groom!!) A mix of written answers and multiple choice questions works well.
The most important thing when picking questions is that you okay them all with the bride ahead of time. A good giggle isn't worth it if her feelings are hurt.
Special Memories Have each guest write down a special memory they have with the bride, or maybe even the story of how they met. The bride reads them all out loud and has to guess who wrote each. If she cannot guess, then that person wins a prize. (Just in case the bride is having a mental block, make sure you have plenty of small prizes on hand!!) Everyone gets to relive some fond memories, and these can all be added to a scrapbook of the shower later on.
Can/Jar of Dates is a game that I have seen many variations of. Actually this is more of an activity than a game. The end result is a container full of date-night ideas for the bride and groom. Each guest writes down a few suggestions, in detail, about a fun evening for the couple to share. I have seen these written on sheets of paper, and I have seen them written on popsicle sticks (FYI: It's tough to get a lot of detail on a small stick). You can choose whatever looks prettiest with your container, but the important part is that you can color-code whatever you write on. Designate a different color for each level of date: stay-at-home, inexpensive, costly, spontaneous, needs planning, etc... That way when the couple needs an idea for a fun evening, they can pick a color that matches their current circumstances. (I think I need to make one of these for me and my guy!!)
There are plenty of templates online that you can print directly from your computer for games to start the party with. (I simply googled "free bridal shower game templates" and bunches popped up.) If you have the time, it's a really nice touch to make your own and match it to your theme or color scheme.
Here are a few games that can take place sometime during the party.
Bangle Shakedown is a variation on the baby shower clothespin game. Upon arrival, each person is given a bangle bracelet. (You should be able to find a stack of these at your local dollar store.) Choose a few "taboo" words for the day, such as wedding, reception, groom, etc... that are not to be uttered for the length of the party. If someone catches you saying a forbidden word, they get to steal your bangle!! At the end of the shower the most decorated arm is the winner. This will start out happening a lot, die down a bit, and probably start back up again when people let their guard down and forget to watch their "language."
Toilet Paper Wedding Gown Okay, I will admit, this is one of those old games that can sound a bit cheesy, but if you have the right group it's a lot of laughs. If you have a super competitive group, well, you can actually see some amazing dresses, considering what they are made of!! Divide up into teams of 3 or 4 people and give each team a couple of rolls of toilet paper. Set a timer, then each team decorates one of their members in a couture gown of their own making. Follow it up with a fashion show. You can either have the bride judge, or go for a group vote. If no one is allowed to vote for their own dress, it should be a fair win.
A "stand-by game" is one that is simple, everyone usually already knows, and requires little or no preparation. Generally the only props you will need are things that you already have lying around the house, so you aren't out any money if you end up not playing them.
Charades is an easy one (as long as your crowd isn't too shy). All you need is scraps of paper and word ideas.
Pictionary needs the same things, plus a big chalkboard or some big pieces of paper and something to write with.
Purse Raid is another one that really needs nothing but imagination. Call out different items that a woman might have in her purse and give points for each. The one with the most points gets a small prize. All you have to do is come up with a list.
Prizes: You don't need to break the bank on game prizes. Hit the dollar store and get a few girly knick-knacks that are useful or cute. A bag of 3 Ring Pops is only $1= 3 prizes!! Yummy and "engagement ring" themed. An old ritual is that all prizes won get returned to the bride for her to use. I find few people have heard of that one nowadays, and the bride will be getting plenty of stuff already. Whether you do this or not is totally up to you.
Don't forget that the bride opening gifts will take up a large chunk of the shower. If there is a very large guest list, you might even want to take a break or two during to play a quick 5-10 minute game or have another course of appetizers or drinks.
A ritual that I personally enjoy is saving a ribbon or bow from each gift to form a practice bouquet for the wedding rehearsal. What do you do if there is no ribbon on the package? Use some of the wrapping paper to make a paper flower. What if they use a gift bag? The tissue paper from inside the bag makes a great flower too. Make sure if you do this that you remember to finish the bouquet and get it to the bride after the shower.
While we are on the subject of gift-opening, you as the host are responsible for keeping track of which guest gives which gift so that the bride can correctly complete her thank you notes. You can keep track on a sheet of paper while she opens presents, but a couple of even simpler ideas are:
- Write every guest's name on a sticker and simply stick it to the gift after it is opened. I don't suggest using post-it notes. They tend to fall off in transit.
- If a card is included, put it inside the package after it is opened to keep the two together.
- Designate a bag or basket to keep lone cards/ gift cards in one spot.
Here is a link to my own Bridal Showers & Bachelorette Parties Pinterest Board. Pinterest is my favorite place to look for creative inspiration for, well, just about everything!! Loverly is another good site for for getting wedding ideas flowing.
Check back next Wedding Wednesday for another installment in this series. Follow me on Facebook for ideas and info throughout the week. Please feel free to ask questions there or give me some ideas on what you would like to read about. Talk at you soon!!
All of the games listed above I have either done on my own at a shower or have seen on multiple web pages, so there is no way for me to know where the game actually originated. All pictures used in this post are my own.