Recently, a friend emailed me in a panic. She had been roped into helping another friend plan a wedding shower, and had been put in charge of the games and activities! But of course her panic was my fun challenge, so I sat down and came up with a few games and activities I thought would be entertaining at her event. And with wedding season ramping up, I might as well share these ideas -- hopefully they will inspire you too!
(Now, please note, I do not mean to offend anyone by using the terms bride and groom. These games all work for two brides and two grooms as well, but for the ease of denoting one party from the other, I have used bridge and groom in these examples.)
WHAT’S MY CONNECTION? NAME TAGS
A new take on the standard name tag! As guests enter, have them all write their name and how they know the bride on their tag. Sure you’ll get “aunt,” “Mom,” “cousin” -- but encourage folks to write things like “mall-hopping buddy,” “Saturday Night Ice Cream Eater Club President,” “advice hotline operator,” “water cooler gossip girl.” It’s sure to help people break the ice when meeting each other.
ADVICE TO THE BRIDE
Everyone loves to give advice -- the funnier, the better! Give everyone a chance to let the bride in on some of their own secrets to marriage. Get a nice book, some fun pens, cute stickers, and if you can, one of those new Polaroid-like Fujifilm Instax Instant Film Camera. They take these amazingly cute miniature instant photos that are to die for. Have a table set up where guests can sign the book with words of wisdom or funny thoughts. You can have the table set up with the pages all set and ready; we use the scrapbooks that have 12” x 12” plastic slip sheets (I get them at Target or Michaels). Use the corresponding 12” x 12” sheets of scrapbook paper, and as guests complete their pages, slide two back-to-back in each slip sheet to give you a front and back page in your book. That way people aren't standing in line to write in one book; they can do their own page at a big table with all the supplies, then slip it into the book.
This can also be done with favorite food recipes, cleaning tips, etc. If you like, give folks a heads up that it is happening so that they can write cards up ahead of time.
If you are having presents, play “Exclamation Bingo!” Everyone gets a bingo board marked with things like: "OH MY!" "How cute!" "Is that the entire thing?" "Sweet,” "Charming," etc. As each present is opened, people mark the expressions said by guests or the bride-to-be when they see the gift (no fair marking your own remarks, though). The first person to get 5 in a row yells out "Bingo!" and wins a silly little prize. You can have your guests fill in their own remarks ahead of time on a blank bingo board (use our template, which you can download here) or print up a bunch of expressions on address labels (again, see our stickers template) and let guests choose which expressions they want and where they wish to place them on the board (that way no one ends up with the same board).
MATCH THE DECADES
You'll need pictures of the bride and groom at different stages of their lives. If you can get their school pictures from kindergarten up, that would be the best. The object of the game is to match which photos would go together (kindergarten with kindergarten, 1st grade with 1st grade, etc.) The photos would need to be placed on a board where everyone could see them, mixed up and out of order of course, with hers all in a row, and his all in a row. Hers would be numbered 1 through 12 (or K through 12 if you have kindergarten), and his A through M. Give guests a sheet of paper and have them write down the matching pairs (e.g., A and 6, B and 12, etc.)
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE GROOM?
This will take a little prep. If you can get a video camera to film the groom giving his answers, that would be hysterical (of course then you'll also need a TV to play it on...) If you don't have a video camera, or it’s not possible to meet with the groom other than by phone or e-mail, just write down the groom's responses on big flash cards that you can show to the audience. Make sure you swear the groom to secrecy ahead of time so the bride can’t prep her answers.
Come up with a series of questions like these examples... (It’s best to keep them PG, so no one in the crowd becomes uncomfortable.)
- What was the bride to be wearing on your first date?
- Where is the most romantic place the two of you have ever gone?
- What is your bride's secret wish?
- What is your bride's favorite dessert?
- What is your bride’s most annoying habit?
Then, sit the bride down in front of the audience and ask the bride the same questions. It's fun to poll the audience for their thoughts before you reveal the groom's response...
TP WEDDING GOWN
This is an oldie, but a goodie! Have your party form teams of 4 or so. Hand each team a roll of good-quality toilet paper (you don’t want the kind that rips easily) and a roll of Scotch tape. Give each team 15-20 minutes. The object of the game is to create a TP gown (complete with accessories like the veil) using one team member as a model and the other three as the designers. When the time is up, hold a fashion show, complete with photos. Let the bride decide the winner.
MY PERFECT MAN
Here’s a chance for the bride/or host to see how well she knows her guests. (Note: if this is a large party, where the bride/host doesn’t know anyone, this is not a good game to play.) Have all of the guests write down their ideal celebrity husband. It should be someone everyone knows from the media, although a very popular fictional character (like Sherlock Holmes) is also acceptable. Place all the slips of paper in a bowl. Have the bride or host choose a few and match them to the appropriate guest.
Again, this will take a little prep. You will need a photo of the groom’s and six of his friends (or random people’s) bare feet. Blow the photos up to at least 8 ½ x 11 and line them up on a table or board so that they can all be seen at the same time. The bride must pick the groom’s feet. (This can also be played with live participants if you can have the groom and some buddies stop by the party. In that case, blindfold the bride and use touch as the only factor. You can rename the game “Grope the Groom,” and change the body part from feet to knees, calves, hands, arms... but just one body part). (And again, let’s keep it PG-rated!)
If all else fails, it’s always fun to have folks share their favorite memories of the bride. It’s fun to find out that the bride once folded 1,000 paper cranes or cried at the last Harry Potter movie. Just remember, the idea of a bridal shower is for friends and family to get together, mingle, laugh, and get to know each other a bit, so that they can reconnect easily at the actual wedding. It’s a bunch of people coming together with one common element: the bride. So remember to make the bride feel special, not on the spot or persecuted. Have fun, keep it light, and above all else, shower the bride with love!