Spice up the soiree with a set of bridal shower games. Our picks cover the classic, ladylike, thought-provoking, and just plain hilarious types alike. Now all you need is an adventurous, fun-loving spirit and guests who share your gusto. Here are 16 of our favourite bridal shower games:
- Great for: Traditional crowds
- How to play: Select 10 simple, standard recipes (examples: brownies, gazpacho, angel food cake, tuna salad). Type them up, leaving out one ingredient per recipe. Photocopy them (each guest gets one copy of each recipe). At the start of the shower, supply each guest with the recipes and instruct them to a) write their name on each recipe and b) indicate what they think the missing ingredient is. While the bride opens her gifts, one of the maids can collect the recipes and tally up points (whoever could correctly name the most missing ingredients wins). Award a small, cooking-themed prize such as a wooden spoon, a potholder, or an apron.
- Pointers: Turn this tame activity into a devilish drinking game — use cocktail recipes instead and serve up some bold beverages.
Two Truths & a Lie
- Great for: Breaking the ice
- How to play: Each guest must introduce herself and then tell the group three things about herself — two are true, one is a lie. Then the remaining guests must each guess which statement was false. When each guest has placed her bet, the “liar” must confess to her lie. The truths are often way wackier than the made-up lies — which creates opportunities for story swapping (and is generally hilarious).
- Pointers: Shy guests needn’t freeze with indecision when it’s their turn. Advise them to theme the three statements. For example, “My first car was a navy Saab, I’ve been in five car accidents, and I got my driver’s licence when I was 26.” In certain circles, this good-natured game can take a sexy turn. If you think this won’t be appropriate, be sure to lay down some ground rules beforehand.
- Great for: Entertaining guests while the bride opens her gifts
- How to play: On the first line of a long sheet of paper, write a sentence referring to the bride as if you were beginning a poem (example: “Tess and Toby met at the office”). Attach the paper to a clipboard and pass it to a guest, instructing her to compose a line right below the first, continuing the verse (“She was fair and he was swarthy”). This guest folds the paper so that only the newest line shows, and passes the clipboard to the next guest, and so on. When the paper has circulated to every guest, the maid of honour should retrieve the paper, unfold it, and read the zany, haphazard poem to the bride when she has finished gift-opening.
- Pointers: The lines of the poem needn’t rhyme. Also, try to theme the game around the bride and her upcoming marriage (but don’t let on to the bride). When you read the poem aloud you can say something like, “Tess, we wrote a poem about you and Toby — we think it really captures the true story of your love.”
- Great for: Intimate showers, where guests know each other well
- How to play: A guest starts thinking of one of the other guests and keeps her choice a secret. The other guests take turns guessing who’s on her mind. The guessers must determine the answer through creative questions such as, “If she were a fabric, what kind of fabric would she be?” and “If she were a television show, what show would she be?” or “If she were a cocktail, what cocktail would she be?” The more imaginative the questions, the more intriguing the the clues that help guests determine the identity of the mystery woman. If a guest thinks she can identify her, she may say so when it’s her turn. If she’s wrong, she’s out of the game for that round. If she’s right, it’s her turn to choose a person and field questions.
- Pointers: You’ll need at least 10 guests to keep this game interesting — otherwise it’s way too obvious who the woman in question is.
- Great for: Adventurous, women-only crowds; couple showers
- How to play: Players take turns completing the phrase “I never….” Example: “I never had sex at the zoo.” Anyone who has done the deed must drink while the rest of the crowd whoops and demands to know the gory details. The seasoned guest must only give the detailed story if he/she is the only one who drank.
- Pointers: At a women-only shower, go all out and make the honoree blush as every raunchy detail of her once uncommitted love life comes back to haunt her. At a couple shower, keep the tone a little tamer so no one lets harmful skeletons out of the closet.
- Great for: Laughs
- How to play: Conspire with the bride before the shower. At an appointed time, casually mention to the crowd that you two have an uncanny spiritual connection and, through the years, you’ve even been able to read each other’s mind. The bride can nod in agreement. Ad lib as much as needed to convince your audience. Offer to prove your psychic powers: the bride should volunteer to leave the room. You and the rest of the party should select an object in the room — the bride will have to guess what the object is using her ESP talents. To do this, you will point to various objects in the room saying, “Is it this pen?” “Is it this chandelier?” “Is it this cocktail napkin?” The bride will respond “no” until you point to the correct object, whereupon the bride will gleefully shout “Yes!” The catch? The bride will know what the correct object is because the object you point to just before it will be the colour black. Meanwhile, guests will be totally freaked out.
- Pointers: Don’t mess up. Practice your poker face — in order to successfully dupe the crowd, you’ll have to seem sincere. And you don’t have to explain the trick to them unless you really want to. Keep them in suspense!
Words of Wisdom
- Great for: Sentimental crowds
- How to play: Tuck a pretty blank card into the shower invitations and include a note asking guests to inscribe the card with their advice for a happy marriage. They should come to the shower prepared to read their card to the group. Their words of wisdom, encouragement, and well-wishing can be in the form of a recipe, a poem, a humorous anecdote, and so on. Encourage guests to be creative. After all the cards have been read, the maid of honour can compile them in a scrapbook for the bride. This sweet activity goes especially well with dessert!
- Pointers: This is a great activity for crowds who might be prone to pooh-pooh shower games. Want an alternative plan? Have a beautiful blank book on hand at the shower, and invite each guest to write messages in the pages. Have a bridesmaid keep tabs on who signs, so that no one’s excluded.
Arts & Crafts
- Great for: Breaking the ice; artistic crowds
- How to play: Pretend you’re a camp counselor again, and plan a calm, laid-back arts-and-crafts project. Buy enough Play-Doh, paper, fingerpaint, or collage materials for all of your guests. Ask them to create mementos or visual messages that remind them of the bride or couple.
- Pointers: Don’t plan anything too messy. Guests might grumble about marring their manicures or staining their clothes. Consider providing smocks.
Wedding Night Preview
- Great for: Laughs
- How to play: While the bride opens her gifts, a bridesmaid secretly takes note of the bride’s exclamations. For example, “Oooohh it’s so beautiful!” or “You’ll have to show me how this works, okay?” When all the gifts have been opened, the mischievous maid will come forward and read the bride’s comments to the group as the (sexy) things she’ll be shouting out on her wedding night.
- Pointers: We know it sounds corny, but trust us — this party trick is a hoot every time.
- Great for: Traditional crowds
- How to play: Create bingo cards, but instead of BINGO, write BRIDE along the top margin. Instead of numbers, list miscellaneous items relating to weddings. Example: All the items listed in Column B could be “Places the bride wanted to honeymoon.” The items in this row could be Tahiti, Fiji, Jamaica, etc. The maids should spend a Saturday afternoon brainstorming to create a list of items to call from. When playing the game, follow regular bingo protocol. The first guest to mark off a line horizontally, vertically, or diagonally wins. Award prizes to the winner(s).
- Pointers: Facilitate card-making by using Microsoft Word or Excel. And think about using candy hearts as markers!
- Great for: Breaking the ice; couple showers; intimate showers
- How to play: Team up with the bride to write one juicy question about every guest on index cards. Examples: “Who was Jamie’s first kiss?” “Who did Tim bring to the senior prom?” “What was the bride’s mum’s most recent purchase?” Questions can be pure or provocative — it’s up to you. Arrange the cards in a basket by the front door. When guests arrive, tell them to pick a card and explain that they have one hour to come up with the answer to the juicy question. They can do this through speaking with other guests (which will force them to introduce themselves, swap info, figure out how they know the bride, etc.) or by posing the question to the person directly. When an hour has passed, each guest must come forward and share the “gossip” with the group.
- Pointers: If you think the bride will be a good sport, play a variation of this game at an intimate shower. Here, the bride leaves the room while each guest writes down a juicy tidbit about her on a strip of paper. The maid of honour collects the papers, jumbles them up in a bowl, and calls the bride back into the room. Then the maid of honour reads out each piece of gossip while the bride guesses who said what. If the bride can correctly identify the trash-talker, the guilty culprit has to leave the room and subject herself to the same ordeal. If the bride’s wrong, the gossip session continues.
- Great for: Traditional crowds
- How to play: This classic shower game requires that every guest bring her purse to the shower (a given). Before guests arrive, the maid of honour creates a list of objects that are likely to be found in guests’ purses. Items can be banal (lipstick, pill box, mints, video store card) or bawdy (used tissue, underwear, a condom), but they should start out ordinary and become increasingly more obscure. At the shower, the maid of honour calls out the items on the list and the first guest to produce each object wins a small prize.
- Pointers: To get more mileage out of the game, you might want to play in installments, calling out objects at different points throughout the shower.
- Great for: Breaking the ice; couple showers
- How to play: Before the shower, make a list of pairs that belong together (for example: Owl & Pussycat, Mork & Mindy, R2D2 & C3PO). Write down names (one half of a pair) on labels, post-its, or sticky name-tags. As the guests arrive, slap a tag to their back so that everyone else can see their name (no guest will know his or her own identity). Have guests mingle and mill about, posing yes-or-no questions to each other. Examples: “Am I a fictional character?” “Am I living?” Am I a food?” Their mission is to a) determine who they are, and b) to pair up with their “other half.” The game doesn’t end until everyone finds his or her partner.
- Pointers: To give this game a romantic vibe (it’s for a wedding shower, after all), pick pairs of famous lovers. Think Marge & Homer, Tarzan and Jane, Bonnie & Clyde, and so on.
- Great for: Breaking the ice; competitive crowds
- How to play: Split guests up into two teams. Each member of each team writes the names of 10-20 celebrities (whoever constitutes “famous” to your group; i.e., both Mum and Madonna are fair game) on separate strips of paper. Throw all the names into a hat and mix them around.
Player 1 from Team A draws a name from the hat (example: Madonna), stands up, and tries to explain her celebrity pick to her teammates without actually saying “Madonna” (example: “Material Girl,” “Like a Prayer,” etc). If her teammates guess correctly, the slip of paper is put aside, and Player 2 draws a new name and goes on as before. Team A has one minute to get through as many names as possible. Then, Team B does the same thing (also for one minute). The two teams compete in this fashion until all the names are out of the hat. Each team records the number of names they guessed correctly (one point per name).
All of the strips of paper are thrown back into the hat. The play procedure is the same, except players may use only one word to communicate the celebrity name to their teammates (example: Material).
Proceed as in the previous two rounds, except now players must silently act out the celebrity names using gestures, poses, dances, etc. When all of the names have been expired, each team counts up their points from all three rounds — the highest score wins.
- Pointers: If you’re going to have some cultural snobs on your hands, explain to them that obscure celebrities are strongly discouraged. The names should be familiar to all.
- Great for: Couple showers
- How to play: Prepare strips of paper that describe situations in the couple’s history as well as scenes that might arise in the future. Example: “John tells Jane he can’t go to the play with her because he made plans to play darts with the boys,” or “Jane calls John from San Diego to say she’s extended her trip by two weeks,” or “Jane and John discuss baby names a month before the due date.” John and Jane get front-row seats (with a nice bottle of wine to dull the pain) and guests come onstage in pairs, draw a slip, read it aloud, and act out the scene as John and Jane. Incorporate the future bride’s and groom’s unique tics and mannerisms, as well as characteristic phrases and expressions. John and Jane get score cards — from 0 to 10 — with which they will rate each duo’s performance for accuracy.
- Pointers: The tone should be naughty, not vicious.
- Great for: Traditional crowds
- How to play: Hand out pieces of grid paper to guests, with the bride’s first name written out across the top margin (example: LIZ). The left margin should list several categories (for example: flowers, cities, restaurants, household products, colours, etc.) Each guest must then come up with words that a) fit each category, and b) start with the letters forming the bride’s name, writing them in the corresponding grid square (example: lilac, iris, zinnia…). They should be allowed no more than five minutes to complete their grids. When time is called, each guest must read off what they wrote. If other guests have chosen the same words, the word gets disqualified. The goal is to acquire the greatest number of unique words. Award a prize to the winner.
- Pointers: This game can be both challenging and nerve-wracking, but that’s part of the fun. Also, debates over the validity of certain words inevitably will arise — the maid of honour may have to moderate. If the game is well received and the crowd wants to play another round, choose words like “WEDDING,” “BRIDE”, “MARRIAGE”, and “GROOM.”
by Amy Elliott