A few things to keep in mind when planning shower games:
– The Bachelorette Party comes later. Know your audience for this event (mothers, grandmothers, younger siblings/cousins, coworkers, etc.) and understand that this is not a time to embarrass the bride and groom, to tell really embarrassing/inappropriate stories, to give a lot of sexy lingerie (although a nice robe or teddy may be given by an older family member) or to drink like it’s a Saturday night in the city. Keep in mind that most showers are classy yet fun and a special tribute to the character and relationship of the bride & groom.
– You’ll want to pick 2 or 3 games at the most, you should try to mix up games that include sitting and standing/activity games so guests can get up and move around a bit You’ll want to spread them out a bit throughout the shower (not play them all at once) so that nobody feels overwhelmed or frustrated. Also, guests will want to mingle and enjoy the food and drinks (if applicable), and everyone will want to socialize with the bride (and vice versa), so be sure to leave some time for unplanned fun as well as planned fun! A great planning guide and shower planning timeline can be found here!
– Gift-opening can be a long and arduous task, but you can do a few things to expedite the process. Having helpers in charge of passing gifts to/from the bride, writing down gifts and gift-givers, collecting trash, taking pictures, loading gifts onto a cart or into a car, making a ribbon bouquet, etc. will help keep it speedy yet efficient, which is especially important for large showers with lots of gifts. Plan a good amount of time in the middle of the shower for Gift Opening, and consider a game such as Gift Bingo or The Timer Game (see below) to entertain guests during this time. Keep scissors on hand (multiple pairs, as the bride may want one for opening, and a bridesmaid may want one for the bouquet/hat-making process).
To help move things along, if there’s a meal, the bride & bridesmaids can eat first, then move on to gifts while everyone else is eating. Keep in mind that you can also take a break in the middle for dessert and keep it relaxed so guests know they can get up and stretch/use the bathroom/etc. in the middle.
– Prizes motivate game-weary guests to participate and encourage everyone to have fun, so grab or prepare some prizes in advance! Starbucks Gift Cards, Seasonal Soaps from Bath & Body Works, Purse Hooks, Handheld Cosmetic Mirrors, Scratch Lottery Tickets, Candles, Treats, Centerpieces, Stationery, whatever you would want! You’ll want to decide how many prizes you’ll need for each game and be sure to have enough (or to be safe, more than enough) in advance.
– Plan games for guests of all ages. You don’t want them to be so easy that everyone will finish right away and it’ll be difficult to determine the winner, but you also don’t want it to be so hard or complicated that anybody feels excluded or doesn’t have fun.
Individual Games (Good to play upon arrival):
Whatever You Do, Don’t Say ________- Early in the shower, inform guests that they are not supposed to say a certain word (Bride, Wedding, Honeymoon) during the party. Give each guest a ring (a ring pop, a plastic ring or a light-up ring would all work). If you hear someone saying the word, you can call them out on it and take their ring. At the end of the shower, the guest who has collected the most rings wins.
Who Said It? – Guests each have a piece of paper with 15-20 quotes (you can use fb, twitter, texts, in-person conversations, and even ‘interview’ the bride and groom with questions about their relationship prior to the shower). They have to check if they think it was the bride or the groom who said it. Answers are revealed and guests with the most correct answers receive a prize.
Couple’s crossword puzzle– Go onto a site like this one and enter a bunch of clues and answers that relate to the couple, their relationship, their engagement and their wedding. Create a crossword puzzle, print out copies for everybody, and ask guests to figure it out. The first person (or first 3 or 5) to finish receive(s) a prize.
Wedding Trivia– I like this one! Put together a trivia ‘game show’ with questions that deal with general wedding knowledge and specific marital fun facts. Check out theknot for 50 Wedding Traditions & Superstitions for help! Little Known Facts has a great collection of little-known-facts and backgrounds, too! Split into two teams, give teams a ‘buzzer’ (a bell or noisemaker) and ask questions aloud. After 15-20 questions, the team with the most points wins and guests on that team receive a prize.
Date Night Ideas- Give guests a large wooden popsicle stick, an index card or something to write on. Ask them to write down ideas for a date night for the bride & groom. Collect and present to the bride.
Write A Special Message for the Bride- Ask guests to write a special message to the bride (and groom) on an index card or special small piece of paper. Take photos of each guest solo or with the bride at the shower, then compile it all into a small scrapbook and give it to the bride on the morning of the wedding. This is sure to be a pleasant surprise for the bride and a sweet collection of memories for a long time to come.
Multiple Choice Trivia Game About the Bride & Groom- Give guests a sheet of paper with multiple choice questions about the bride and groom, how they met, their favorite foods/colors/places to travel, etc. Take advantage of moms and sisters who may be involved in the planning and ask questions about when the bride and groom were younger as well! Ask guests to answer the best that they can, and the person with the most points wins a prize. Alternately, you can print out these questions and split them onto 2 sides of a paper (one about the bride and one about the groom), as shown below. Another variation on this game, What Would the Bride Say?, involves a bunch of questions that guests answer AND the bride answers. Any guests who write the same answer that the bride does, get a point. The guest with the most points, wins.
How Old Was She? Look at photos of the bride and guess her age in each photo. Whoever has the most correct answers gets a prize.
Recipes- Ask guests to write down a favorite recipe on an index card to share with the happy couple. Collect recipes in a box and organize by meal. You can send this card with your invitations to give guests some time to plan and write recipes in advance.
Keys to Marriage- LOVE this one! Buy 5 decorative keys (can be found at a craft store) and attach each of them to a ribbon with a tag that says ‘finances’, ‘romance’, ‘home management’, ‘parenthood’, or ‘communication’. Ask guests to write 1 piece of advice for each category (shown on round tags), and as they present their advice to the bride, they can tie them onto each key’s ribbon with another little ribbon.
Continue on to Part 2 for Some Icebreaker/Partner/Team/Group Games!