Oh wedding showers. For something that involves all of my favorite activities—parties, booze, and games—I don’t know how we’ve managed to make them so un-fun. Maybe it’s the forced awkwardness of all those wedding games. Or the assumption that everyone is an extrovert (and the awkwardness of all those wedding games). Because if I’m at a party with both my mother-in-law and my aunts and my best friends from college, there’s nothing I love more than the wink-wink-nudge-nudge of pseudo-sexy Mad Libs derived from your reaction to opening presents. (Yes that’s a real game I have played at a shower before.)
But the problem with wedding showers isn’t necessarily that there are wedding games (games can be a great way to break the ice, especially with multi-generational guests). It’s usually the kinds of games. Not that I mind bridal bingo—I’ll put my game face on for anyone I love—but that can’t be the best we can do, right? So with that in mind, here are six ideas for wedding games you can play at your shower, that don’t involve an abominable amount of setup, and promise to be fun instead of awkward (and none of them involve toilet paper).
wedding games to break the ice
Telephone, Pictionary Style
There’s an official board game version of this called Telestrations (which I highly recommend for your Friday game night), but you can do it with a bunch of those mini spiral notepads. The wedding game is essentially telephone, but with drawing instead of whispering. Wedding game play goes like this: the party host writes a word on the first page of each notepad. Then the first person in possession of the notepad has to draw the word to the best of their abilities. The next person then can only look at the page with the drawing on it and must write down their guess as to what the original word was. Then the next person draws a picture based off of that person’s guess, and it goes on until everyone at your table or at the shower (depending on party size) has gone around and the notepad is in the original owner’s hands. The “official” goal is for the last guess to match the actual word, but it’s obviously way more fun when it doesn’t. Make it wedding themed by having all your original words be wedding themed. How does one draw “vows” exactly? Works best in groups of eight to ten, so if you’re having a large party, you might want to play by table or in small groups.
Another great wedding game icebreaker is Celebrity, or Heads Up, and it’s probably the easiest to set up. Buy notecards and put a word on the back of each. You can keep them within a theme (things you’ll find at a wedding) or general pop culture. Then one guest at the party (or table, depending on the size of your shower) chooses a card and places it on their forehead without looking at what it says. The rest of the guests or people at their table must give clues without saying what the word is, and hope that the person guesses it. And if you don’t want to bother with note cards, you can always assign one person at each table or a handful of guests to download the Heads Up app, which the benevolent Ellen DeGeneres has made available for us on both iPhone and Android.
TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE
If you have ever been to a sleepover, you’ve probably played this game, but it might not occur to you that you don’t have to be ten years old to like it (or that you could make it a wedding game later). It’s also a great intro for guests who are new to one another. Here’s how it works:
Each guest tells the group three experiences he or she has had with the couple: one is a lie, two are true. Everyone takes a turn guessing which one they think is a lie (or the group can just shout out what they think).
Wedding Games to Entertain a Crowd
chubby bunny, with gum and trivia
Here’s how this wedding game works: one person (or the group) comes up with a bunch of questions to ask one partner about the one the wedding shower is for (fifteen is solid). For example, you can ask where they met, what book the partner likes the most, etc. You record all of the responses, and at the shower you ask the guest of honor the questions in real time. He or she has to guess what their partner answered, and every time the answers don’t match or the answers are wrong, he or she has to pop a piece of gum into their mouth—the chewier, the better (think Bubble Yum). This also works if both partners are invited; just turn it into a competition to see who can still talk by the end of the round.
PUB TRIVIA gets personal
Sometimes trivia at showers can be isolating. What if you’re the new friend who got invited to the wedding, and not the BFF who’s known the couple for twenty years? Easy. Multiple-choice questions that are so hilarious you don’t care if you get them right or not. Here’s how this one will work: gather up enough information about the engaged couple to properly arm yourself for the shower. This means if you’re having five guests, you might need twenty questions. If you’re expecting twenty guests, you might want more than that. Once you have your questions and answers from the couple, create multiple-choice options for the wedding shower guests.
Example question: What did Alex say to Sam the first time they met?
A: I’d be mad at you, but I really like your hair.
B: I’m the king of the world!
C: Did you actually like The Incredible Hulk, or are you just a really big Ed Norton fan?
D: Want to see how far I can spit?
The game can (obviously) be as hilarious as you want to make it.
Mad Libs (without the innuendo)
I love Mad Libs. Who doesn’t? But you know what I do not love? The kind of bridal shower Mad Libs with weird innuendo. Like where if the couple says, “Oh, it’s bigger than I expected,” when opening up a toaster, and then you put that in a list of things they might say to each other on their wedding night. Because I don’t know about you, but if we had done that at my shower, my Nana would die just so she could roll over in her grave. But! The secret sauce of Mad Libs is that they’re funniest when you’re not trying to be funny. So print out some sample wedding vows, and leave some spaces strategically blank. For example:
TODAY, I PROMISE YOU THIS: I will VERB with you in times of NOUN, and VERB you in times of NOUN. I will VERB in your dreams and VERB you as you strive to achieve your NOUN. I will listen to you with NOUN and NOUN, and speak to you with NOUN. Together, let us build a home filled with NOUN, NOUN and NOUN, shared freely with all who may VERB there. Let us be partners, friends and PLURAL NOUN, today and all of the days that follow.
Alternatively, this roundup from Pop Sugar has a bunch of great printable wedding Mad Libs that won’t make your family feel awkward.
WHAT OTHER WEDDING GAMES DO YOU LIKE TO PLAY AT A SHOWER? tell us all about wedding games that are actually fun to play!