Always the Bridesmaid: Bridal-Shower Games

Finding the fine line between lovely and lame.

I don’t typically play games that aren’t on a court, a field, a board, or my computer. But there are times in life when trivia contests and icebreakers are certain to sneak their way in—whether it be preteen birthday parties, corporate team-building exercises, or even bridal showers.

I’m not opposed to the idea of playing games at a bridal shower—they can be really fun, they get people talking, and you’re certainly granted more lenience and creativity than at a company holiday party (where it can get tough after a few beverages to name all the reindeer or find the four employees who have with the company there longest). In fact, it was only a few years ago that I attended a friend’s shower that was centered around games. I tried to recall them all to make a list—a potential guide for the games we could play at Ducky’s bridal shower in April (or a guide of what not to play!). Maybe I’ll even let Angie’s maid of honor poach ideas for that shower as well!

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Plant the Kiss on the Hunk. Actually, to be specific, it’s plant the kiss on the poster of the (naked?) hunk. This game was definitely entertaining the last time I played it. This game is especially appropriate for a young group. It’s perfect if the bride has a celebrity crush that’s well known to the attendees (LL Cool J would be mine, for instance). There are other options for mixed audiences and special circumstances, though.

Alternate play: When the guest list is mostly composed of aunts and grandmothers, make sure the hunk is clothed. And if the bride’s fiancé is likely to catch a glimpse of the damage—try getting a poster of Lance Bass, Screech Powers/Dustin Diamond, or a similarly nonthreatening male.

How Well Do You Know the Bride? For women who aren’t afraid to take a gamble on the bride’s sense of humor, this might be an option. I have no problem on that front—but maybe on another. I’m sort of competitive, so in an effort to prove my superiority at a game like this, I’d probably create some foot-in-mouth situation with stories of old boyfriends.

But there’s a solution—have the guests share in the agony, too! I have a great old board game that would do the trick—the game is called True Colors, but the concept is easily duplicated. Dream up a bunch of embarrassing, incriminating, or personally devastating circumstances (throw in a few compliments for good measure). Then, under the cover of anonymity, let everyone vote for the one person at the shower most likely to “end up licking Snoop Dogg’s toes in a rap video” or to “land herself in the federal penitentiary.” It’s an amusing game, to say the least.

Toilet Paper the Bride. At my friend’s bridal shower a few years back, we broke out rolls of toilet paper, divided up into two teams, and timed ourselves to see which crew could craft a gown of Quilted Northern first.

The game was fine, but I might have to nix this one from my list. Playing that game reminded me of growing up within a roll’s throw of two teachers living in my neighborhood throughout grade school. It brought back memories of a friend I knew who went to prom in a dress made entirely of duct tape. I can’t remember if it was a going-green thing or an economical thing—more likely it was just a Jen thing. Shoot, surely we could find a bridal-shower game involving duct tape.

Bride-centric Trivia. Surely nothing makes a bride happier than some ego-aggrandizing trivia. Angie is graduating from veterinary school this year, so maybe we could play a “pin the organs on the appropriate livestock” game. Or for Ducky, a= law student, we could play “name the author of that amicus brief” (one of the few legal terms I know that I didn’t get from Law & Order or The West Wing). For my friend in Texas who’s getting married—she’s a whiz in exercise science—she could have a crunches competition. A great opportunity for all of us to relive those college days when we paid dearly for our foolish attempts to keep up with her at the gym.

Groom-centric Trivia. This game is only for the bride, though in entertainment value, one might argue the game actually is meant to delight the guests. It requires some work on the part of the shower hostess ahead of time. Make up questions for the bride that are about the groom, and have her answer them in front of the party. See how her answers match the groom’s in regard to his favorite color, his most despised vegetable, and the number of children he hopes to have. Find out lots of personal information that no one would know about the groom. Then disregard all of that and craft questions that you know the bride will get right!

I know there are many more party games out there that I have yet to try. So my plan is to keep adding to this list. Ideas, anyone? If one of my bride friends reads this, don’t worry. This reminiscing exercise has given me some ideas about what I definitely won’t do, too. But . . . no promises. I did just buy an econo-size pack of Quilted Northern.


Katie, a local bridesmaid-to-be, writes occasionally about planning for and being part of three (and counting) friends' weddings in one year. To follow her adventures from the beginning, click here.

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