In Defense of the Bridal Shower (and 5 activities to make them more meaningful)

Bridal showers sometimes get a bad rap.  To some, they come off as cookie cutter spectacles existing only to embellish the already over-glorified and under-contemplated extravagance of modern wedding celebrations.  To others, they suck.  Regardless of your level of verbosity, I get it.  Who wants to spend two hours watching someone ooh and ahh over gifts she knew she was getting anyway.  The whole thing can seem like an exercise in conceit and superfluity.

I have to admit that some days I’ve wished I were so morally committed to minimalism and humility that I had forbade my family and friends from throwing me a shower and had insisted on a whisper of a wedding.  Instead, my events were big screaming things.  Well, let’s say big joyful singing things.  Definitely not whispers though.

Bridal showers certainly aren’t for everyone, but as a recent bride, frequent guest (did I mention Ari and I have 11 weddings in the next year or so?), and repeat bridesmaid, I happen to like them.  For the bride, it’s a day filled with love and excitement.  You get to spend time celebrating with all of the important women in your life.  It was so special for me to have a party planned by my mom, thrown by my grandmas, and executed by life-long friends and sisters-to-be.  Seeing aunts and cousins come from far away or from far in my past made me so happy.  And celebrating with new friends and family-to-be beautifully accentuated the upcoming melding of lives.  A little gushy, I know.  But it was nice.

Me and my mom at my shower last June

Me and my mom at my shower last June

As a guest, I like the opportunity to get excited with the bride about her upcoming nuptials.  I like the opportunity to tell her I’m happy for her, I like to play the silly games, I like to socialize with hopefully interesting people, and I like to enjoy a drink or two.  (No one actually likes watching people open presents, but it’s part of the deal- am I right?).  It ain’t so bad, especially if it’s for someone you care about.

With all that said, we know showers can go either way- tedious and vain or warm and endearing.  Here are some ideas to help your shower be more of the latter.

1. Meet the Maids
Create a display dedicated to each of the bridesmaids.  Include information about how they met the bride, how long they’ve known her, secret handshakes, embarrassing moments, whatever!  It allows guests who may not know them all to feel more included and invested in the wedding festivities.

Meet the Maids

Meet the Maids

2. Advice Cards

These can be executed a million ways.  I’ve seen advice written on rocks, puzzle pieces, and even Popsicle sticks.  Ask for wedding day (or night!) advice, date night suggestions, or favorite recipes.  Make the bride blush a little more by asking guests to list her best qualities.  For the shower this past Sunday for my brother’s fiance Kaitlin, we put a few of these ideas together and even asked the guests to draw picture of the bride and groom. (adapted from Bridal Guide)

Imagine getting a box full of these at the end of the party

Imagine getting a box full of these at the end of the party

3. Who’s Who
Couples trivia gives the party-goers a sense of why we should be celebrating.  There are a lot of ways to play this- just make sure you keep it PG (no one really wants to know who stinks up the bathroom more or who prefers to be on top!).   For Kaitlin’s shower, we asked a list of 10 questions beginning with “Who is more likely to…”.  Kaitlin and Dan had given us the answers beforehand.  Each table deliberated and then demonstrated their answer by holding up either a mustache or a pair of lips.

Here’s the list of questions we considered:

Who is more likely to…
1. take out the trash/2. climb a tree/3. watch an entire TV marathon/4. call customer service to complain/5. cook dinner/6. spend a lot of time on Facebook/7. remember birthdays/8. make the bed/9. spoil the end of a movie/10. sing in the shower/11. get a speeding ticket/12. sneak food into a movie/13. want children first/14. want more children/15. have the remote/16. exercise/17. complain when he or she is sick/18. get injured/19. be running late/20. clean the bathroom/21. fall asleep first/22. cry during the wedding ceremony/23. steal the covers/24. jump out of a plane


Who’s Who props can be repurposed for a fun photo shoot!

4. Know the Groom
Huge props on this one to my maid of awesome and my video-editing husband.  In this game for the bride, the groom poses questions about him and their relationship via video.  She must respond correctly, or else face a ruthless punishment, like taking another piece of bubble gum or choosing a chore to do for her hubby.  Really, Know the Groom is best explained by example.

My ham of a husband

5. Guess the Memory

A little time consuming and energy-intensive, but a good way to up the nostalgia and sentiment in the room.  This game is probably best for smaller gatherings.  Have each person write a memory they have of/with the bride (this can be done beforehand, too).  The bride reads each one aloud and guesses who wrote the lovely story.  Cue the waterworks.

(Disclaimer:  Most, if not all of these ideas have come from friends and the internet.  These are simply a collection of the best ideas I’ve seen.)

Lastly, I want to leave you with a completely meaningless and unsentimental, but HILARIOUS bridal shower game that I can’t wait to play at someones’ upcoming shower (pleeease??).  I hope the next shower you sit through go to is meaningful and lighthearted.  But if not, there’s always this:


3 thoughts on “In Defense of the Bridal Shower (and 5 activities to make them more meaningful)

  1. Sam! I’m anxiously sitting by the phone and waiting for my beau to call. After 2 years we’ve decided to shack up, and he’s on the phone with a broker right now negotiating a deal for an apartment we could call our love nest. So to distract myself, I’m catching up on your blog….and this entry is super! I watched the “Know Your Groom” video and CRACKED UP….so great! (PS. Do I get bonus points for correctly guessing “astronaut”?) I love these ideas,* and I am so glad you had such a pleasing and meaningful bridal shower!

    *No wedding here for me. One step at a time!

  2. Pingback: Why Blog? | Can May Should Will

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