Torture-free wedding showers #Parties & Showers#crafts#croquet#wedding shower Updated Oct 12 2015 (Posted Apr 20 2009) Megan Finley Horowitz meggyfin Yeah, getting lingerie from my future MIL wasn't awkward AT ALL. Ah, the "wedding shower" — A wonderful tradition rife with feminist solidarity and celebrations of love, marriage and family bonding? Or, for some of us, torture in the form of humiliating games and awkward, voyeuristic present-opening rituals? If I were to answer this from my own experience (see the picture of me to the left, taken during my nightmare wedding shower), I'd have to say a little of the former and whole lot of the latter. But fear not this same cruel fate! It doesn't have to go down like that! Unless, of course, you're INTO the traditional games and present-fare. If that's the case — more power to you, I wish you crates of toilet paper and all the "oohs and ahhs" of present openings a-plenty. But for future brides, family members, bestest friends and future-in-laws, that are dreading the wedding shower and all it usually entails… put down those rolls of toilet paper and read this… Themed Wedding Showers: (FYI, these could work for both "girls only" and "co-ed" wedding showers.) Wonderland themed bridal shower. Photo uploaded by Tribe member Niamh. "Garden Party" "Let's all plant little things together and let them grow like Jane and Kimmy's lerv!" This theme can also work for "green" brides. You could help the bride and groom start a garden in their new home or go somewhere and all plant trees as gifts to the Earth conscious couple. "Alice in Wonderland Shower" This idea came from Offbeat Bride Tribe member Aimee. Host an offbeat tea party complete with croquet game, funky tea pots and tea related gifts. Rabbit ears and funky hats are encouraged. "Stock the Bar" party For the the couple who lives to entertain. Guests bring bottles of alcohol, martini shakers, stirrers, shot glasses, fun cocktail napkins, wine & champagne, etc. "The Recipe Shower" For the bride or the couple that loves to cook. Have all the guests bring their favorite recipes on a pre-determined size of paper. At the end put all the recipes in a cool recipe book that the couple will have forever. Hannah uploaded this to our Flickr pool and said, "These were painted at my craft party bridal shower and then used as cups so we didn't have to waster plastic and paper." Crafty Showers: "Wedding Crafts Party" Is the bride into DIY projects? Maybe you can have the guests help out on any of the projects that need to be completed for the wedding — Oragami flowers? Place-cards for the reception? It could be a way to get the projects done and make people feel like they participated somehow in the wedding. "Pottery Party" Several Tribe members mentioned hosting a party at a paint-your-own pottery shop. The guests could all paint bowls/dishes/mugs/whatever the newlyweds need for their home, and then give them as gifts at the end of the party! (Click on the photo to the left for more photos and descriptions of one such party.) Group Outings: "Adventure Shower" Just because it's a bridal shower, it doesn't need to be about sitting in a circle and chatting and eating. If you're an adventurer, have it outdoors and around an organized physical activity. What about rock climbing or hiking and then celebrating with champagne at the top of the cliff? "Wine Tasting Shower" Get a group of friends, rent a limo and then spend the day traveling to different wineries. As the wine flows everyone will get more comfortable and get to know each other very well by the end of the trip. Plus for shower gifts, everyone could take turns buying the bride's favorite wines from each stop. Tribe member Emily in the height of toilet paper wedding fashions. Ironic Wedding Showers "Embrace the Cheese" wedding shower Just have fun playing as many cheesy games as possible — the toilet paper wedding dress, the clothespin game, wedding word scrambles, bingo, the purse game, and yes I am writing these all from memory… (horrible horrible memories). And there needs to be an abundance of "cheese platter" appetizers and other "cheesy" foods. Ridiculous "Baby Shower" wedding shower The absurdity of this idea is what appeals to me. Play all the horrible baby shower games instead of wedding shower games. This idea came from when Ariel, during a brain storming session, brought up the baby shower game where people smash chocolate candy into a diaper and then people have to smell the diaper and guess which candy bar it was. So horribly disgustingly wrong at a wedding shower, which makes it so horribly disgustingly RIGHT in my world. Or what about a "baby bottle drink off" with bottles filled with liquor? Then after that play the "change the baby's diaper with one hand" game. Ah, drunken fun with poop jokes and fake babies. That spells fun to me! So there ya go. We hope this helped to save some future brides-to-be from less-than-stellar bridal shower fate. Use any of of these ideas and we promise the bride will be more than just thanking you for the lovely toaster, she'll actually be having a good time! And of course we'd love to hear more ideas from you if you've got 'em. Megan Finley Horowitz When Megan's not writing, traveling, and sleeping, she's eating like the fate of the world depends on it. (You're welcome, world!) You can snoop into her personal life over on her website The Dash and Dine! @meggyfin @thedashanddine @meggyfin PREVIOUS Christina & Aaron's bug and dinosaur-infused wedding at a sake factory NEXT How to plan a wedding from afar: part 2 Show/Hide comments [ 69 ] Thanks you for posting this! My mom has been hounding me about shower stuff, and I've sent her this link to give her some ideas. 🙂 Reply I just forwarded this to my mom, and she replied with one word – "Fabulous!" Reply My shower is this weekend, and my mother wanted none of my imput. I am VERY worried. :-/ Reply oh crap, I think I reported your comment instead of "replying". I TAKE IT BACK! My maid of honor is REALLY excited about the TP wedding dress game. It makes her so happy, I couldn't say no. It'll only be for a couple of hours…But yes, I am worried too. Reply They did the TP dress game at my shower. I thought I'd hate it, but it was actually kind of neat to see people get really creative (some even made bouquets and headpieces). And as the bride-to be, all I had to do was be the judge. As far as corny icebreaker party games go, it's not a bad one. Reply Tp wedding dress? Try tinfoil! she'd kill me dead if I put it on the internet, but there are pictures of my sister wrapped in a tinfoil "dress" that she requested my help doing when we had to throw out our giant roll of foil (suspected mice in the pantry. I do not know why this didn't bug her to have it on her skin, but it was too funny to pass up). Actually, she's my maid of honor, and that memory has taken on some terrifying new implications… Reply This was hilarious and totally helpful. Reply Aww cool you featured my shower. It was tons of fun! I had also posted a bunch more pictures to a post in the decor fetishist archive if anyone wants to see more of the shower for inspiration http://offbeatbride.ning.com/forum/topics/1190964:Topic:75179?id=1190964%3ATopic%3A75179&page=6#comments Reply Very nice post! My bridal shower is in 2weeks, and after going to my MOH baby shower just a few weeks ago where we decorated onesies for the little guy, I thought why not decorate "Marriage Undies" for me at my shower?! The fiance was totally weirded out by my idea, but when he sees the end product like a pair of "DO NOT ENTER" on the bum side undies, then I know he'll get a kick out of it 🙂 Reply Dammit! Where the hell was this article last year when my best friend got married and I stood as her maid of honour?! This would have made things interesting for sure! I'll have the ideas for next time Reply You totally forgot about a candy-themed wedding shower. I didn't have one at all – though now I'm wishing we had a stock-the-bar shower because we do like to drink…er…I mean, entertain. 🙂 Reply Roxie-mine is this Saturday, and I'm nervous too! Thankfully the aunts who are throwing it are very classy and tactful, but I'm realizing I don't know anything beyond the place and time. I think word got out though that I don't like games…..thank goodness my mom knows me well….. Reply I had to plan a shower/bachelorette party from 500 miles away and decided it would be easiest to host a lingerie/sex toy party for only the bridesmaids and the bride. I had one of the consultants come and do her thing. It wasn't very DIY, but it was easy and non-awkward since all the girls are good friends. Reply Thanks for posting this. I have to go to yet another mini-wedding – I mean, wedding shower, which involves 100 guests, tons of food, playing bingo while the bride opens a million presents, playing embarassing games… do i have to go? Oh yeah, i'm a bridesmaid, so I have to ANNOUNCE these games. UGH. I would love the idea of a "Tiffany's" themed tea party with a dessert table in the style of amy atlas…. wouldn't that be divine?? Reply I LOVE this idea!!!! Wow….. 🙂 Reply Mine is coming up in June, and my two college age daughters are my maids of honor, and are VERY busy so I am doing a lot of the work myself 😉 Cool, huh! I am SO down with the "Stock the bar" as the "wishing well"- but my mother is insisting on 'games' which I DETEST! There is such a mixed age group, old aunties and young adults… We are having it at my mother's condo clubhouse, but I need help before I end up playing Bingo and wearing a ribbon hat made out of a paper plate….ugh!!!! Reply I just had my shower this last weekend and it was so much fun. It was a mexican fiesta themed party. We had homemade margaritas and sangria, fun fiesta decorations, awesome chile verde catered in and a pinata with liquor filled chocolates and makeup samples inside. We all had a great time. It was even better when some of the older ladies went home and the boys (FH, dad, brother, and various other male friends) came over to continue the party! Reply haha, I forwarded it to my mom as well! We kinda forgot to even think about a wedding shower.. and I was going to ditch it until I realized it COULD be really fun if we make it.. Plus, I love being surrounded by my hot friends! Thanks for this AMAZING post! Reply Chocolate…in…a…diaper?! The mind boggles!! The whole "shower" phenomenon hasn't taken off in the UK (yet). But a lot of these ideas would be fun alternatives to "hen nights" (when the bride-to-be and her female friends typically go out, often in costume, and booze heavily for many hours… They run rampant through my town on Saturday nights, particularly from now through to September!). A pottery party would be nice and chilled out. How about a home spa party? It could be a bit like a girly sleepover – face packs, manicures etc! If you were feeling rich, you could have a beautician come to your house, but a lot of that stuff is easy to DIY too! Reply Do not fear, hen nights are bachelorette parties here. Same drunken deal! For some reason we are supposed to have 3 special days. Reply yay, you have my paint-the-plates party! =) that was a lot of fun. and i love the other ideas on here. 'embrace the cheese' would be fun (sconnie girl, here) and, knowing my moh (we do a lot of scavenger hunts and mis-adventures together) the 'adventure shower' is not at all unlikely. =) cute ideas! Reply Hah, what an awesome post! As a New Zealander, I really don't understand the point of a bridal shower. Your guests have to bring gifts to the wedding, and your bridesmaids/friends have to pay for the hens night, so why burden them all further? Over here we sometimes have 'kitchen teas' but they're normally a prelude to the hen's night. I love the idea of a spa party as well. For our friend's hen's night we hired a lady to teach us all pole dancing – that was really fun! Even my mum joined in. I also know girls who take burlesque lessons – could work for a shower too. Reply I think hen's night is equivalent to the American bachelorette party. For my family, the bridal shower is for my mother and my aunts and their friends, who are like my aunts….My mom hosted showers for her friend's kids, and now her friends want to do one for me….I guess its more family oriented than the bachelorette party….. I can totally understand not wanting a shower, if the guests feel pressure to give you a gift at the shower & the wedding….but for me, its a family tradition thing, and most people will give me one gift…..I don't care about the presents, i just want to see all the people I love! p.s. I would LOVE to have burlesque lessons…great idea!! Reply I simply love the first picture of this article — it is so telling of the discomfort that accompanies so many brides at their showers. My mother, sister, and sister-in-law bond constantly over tea. It's a special thing for us so I'll definitely be doing a tea party. I hadn't thought of making it extra fun (and a little cheese) with an "Alice in Wonderland" theme. What a good idea! Reply I put my foot down and told my MIL that I did not want a bridal shower. She can have one for all I care, I just won't be there. Instead I decided to include her in some of the planning activities so she doesn't feel excluded. Reply My best friend asked me to be her maid of honor, and though I figured I'd have to plan the shower/bachelorette party. I was at a loss for what to do (with the exception of having another friend teach some burlesque). THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THESE IDEAS!!!! Reply you guys are VERY VERY WELCOME! I'll be super happy if I can at least save just ONE bride from a horribly painful wedding shower fate with this little article. And I love that so many of you are forwarding this to your moms. That makes me smile. 🙂 Reply My sister hosted a super cool wedding shower for me and my fiance. All guests were asked to bring a 'date in a bag.' Everyone had to write step by step instructions for us to follow on our date on an index card and read them outloud at the party. The dates were incredible, one person created a scavanger hunt all around our city with clues to figure out and lunch, another was a step by step breakfast in bed extravaganza, a letter boxing picnic, a massage lesson for two, etc. We are making a scrapbook and have been taking pictures each time we go out on one of our dates. Reply We are doing the recipe cards already- we included recipe cards in the invitations for my cousin's shower. We are doing a word scramble, as that is an easy and non-embarassing game. We are also doing a "dice game" which is sort of like a white elephant gift game except the gifts are cute home good items/fun clearance items from Target, TJ Maxx, etc. and if you roll doubles, you pick out a gift from the pile in the middle, once all the gifts are taken, everyone opens them, and then round two starts, so if you roll doubles then, you get to "steal" the gift you like from the person who has it, and you just set a timer. The other fun game is having someone email the groom funny questions to answer about the bride (her least favorite household chore, favorite food, where was their first date, anything) and then have the bride and everyone else at the shower answer the questions, (use the bride's answers as the correct ones) and see how everyone else answers. This can be pretty hilarious and the questions can be adjusted depending on your crowd. I've been to a shower with the "purse" game and it was akward when the bridesmaid asked "who has condems in their purse for 5 points??" and the bride raised her hand and starts blushing in front of her mom and MIL. . . There definately is an added cost to having a shower but if you have a few bridesmaids and aunts to help out, its not too bad. It unfortunate but being in almost any wedding party sets you back about $500 when its all said and done (dress, jewelry, shoes, hair, hotel room, shower gift, bachelorette party, wedding gift)… maybe that's why I only had one bridesmaid in my own wedding. Reply I live in a very affluent area where all of the showers have 50 guests, no games & no cake, no punch, just tea party foods, quiet conversation, and watching the bride to be open presents. SO boring!!! I am throwing a shower for my little sister. She's 11 years younger than me, she's 26. She is up for games and cake and all, which I am happy about! SO I am looking for games that you can play with younger ladies as well as older ladies from her church. I think the game you mentioned with "questions answered by her finance" sounds great! The only showers I have been to that weren't boring as could be, played a game where someone writes down each response the bride-to-be says as each present is opened, then they are read back after saying, "This is what was said on her Honeymoon night…" Some typical responses were, "I hope this fits," "Oh, it's black…" "What do you do with this?" We had my sister-in-law literally rolling on the floor. Obviously not a game to play at a shower with the nice old ladies from church. Or IS IT?? Reply Oh my goodness, thank you for this post! My FMIL suggested a lingerie party for me and I could have died of awkwardness. 🙁 These ideas are about a bazillion times better! I love the "date in a bag" idea as well – that sounds like so much fun! Reply Thank you! You have saved me the purgatory that is the bridal shower! I've been hesitant to agree to one and now I have some alternatives to offer the eager girlfriends. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Reply As an Australian, my experiences echo those of the New Zealander and the UK person mentioned above. I've never really heard of anyone having a shower. We typically have a hens night, but if you're not into a big night out, people usually have a kitchen tea, which I suppose is pretty close to a shower. I had a hens night, despite being quite shy and not into nights out – I just gathered close friends and we went to see Dirty Dancing at an outdoor cinema. It helped that most of the girls loved Dirty Dancing and had never been able to see it on the big screen, but it was just really nice to be able to sit and chat over a picnic before the movie started. I don't think we mentioned presents on the invites at all, but some of the girls brought some. The point of the night for me was really to consciously appreciate the women in my life, and spend some relaxing time with them before the big day. Goal achieved! Reply Another idea that I did for my sister was a picture scavenger hunt. I went out and bought a bunch of props from the dollar store and had each group take certain pictures with them an example would be: bucket w/ shovel: Get a stranger to wear the bucket as a helmet and brandish the shovel in a threatening manner my favorite was- "bling glasses": ask a cop for directions while wearing the bling glasses it ended up being a lot of fun, I'd love to see it done with a larger group! Reply My best friend is throwing my shower in June. I'm fairly certain there will be no avoiding toilet paper games, but it's good to know there are some game-free showers going on out there. Oh well, I guess I'll just rely on my brother's wife to help me live up to our family bridal and baby shower motto: "If they make you play–WIN BIG!!" Reply Me and my girls are going camping for the weekend. I love Camping and so do they. Im sure that ill have to have some sort of weird dinner thing with all the old ladies in the family or something but my grandmother is crazy and so is his so ill probably be highly entertain but the clucking. Reply i had a recipe shower and it was great! every guest also brought me a utensil to use with the recipe they gave me and i got almost all kitchen gear as my gifts! Reply Even though i did not want a shower, i finally agreed to a spa shower- manis/pedis/facials and everyone wore they're comfy clothes and pajamas. the best part? no cheesy games!!! and most of the gifts were spa-themed, whats not to love about that! Reply We did not want to do a shower, because we didn't want people to feel obligated to double up on gift, but eventually relented and agreed to a couples shower. That way my hubby and I could support each other and help things from getting out of control. Probably the best part of it was when we played a "newlywed game" but we had all the couples present participate. We kept the questions PG-13, and it was fun for everyone. Guests got to learn about us and we got to learn a lot about them. We also had a game where nametags with a name of a famous husband or wife from throughout history were placed on people's backs and they had to go around asking yes or no questions to figure out who they were and to find the person who was their "partner". It was a nice little icebreaker for our two families meeting up. Since the party was mixed company, all the gifts were household items, and thankfully I didn't receive even one pair of skanky panties. Reply So many of these ideas sound fantastic. In Canada, brides are often given the option of a bridal shower or a bachelorette party (more like the hen's night that's been described by the commenters from UK, Australia and New Zealand). My maid of honor bought myself, my mother and my bridesmaids tickets to a hafla – a bellydance party that was sponsored by a local business for the Canadian Cancer Society. There was an open bar, a fantastic dinner of East Indian cuisine (butter chicken, YUM!), a local bellydance instructor came to teach a class for the 60-70 ladies who attended – and then later performed for everyone who attended; another lady who sold mehndi hand decorations; raffle prizes, and another lady who sold jingly hip scarves! It was wonderfully fun and because my MoH didn't have to plan for anything other than buying enough tickets for the girls in our group who were attending, it was very stress-free! Reply A couple years ago, I hosted a bridal shower for my friend. She was really into the zodiac and dreams and all that, so I hired this psychic. I "decorated" by putting all these candles around and served lots of alcohol. Every one participated! Even the girls I thought wouldn't. It was a blast. No goofy games for us. Reply my friend is going to plan my bridal/wedding shower and the idea she had was so neat for it i thought i'd share it. have an "underwear tree" where you set up a tree (actual or dry branches) and everybody supposed to bring one pair of underwear and put in the tree. it sounds really cool. then take the tree and go karaoke or dance:) Reply ahhh i feel at peace about marriage stuff (such as the shower) because of your outside of the box ideas! thank you! Reply My daughter is a tattooed bride. She loves her tattoos. I'd like to have an intersting bridal shower that embraces this creative and interesting side of the bride. Looking for ideas (menu; games…). Any ideas. Reply Hey Sue, there are lots of options out there if you haven't already had it! You can buy "printable tattoo" sheets for the printer now. You could print out "tattoos" for people to wear. Or do a "tattoo on the ___" game. Temporary tattoos of various kinds can be done, so that would be an option. Henna/Mendhi makes a fun thing to do. There are kits you can buy to DIY or you can hire someone. Decorate with tattoo designs (flash). It all depends on what your daughter likes best. A contribution could be made towards a new tattoo. Reply A word of warning about the baby shower games… I can just imagine the guests beginning to whisper… "Is she pregnant?" If that doesn't bother you or you're willing to make the status of your womb clear in no uncertain terms before the fun begins, then go ahead. Reply A friend of mine who's a wedding florist did an AWESOME shower game: plan a wedding! Teams were given three bridal magazines, a theme, and 15 minutes. Then when they were done, they had to re-create the dress they chose with TP! http://ranunculusadventure.blogspot.com/2010/04/sarahs-tropical-bridal-shower.html Reply My problem is that I don't live in the same city where my shower will take place, so I don't want to receive a lot of big or non-portable (i.e. wine, liquor, food, etc) gifts. Ideas for this situation would be very much appreciated! Reply Gift cards/gift certificates. Or aprons if you are into cooking. Or kitchen utensils (although that might get hard to transport if you are flying with a knife! Recipes are easy. The date book would work great. Tea towels. Tools. Tea/coffee. Jewelry. Craft supplies. Or set up an online registry of things that can be sent to you and they can print out a picture. Reply I have the same problem, and we don't really need kitchen stuff if anything we need donations towards a new washing machine or a scooter, but My mother and Aunt are really insistant in giving me one out of state. So i dont' want to be rude it means a lot to them. I've always wanted to registra at Vintage furniture stores in town. Any suggestions? Reply What about a "honeymoon shower"? My guy and I decided on that idea since I didn't think it was fair to get an extra party for myself, and nada for him. We've signed up for suitcases, travel kits, camera, and camcorder. Also, since we didn't ask for much on the gift registry, my MIL notified the families that we would also accept donations for some spending money while honeymooning in Costa Rica. Just an idea for anyone who still is looking. . . Reply Wow, lots of great ideas! I wish I'd had some of these instead of the usual stuff. Another fun baby shower game: take the labels off baby food jars and have guests taste them and guess what they are. It's really gross and lots of fun. 🙂 Reply At my cousin's bridal shower, we had to write a small paragraph about things we hate. Then, we replaced that thing with the word "sex". It was so funny because I wrote about how much I hated doing dishes, the smell of dishes, the suds from dishsoap, etc. Anyways, reading it aloud was hilarious. Make sure that everyone gets the instructions right, otherwise it turns out stupid. Reply My wedding shower is this weekend and my wonderful sister and best friend had to fight to keep it simple. I finally got my mom to decide on dinner and then going bowling afterwards. Don't get me wrong I love lingerie, I do not however love the idea of receiving it as a gift from my family members. I am still frightened that my mom may have a couple tricks up her sleeve that I do not know about yet. Reply http://figuringouthome.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/holy-pottery/ This is my blog on my painless and wonderful pottery shower. Reply OK. I am the MOH and having a Sept bridal shower. Money's an issue and we're having the bridal shower at an indian restaurant. Not much space for the usual TP game. What else can I do? I like the planting idea but I don't think the restaurant will allow potting soil in the dining area. A little assistance would help…thanks guys! Reply Wow, this is another great post I just discovered! I am an offbeat MOH, so this will come in handy. I especially love the recipe idea! Reply For my cousin's wedding shower last summer, I put together a "Price Is Right" game. It was long enough that it was the only game, and it served as the entertainment. I shopped for the items all at once, one store, one day. I had gotten ideas of favorites from the groom, because all items were being given to the bride at the end. At the beginning of the game, I announced where and when I had shopped, the other normal rules, and that we were going down to the penny on prices. After 2 rounds, I had 2 people for the Showcase Showdown. I had purchased items for a "Picnic in the Park" showcase and for a "Movie Night" showcase and had a story to go with each. The winner was then able to present the items to the bride as a gift. I heard that everyone loved it and thought I would make a great game-show host. It was a blast! Reply Those are all great suggestions! My problem at the moment is that my sisters (bridesmaids) ambushed me at our parents' place last night and decreed that I would not have a say in how my hens'/bachelorette night would go, which of course made me think that I would spend the night prowling through the city completely drunk, covered in plastic crap and having to kiss policemen! (I'm in my 30's, BTW) It ended with my sister labelling me a Brideszilla, my mother trying to coax my sisters not to pick on me, and me telling my sisters that I would withhold the guest list from them and go and drink brandy and smoke cigars with one of my best mates instead (who had actually suggested that for my FH's boys' night, but hey) I have plenty of ideas of what I would like to do for a cool but still fun and a little silly night, but don't know how I'm going to get away with having at least a little input â€“ help! Reply Depending on what your plans are so far for what you would like to do, maybe make it clear to them that you would rather spend a night enjoying their company, and that of other female friends, doing things everyone will find enjoyable, and that you will be able to remember the next day! Hopefully if you make it clear that you're less interested in getting wasted and running around town and more interested in actually spending quality time with them as your sisters as well as bridesmaids, they'll understand that you maybe don't want to go as crazy as they're planning? Good luck! Reply Oooo, tea party! My Mom hates those games, so phew on that account. I love the adventure idea, but that would leave out too many older relatives. My mom's idea to avoid the gift-opening awkwardness is to open each guests gift one on one as they enter. Then they can go one to just enjoy their meal. We'll see how it goes. Reply Read more comments 1 2 › Join the conversation Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! 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