Yeah, getting lingerie from my future MIL wasn't awkward AT ALL.
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.)

The Red Queen's Crouquet
Wonderland themed bridal shower. Photo uploaded by Offbeat Bride reader 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 reader 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.

Hand painted jars
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 Offbeat Bride readers have hosted 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.
Offbeat Bride reader 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.

Comments on Torture-free wedding showers

  1. 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. 🙂

  2. My shower is this weekend, and my mother wanted none of my imput. I am VERY worried.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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…

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. 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…..

  7. 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.

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