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.

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Comments on Torture-free wedding showers

  1. 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??

  2. 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!!!!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

    • Do not fear, hen nights are bachelorette parties here. Same drunken deal! For some reason we are supposed to have 3 special days.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

    • 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!!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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!!!!

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