Thursday, September 1

Host Your Best Shower Ever! Part One: Games

This weekend was a whirlwind of flowers, ribbon, finger food, and fun conversation! I had the honor of helping host a bridal shower and a baby shower over two days in two cities for four honorees! It was a great chance to try some new entertaining ideas and remember some of my old favorites, so I'll be sharing the best ones over the next few days.

Shower Games: The Trickiest Part

While most of us are really there for the food, games are often the make-or-break point of a shower. I've been to several showers that were saved by a good game that got everyone talking. And all of us have experienced shower games that had everyone inching toward the door. Here's a list of some of my favorite, no-fail shower games and how to pull them off:

1. Candy Memory Game
The Gist: This is the matching/memory game that we all played as young children, but with phrases associated with weddings or babies. Works for any group, big or small (more than 5 people).

How to Play: Each player takes turns calling out two numbers and the moderator reveals the phrases behind each number. When the a player calls out a matching pair, he/she receives a candy associated with the phrase. When a match is made, the moderator removes the number or flap to narrow down the choices.

Isn't Haley's house adorable?!

Me with the beautiful bride! Roomies for three years!

Here's a list of candies to get you started. Some I found online and some I made up on my own. Be creative!

Wedding Phrases and Candies
Bride and Groom - Kisses
Bridesmaids - Lifesavers
Groomsmen - Goobers
Vows - Dove Promises
Engagement Ring - Ring Pop
Law School Romance - Nerds (specific, but could work for other things)
Reception - 100 Grand
Music - Symphony
Guests - Good and Plenty
Bouquet Toss - Butterfinger
Wedding Toast - Snickers
Gifts - Mounds
Wedding Night - Skor
Baby Phrases and Candies
Contractions - Whoppers
Hospital Bed -100 Grand
Epidural - Lifesavers
Breastfeeding - Milky Way
Laundry - Mounds
Conception - Skor
Dirty Diapers - Good and Plenty
Daddy - Big Hunk or Pop Rocks
Restful Nights - Zero
Umbilical Cord - Twizzlers
Preemie - Runts
Ob-Gyn - Butterfinger
Preparations: This game takes some work, but it's worth it since it will take up some time (at least 15 minutes), provide your guests with fun prizes, and be reused for future showers.

First, I went to the store and bought one of each candy I could find. Be sure to do this before making your board in case you can't find some.

Then, I gathered up a foam board, some wrapping paper (to protect the board for future use), origami paper (perfect size and no cutting required, but use what you have), small post-its (optional), and a glue stick.

Be sure to use a large, bold font to avoid squinting.

I printed two of each phrase and glued them to folded pieces of origami paper. Then I shuffled them and glued them to the covered foam board in roughly even rows and columns.

I slid a ruler between rows for no-fuss measuring.

Lastly, I wrote numbers on small post-it squares and attached to each flap. Here's what it looked like:

If you have one, use an easel to play.
If you have a cat, good luck keeping your board safe!

Have fun!

2. Purse Scavenger Hunt
The Gist: Dig through your purse with a partner and tally up points for miscellaneous items. You'll be surprised to hear the crazy things people carry around with them every day. This is a great ice-breaker for groups that don't know each other well. Works for big and small groups, bridal and baby showers.
How to Play: Find partners, pass out checklists, and start rummaging. At the end of the hunt, vote on the most unique item. Give a prize to that individual and to the pair with the highest point tally.
Preparations: Print checklist. Buy three small prizes.

I can't find a link to the checklist we used this weekend, but here are a few others to choose from:

3. Mad Lib Wedding Vows or Birth Stories
The Gist: Have guests fill in the blanks of a story for a lot of laughs and a fun keepsake. Works especially well with large groups and co-ed showers. Doesn't work with shy people.
How to Play: The moderator explains that the guests get to write the vows/birth story for the honoree and asks them for parts of speech to fill the mad lib. The sillier, the better. Don't read the full sentences until the whole mad lib is complete. Then, ask the honoree to come forward and provide a dramatic reading of the full story, pausing for laughter as necessary.

"Vows" from our couples shower hosted by friends Laura and Jason.

Preparations: Print out a copy of the mad lib and have a pen handy. Be sure to give the finished mad lib to the honoree before the end of the shower.

Wedding Vow Mad Lib:
Birth Story Mad Lib:

4. The Price Is Right
The Gist: Have guests and/or the honoree(s) guess each digit in the prices of common baby or kitchen items, with help from the "audience." Contestants who guess correctly win the item. Works well for big groups, great for showers with multiple honorees. The rowdier your group, the better.

How to Play: You can simply show everyone the items and have them write down their price guesses, but in my opinion, it's much more fun to play this up Bob Barker style! It takes some explaining, but it's simple to play.

Select two contestants in addition to the honoree or use all the honorees if there are multiple (choose people with babies if the items are baby-related). Starting with one contestant, have her guess the price of an item digit-by-digit, with 7 "strikes" available. For example, if her first guess was 6 and the answer was 9, she would have 4 strikes left to guess the rest of the digits. Reveal the digits one at a time starting in the dollar place and working towards this cents until the contestant runs out of strikes or finishes. All of my items were 3 digits. If a contestant runs out of strikes, have the next contestant pick up where she left off. The contestant who finishes an item wins it. Cycle through the contestants until all the items have been won. Throughout the game, encourage the audience to yell and hold up fingers like the audience on "The Price is Right" to help out the contestants.

Buy about five inexpensive and common kitchen or baby items and keep the receipt. I bought shampoo, a jar of baby food, feeding spoons, and a few other things under $5.

Gather foam board, stick-on letters, wrapping paper (optional), post-it notes, and a marker. Cover board with wrapping paper if desired (I used the same board for the memory game) and use stick-on letters to spell out "The Price is Right!." Make a list for yourself of the items and their prices. Draw the digits of the last item on individual post-its - write big to fill up the post-its. Place on the board in order, with a post-it dollar sign and decimal in their rightful places. Then cover the digits (not the dollar sign or decimal) with blank post-its. It may take a double layer of post-its to fully cover the digits below. Continue with the prices for the rest of the items in backwards order, ending with a layer of blank post-its.

I wish I had pictures of this, but it's really a simple set-up. As you play, simply peel off the blank post-its to reveal the price digits underneath.

5. Question/Answer Chubby Bunny
The Gist: This silly game isn't just for middle schoolers anymore! We played this at my lingerie shower and no one had more fun than me! This won't work for every shower - be sure your bride has a sense of humor and that the group is fun and laidback. This game is a little too undignified to play with your grandmother's friends. Would be great for a couples shower with both the bride and groom playing.

How to Play: The bride answers questions previously answered by her fiance. For every wrong answer, she has to put a marshmallow in her mouth (no choking allowed!). Be as strict or lenient with judging the answers as necessary to ensure the bride has an unwieldy mouthful of marshmallows before the end of the game. A notepad is recommended for unintelligible answers. : )

Trying to avoid laughing to hold in the marshmallows!

Preparations: Contact the groom with a list of questions and record his answers. This is probably easiest via email. Buy a bag of marshmallows. Have a pen and notepad handy. 

Other Fun Activities
These aren't games, but provide something for your guests to do and a keepsake for your honoree.

Wedding Wishes or Wishes for Baby - Guests write out their wishes for the baby or couple on pretty paper. These are collected and given to the honoree.
Check out this super cute printable!

Thumbprint Tree - Print or draw a tree trunk on canvas or pretty paper. Have each guest stamp his or her thumbprint in coordinating ink or paint on the tree trunk and sign his/her name. My brother and his wife used this as the guestbook for their wedding! For showers you may need to add filler thumbprints in addition to the signed ones.

"Leave your mark here," in Portuguese.

What a fun idea! But be sure to have wipes handy!

Recipe Book - Send each guest a recipe card with her invitation. Ask her to write out one of her favorite recipes on the card and attach it to her gift. As the bride opens presents, she reads out the name of the recipes and the cards are gathered into a recipe binder or box. Great for a kitchen-themed shower!

Teresa reading her friends' favorite recipes

Anybody have more great shower games to share? You can look forward to more shower tips on food and gifts coming soon.


  1. Wow! I'm coming back here the next time i host a shower! I forgot all about the madlib vows we did for you and Michael!!

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