Socializing and opening presents are at the center of showers, and when games and activities are planned with care and attention, guests will have a genuinely enjoyable time. The best activities are ones that the guest of honor will appreciate: maybe a funny multiple-choice quiz about her childhood, or a creative project made by all the guests. Keep in mind, an icebreaker works best when guests are arriving, whereas more time-consuming activities, such as a wine tasting, might be best after everyone has eaten.
For a shower quilt, set up a table with squares of fabric in compatible shades (draw from the colors of the wedding or the couple's home) and fabric pens. Ask each guest to write her initials or a message on a square. After the shower, a friend or family member can embroider the letters or words.
Fill a bowl with cards inscribed with each of the twelve months after the wedding; on the back write an idea for an outing with the bride -- for example, "Meet for brunch" or "Get a pedicure together." (Each month can have more than one activity.) Each guest picks a card and writes her name on it. Arrange the cards by month into a booklet, so the bride has a year's worth of dates with all the important women in her life -- and a unique record of everyone who attended her shower.
Assemble a dozen or so photographs of the bride, showing her at different ages. Mix them up so they're not in order. Give pencils and paper to everyone, pass the photos around or display them someplace where everyone can see, and have guests write down their guess as to how old the bride was in the picture (she has braces, so that must have been in junior high). A prize goes to the person who gets the most ages right.
In the shower invitation, ask each guest to bring small items that have some significance in her relationship with the bride -- photographs, ticket stubs, cutouts from magazines, and so on. Set up a craft station with an expandable scrapbook, scissors, glue sticks, double-sided tape, stickers, glitter, pens, markers, and other supplies. During the shower, guests can take turns designing their pages to be added to a scrapbook for the bride as a keepsake.
This idea is especially fitting if you're having a culinary or kitchen-themed shower. Hire a professional chef to give guests a simple cooking lesson based on the bride's favorite foods. Afterward, everyone gets to sit down and enjoy the wonderful meal they helped prepare.
Learn more about the bride and the groom by playing a round (or two) of love bingo.
1. Print grids of 16 squares onto card stock. Number squares randomly, 1 to 16.
2. For paddles, glue a craft stick between two card-stock rectangles; write the bride's name on one side, the groom's on the other.
3. Number 16 cards 1 through 16; on the back of each, write something about the bride or groom ("hates bugs" or "Madonna fan"). Each player gets a bingo board, paddle, and candy "chips." The leader reads the cards; with the paddle, players indicate whom the statement is about. If correct, they place a chip on the square with the card's number. Whoever gets four in a row first wins.
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