No games, no problem! Bridal shower guests run the gamut of age groups, social circles, and relationships to the bride. While games tend to serve as icebreakers, they often feel pretty silly and don't always reflect the personality of the bride. Rather than asking guests to fill out quizzes and mad-libs, consider one of these tried-and-true ways to break the ice among a diverse group of women.
Be a great host.
Being a great host means a number of things, but first and foremost, it means making sure everyone at the party is comfortable. Greet guests when they arrive and make sure they feel welcome by introducing people to one another. One great tactic for sparking conversation is to introduce people by sharing something you think they'd have in common. The idea is that, as the host, you probably know many of the women in the room and have a good sense of who might get along. Encourage them to mingle by starting a conversation for them.
Set up a DIY cocktail/mocktail bar.
Food and drinks are a sure way to get guests chatting. A DIY cocktail or mocktail station encourages guests to get creative and maybe even offer up their successful concoctions to others. You don't have to have a ton of liquors to make it work, but be sure to have festive trimmings like fresh herbs, seasonal fruits, and edible flowers for a pop of color.
Display unwrapped gifts.
While some brides prefer to open their bridal shower gifts during the party, more women are asking guests to bring unwrapped gifts that can be placed on a display table. This way, anyone who is interested in scoping out the loot can hop over to the gift table for a browse, but there's no time taken away from the party itself. Sure, opening gifts can give the party structure, but it's a time-consuming activity that tends to take guests away from their conversations. Everyone will be too busy focusing their energy on the oohs and aahs of gift opening to make meaningful connections.
Set up a mini photo booth.
Save the rented photo booth for the wedding and consider setting up a Polaroid selfie station instead. A cool backdrop—maybe a sequined fabric or a whole lot of heart-shaped mylar balloons—and a camera is all you need. Let the ladies go to town snapping pics and stashing them in a cool box or album for the bride to flip through later. By providing guests with an opportunity to break away from the crowd, they're more likely to start mingling.
Give a favor.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of playing bridal shower games is that the winner takes home a prize. Rather than making it about a game champion, think about sending the whole crew home with a takeaway gift. It can be something as simple as a beautifully wrapped baked good, or as extravagant as a bottle of bubbly. Just be sure to add a note of gratitude. Bonus points for favors that guests get to put together themselves during the party!