Watching the bride open gifts takes up a huge chunk of time at the bridal shower, but if she's shy and knows she'll feel uncomfortable unwrapping them in front of guests, there's no rule that says presents need to be opened during the party. While most attendees will be thrilled that they don't have to watch the bride ooh and ahh over yet another set of plates, Champagne flutes, or towels, skipping this tradition does leave the hosts of the event with an unexpected dilemma: How else will they pass the time at the bridal shower? Here are some alternatives.
Hire a standup comedian.
It may seem weird at first but if she's good, she'll have the crowd wiping tears from their eyes. Be sure her act is vetted before she's hired, and pay special attention to her material and tone. With guests of different generations, you wouldn't want harsh or vulgar language to embarrass older folks or make the more reserved of the bunch head for the exit.
Offer a lesson.
Does the bride love to dance? Then hire a pro to perform, then have her stay on to give lessons to guests who are interested in learning some new moves. It's clean good fun—literally, no one's clothes will get dirty. You could also offer a more interactive lesson, like flower arranging or painting. Even if some of the ladies bow out from learning themselves, they'll still enjoy watching the rest of the crowd.
Set up a DIY dessert station.
Give guests everything they need to decorate cookies or cupcakes, make their favorite sundae, or craft pretty chocolates. They'll spend some time putting together their tasty treats, then get to enjoy them with the rest of the guests.
Arrange a wine tasting.
You (or your bridesmaids) know the crowd—will they be into a wine tasting? If so, get in touch with sommeliers (wine experts) at your local high-end restaurants about doing a tasting at the shower. Be sure to include renowned global wines (New Zealand, Argentina), along with more familiar U.S. varieties. If the newlyweds' honeymoon location is known for excellent wines, include that region, too.