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My niece is getting married and that means she needs a bridal shower for the older folk in the family that have no interest in her bachelorette party. I spent an hour on pinterest looking up Bridal Shower Game and about cried at the end. Who are these people that have tulle in gobs, (dear Lord it looks like a light up toilet) keep tiered food platters at the ready (where would you store those things?) and are willing to wrap every guest chair with something special (I was grateful to find enough folding chairs, and again with the tulle). Thankfully my niece lowered all her expectations and let me throw my pace of shower. And let’s be honest when you get married while you are still in college (don’t freak out this is very common among the LDS set) you need the gifts. So this is still about the registry. The guests know it and the bride knows it. Let’s cut the crap and admit that half the guests are pleased to see the bride, but equally pleased that the party moved along and we could pick up carpool in a timely manner. How many people actually like playing bridal shower games (baby shower games are even worse)? So given there are pins with the best 10 bridal shower activities I am going to tell you that you only need 2 activities and they have to fit a certain purpose; a gathering activity and a keep guests interested in gift opening activity. More games seems to kill conversation or seem over prescribed.
Gathering Bridal Shower Activity
The first activity needs to be what I call a gathering activity (that’s probably an event planner term, but I first heard it in Cub Scouts, so it’s a Cub Scout term to me). This is essentially an activity that gives people something to do while we all wait around for the inevitably late people (this sometimes includes the bride–awkward!). It, also, helps alleviate the discomfort of that first arrival, especially if that arrival is alone. With a gathering activity everyone has something to do and not just the hosts who are usually running around at the last minute tying on chair bows (except me cause I don’t do that). A few gathering game ideas are name the romantic quote, match the famous couple, what famous bride am I (think the kid game Headbanz) a photo spot, and advice to the bride card or a mixture of the two like I did. A gathering activity just needs to meet the criteria that people can begin at any moment in the process (no set start times), it can’t require set team numbers and it needs to fill up about 10-15 minutes to allow arrivals.
For my gathering activity I choose for everyone to fill out an advice card for the bride after a photo spot. While in theory the bride should know everyone at the party, I find that extended family gatherings always include a few outliers. I also know that more than one person has filled out an advice card and never put their name on it –could be shame at the advice or just forgetfulness. This time I decided to use my new Polaroid Snap Touch to nab a photo of each attendee on their way in and print it out immediately to stick onto the advice card they filled out.
The Snap Touch was super easy to use. Point, click, check then print. The check is in there because we don’t want to waste the paper on blurry photos. Warning the display screen on a snap touch isn’t like your iPhone, so it will always look a bit blurry. But speaking of phones, there is Polaroid app and you can blue tooth your phone to the Snap Touch. Then you just take photos with your phone (using the app) and print them from the Snap Touch. This makes it kinda convenient that people can move to a separate spot to wait for their photo and not back up the line. This may have been a better option than my attempt at using two cameras. I borrowed a friends and figured I could take a photo with camera 1, set it down to print and photo with camera 2, set is down to print, pick up camera 1.
Oh how plans change
The theory of my plan was great, the execution was less than ideal (technology does that to me every time). First off I dropped a camera on the concrete (not the borrowed one, pheew!) But a concussive bow to concrete meant that camera didn’t work all evening.
We were down to one camera. No worries, I could snap photos as peopled arrive and then print the photos during a lull in arrivals and hand out the prints as completed. The printer on the camera chugged out prints as fast as it could. Each print took probably 1.5 minute from when I tapped “print” to when it was ready to be handed to the guest. During this process I learned a few tips for using the SNAP touch.
- Put in a Micro SD card (16 GB is good), the internal memory will only hold about 8 photos
- I found close photos worked better versus group shots. The print outs are about 2 in x 3 in. A group of 8 people look really small.
- Know you won’t take a perfect photo. This isn’t a DSLR, so just print and move on
- Accept that this is an instant print photo. The colors a really good considering, but they aren’t your camera store print out.
- The camera can hold about 20 sheets or 2 refills (3 refills per box) of paper at a time. Load to max capacity.
- The camera is auto everything, except an HDR and flash option. This is convenient, but see the first tip.
- Using the app means you will take better photos, but there is a lag in sending the photo to the camera to print. For my next use I want to use the Polaroid Zip Mobile Printer and see if that speeds things up.
If you want to use my “Advice for the Bride” printable card you are welcome to download it (in pdf format). There are loads of over-the-top pretty ones you can download from etsy for a small fee. (Yeah, my cheap showed through again and I didn’t pay for the pretty ones)
The Second Bridal Shower Activity
The next activity you must have is the “make the gift unwrapping pass faster” activity. We all like seeing what the bride gets from people, cause someone always throws in the embarrassing gift and no one wants to miss when grandma catches on that it’s lingerie and not a lace doily. But most of the time it’s pretty difficult to get excited about cookie sheets, napkins and new cutlery. “oh that’s neat,” becomes pretty trite after the 10th iteration. I have found only a few decent ideas for this and only one I was willing to play.
Enter the Gift Bingo Game
Everyone fills in items on a blank bingo card that they think the bride will receive. Guests mark off gifts as she opens until someone gets a bingo. I was worried people would struggle to come up with ideas to go in the boxes. And some did, so the group started sharing with each other. Also some gifts arrive in just bows so there are multiple freebies, beyond the free space in the middle.
I used a free printable for our bingo cards. It’s just easier to not reinvent the wheel. This is also a simple task to give someone if they offer to help with the shower. And not needing to remember the print outs and pens means one less item on the hostess check list.
After you pick the only 2 bridal shower activities you need (a gathering game and a gift giving game) delegate out the food and make sure the house is picked up and the bathroom is clean. Now you are set to host a simple, no fuss (and no tulle) bridal shower. Didn’t you prefer that to being way over the top? I know I did. Maybe you simplify hostess work another way, tell me. I love a good life hack.