It seems like more modern soonlyweds have an aversion to wedding showers (commonly known as bridal showers or couples showers), and honestly, I get it. The first thing that comes to mind for me are those uncomfortable and high-key sexist wedding shower games.
In my experience, the games consist of a lot of problematic jokes “Raise your shoe if you wear the pants in the relationship!”, archaic gender role stereotypes, and a prying fascination with the marriers' sex lives. I still get the heebie-jeebies thinking of the Selling Sunset episode where at Heather's bridal shower, her mom gifts her an apron that says “Domestic Diva” and a pair of handcuffs. Obvi, if the guest of honor thinks it's funny and doesn't care whether granny approves, good on them!
But when helping to plan my best friend's bridal shower, I knew games like “Who cooks/cleans more?” and gifting strappy lingerie in front of her family would make her want to shrivel up and die.
So when I was put in charge of the games, I wanted to make sure they were gender-neutral wedding shower games where we could all have a blast and a whole lotta laughs without 1) Embarrassing the marrier 2) Reinforcing gender roles and sexism.
I turned to the Offbeat Wed community and asked for gender-neutral wedding shower games that wouldn't make my feminist heart bleed and behold:
3 gender-neutral wedding shower game ideas you should totally steal!
1. Project Runway: Wedding Edition
What you'll need for this gender-neutral wedding shower game:
- Rolls of tulle (or rolls toilet paper) for each participating group. We picked tulle because we wanted to match the wedding's color palette.
- If you're using tulle, 1 pair of scissors per each participating group.
How to play:
- Each table has to pick a Designer and a Model. If you're not seated at assigned tables, have everyone pair up into groups of 2.
- Each Designer and Model gets 1 roll of tulle and a pair of scissors (or one roll of toilet paper).
- The assignment is to create a wedding outfit in 3 minutes that they think the marrier would love.
- Once time is up, each Model has to do their best Project Runway walk while the Designer pitches the marrier on why this design is the perfect outfit for their wedding day (ie: “It's off the shoulder because I know you love Belle's dress from Beauty and the Beast.”)
- The marrier gets to put on their best Heidi Klum/Tim Gunn impression and decide the winner!
It was a fun way to get everyone out of their seats, plus it requires the guests to make the design personal to the marrier!
2. The Cell Phone Game
What you'll need:
- Printed copies of the cell phone game checklist (see my example below)
- Pencils for everyone
How to play this gender-neutral wedding shower game:
- Ask everyone to pull out their cell phones
- Passed out printed copies of the cell phone game checklist (see below).
- Set a timer for 3 minutes and watch everyone scramble through their phones.
- The person with the most points total wins. If you wanna be chaotic, you can make it so the table that's racked up the most points wins!
What to put on your cell phone game checklist:
You can have wedding related questions in here (ie: 5 points for Bridal Shower Date in Calendar), personal questions that people close to the newlyweds would really know (ie: 20 points for photo of the soonlywed's pet or 10 points for text from marrier about Timothee Chalamet…silly stuff like that).
Freebies are always fun and easy, like 1 point for Android users, 1 point for every alarm, etc. Some of them can be interactive like “5 points for a picture of you with the bartender” and you get to watch people run across the venue to grab a photo!
3. The Newlyweds Game
What you'll need:
- Small dry erase paddle boards for each marrier
- A dry erase marker
- Cloth or board eraser for each marrier
It's your classic newlyweds game, kinda like the shoe game. The marriers sit back to back in full view of their guests. The host asks the soonlyweds a question about the other person, and they each have to write their answers on the board.
This gender neutral wedding shower game is a fun way to get the marriers to have a lighthearted competition with each other, plus it's quite entertaining to watch as a guest!
I avoided questions with a negative spin like “Who is the messiest?,” and asked questions that would A) Challenge the marriers in a fun way and B) Allow the guests to get to know the marriers a bit better.
Here are a few examples of the questions I used. Feel free to steal!
- What’s Keith’s favorite movie?
- What’s Cristy’s favorite movie?
- What is Cristy’s favorite ice cream flavor?
- What celebrity would Keith freak out over he if met them in person?
- What celebrity would Cristy freak out over she met them in person?
- Who drives faster?
- What’s Keith’s favorite alcoholic drink?
- What's Cristy's favorite brand of rum?
- What’s something Cristy could teach a college level class about with no prep?
- What’s a random topic Keith could teach a college level class about with no prep?
- Where did you go on your first date?
- What was Keith’s first car?
- How many children do you want? (Side note: I knew the couple wanted children, so they were ok with this question!)
- Who falls asleep first watching TV?
- Which person would try to convince the other to join a couples reality TV show like the Amazing Race ?
- What was Keith’s first job ever?
- Who’s more adventurous?
- When did Cristy pass the bar in X state?
- Who said I love you first?
We don't have to reinvent the wedding shower game wheel…
The truth is that it's easy to turn any wedding shower game, even the ones steeped in patriarchal ick, into an inclusive and enjoyable experience! To start, try reframing questions so they are more specific to the marrier(s) vs broad stereotypical newlywed questions. Example: “Which dog breed is Keith obsessed with?” as opposed to “Who is the better cook?”
Another stress test you can do is to ask yourself “Would I be comfortable answering this question in front of a bunch of family members/strangers?.” If the answer is no, rephrase the question into something that would be fun to answer, like “Who would adopt every pet in the shelter if they could?.”