If you think the crowd may be reluctant, here's how to get them on board.

Bridal showers are supposed to be a fun event, but, for many women, creating toilet paper wedding dresses and playing bridal Bingo just won't cut it. The games seem excessively silly to some and you may find that many bridal shower guests may have no intention of being willing participants. But if you're planning a shower with a diverse guest list-ages 18 to 80-and think the best way to break the ice is by playing games, how are you supposed to get everyone to be excited to join in? We've got some ideas.

Appoint someone as emcee.

Think about TV game shows: They all have an Alex Trebek to explain the rules and keep things moving along. This would be a great job for the most outgoing bridesmaid, the one with the loud voice who can crack jokes and be charming. Or a vivacious friend who's not in the wedding party but who you'd like to acknowledge somehow.

Have a few ringers in the crowd.

Is it considered bad form to have "ringers," a few friends who you ask ahead of time, to enthusiastically embrace whatever game is proposed? Probably not, assuming their great attitudes entice more guests to participate. Sometimes a nudge or two is all it takes to get someone to be all in.

Pick games that will make people laugh.

If someone is a guest at a bridal shower, it's a given that she knows the bride or groom, or both. With that in mind, play a trivia game that everyone can relate to, with questions that (lovingly) poke fun of the happy couple and will elicit a chuckle from the crowd. Example: "When Jennifer was in middle school, what boy band's photo did she put under her pillow every night?" "True or false: Jason had a blonde faux hawk at his junior prom." Everyone writes down their answers and the person with the most correct wins a prize.

Play a dignified drinking game.

A different sort of game: Set up a cocktail station with two or three different liquors and different mixers and garnishes. Ask guests to invent a signature cocktail, jot down the ingredients on recipe notecards, and give it a name. Later, after taking a sip or seeing the recipe, guests declare a winner!

Don't embarrass the guests.

If someone is a total fail at a game, leave them alone. Public shaming will only deter others from participating, and who cares about skill level anyway? Go back to embarrassing the bride and/or groom.

Avoid game-playing overload.

Unless guests are clamoring for more, limit playing to one or two games. It's always best to leave them wanting more rather than have people sneaking time checks on their phones and plotting their escape.

Offer really great prizes.

Traditional prizes like perfumed soap and tiny photo frames have lost their luster in place of things that guests actually want and will use. The items don't have to be pricey but should be worthy-cosmetics bags, patterned socks, manicures, nail polish, Starbucks gift cards, lottery tickets, chocolates.


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