It has become increasingly common at wedding showers to incorporate some version of icebreaking games into the agenda of planned activities. Although wedding shower guests are often groups of young women who have known each other for significant periods of time, these gatherings also typically include friends or relatives of the groom who may feel somewhat awkward. Playful party games, if well chosen, can help to ease that tension.
Icebreaking games selected for such occasions should be chosen with the guest list in mind. There are a number of games that would not be appropriate to play if the respective mothers and grandmothers are in the room, for instance. One of the more popular games is a purse game, the assumption being that everyone there will have a purse. Game play should involve all those present and in general a purse game will achieve that desired goal. (It might not be a bad idea to have a dummy purse or two stocked with funny props just in case there are guests at the wedding shower who are not carrying a handbag that day.)
Essentially, a purse game is a kind of scavenger hunt. The hostess or hostesses or someone who has been put in charge of organizing the icebreaking game comes up with a list of things women might carry in a purse. Game play involves calling out the item and seeing who can dig through the contents of their bag first and put the requested item on a plate or similar surface set out for the purposes of display. (Normally the participants in a purse game are asked to sit in a circle on the floor thus making it easier for the winner to place her designated item on the display platform.)
Usually there's little potential for embarrassment to the participants asked to play. Purse game lists, however, should be drawn up with an awareness that some items may cause discomfort to those asked to display them. If participants are asked to play, purse game items should be within their comfort zone. Not everyone would be comfortable putting a condom package out on the table, for instance. Be sure the group of guests can handle whatever they are asked to fish out of their purses or don't put the item on the list. Icebreakers are supposed to make people feel more comfortable, not get them even more uptight than they were before the game started!
There is more to planning a wedding shower than simply picking a color for the decorations and flavors for the cake and punch. Remember that you are asking a group of people to come together in honor of the bride. Some of those people may be friends of the groom who are still getting to know the bride and her friends. Icebreakers are important, but should be orchestrated with care. To some extend a wedding shower may actually reflect on the bride and her family and friends, so some thought should go into choosing games that will be fun and provide an opportunity for candid photography but that will not, in any way, cause discomfort or embarrassment to the guests. There are many factors in a wedding that can go wrong. The wedding shower shouldn't be one of them.