(left to right, my sister and me, moments before commencement of the most violent Hat Game ever seen)
Generally, weddings can be pretty boring occasions. There’s always loads of standing around sipping champagne (which, FYI, is pretty gross actually YES I’M BLOWING YOUR MIND) and, if you’ve come as someone’s plus-one, it’s unlikely you’ll feel safe talking about anything other than how you know the bride or groom (“I don’t.” There. Done).
But do you know what makes weddings a good time? GAMES. I’ve banged on about this a little bit at the back of The Wedding Diaries, so my apologies if you already feel yourself an old hand at the Hat Game, but not everyone has been so lucky. And disclaimer: no one should ever be forced to play any of these games. It’s one thing to jovially chivvy someone out of their millimetre-thin resistance, it’s another to cry your eyes and wail that “YOU’LL RUIN IT IF YOU DON’T PLAY.” So live and let sit there enjoying their cocktails undisturbed.
The Hat Game
This is, to be v simple about it, musical chairs with hats.
The group stands in a circle, everyone having chosen a hat. When the music starts, the circle starts tramping around slowly, clockwise (or whatever), and the Clipboard Owner (who runs these games - you don’t think this is all just some crazy, hippie free-for-all, do you?) will snatch a few hats off heads around the circle. The people who find themselves hatless must then snatch the hat from the head in front, who will then hat-snatch from the head in front of them. When the music stops, if you are without a hat, you’re out. Easy, yes? WRONG. As the game warms up and the circle is inexorably drawn to moving faster and faster, the hat-grabs will become more violent, feet will slip, hair may be lost and long-cherished friendships destroyed. Although the rules are that you can only have one hat on at a time, and you can’t hold it on, the Clipboard Owner cannot be looking everywhere at once. And when the music stops, you will be expelled from the circle if you are hatless. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules.
When it’s down to the final two, the ruthless competitors are seated in two chairs, back to back, and must pass a hat between them until the music stops. Although they can’t get up from the seat, they may dodge their rival’s hands as best they can.
I would recommend a prize for this, as all contestants will have worked so hard they will NEED to see a trophy at the end.
The Humming Game
You’ll need three or four teams for this. You can either get everyone to write a few songs on slips of paper when they come in, or prepare these in advance so you don’t get some hipster fucker suggesting the best track of all time is ‘North’ by Dark Star or something.
When each team’s turn comes up to play, they are handed by the Clipboard Owner the name of the song they will be humming. The team has five seconds to recall the song from their brain, and decide where to start (hahahaha, but without actually saying anything out loud) before they must then hum it at the other teams. If any of the other teams get it, the humming team and the guessing team both get one point. If no one gets it, then just move on. It’s bad enough that they can’t even hum a tune, you don’t need to give them a forfeit or anything.
What’s pleasing is how quickly the teams do one of two things: 1) become a terrifying musical machine, starting at the exact right point and nailing that melody, or 2) break down completely and start crying with laughter, unable to get a single note out. Both are pretty entertaining.
Give the winners a big jug of booze.
The Champagne Game
Really doesn’t need to be champagne - it’s just that there always seems to be a glut of those things at this kind of bash (see above).
This is sport for two folk per team. Draw a line on the ground, and see how far you can place the champagne bottle over the line, by leaning over with your teammate acting as counterbalance to your flailing limbs. Then, when you’ve got it as far as you possibly can, you have to swap over and your teammate has to pick it up and bring it home, while you counterbalance them. Obviously, this game is a hell of a lot better slightly later on in the day. #fallingoverfun
That’s it. Games rule. I married into the world’s most competitive family, and I have to say: I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. I am alllllll about games now.
[EDIT: Discussing the super violent games others have enjoyed, I was just reminded of a wedding in France I went to years ago, one of the first times my now-husband had really hung out with the rest of my family. With his own familial all-games-all-the-time atttude, while the rest of the guests were eating foie gras and horse meat, he convinced us to form a human pyramid, in the process kicking my sister in the face so hard she got a black eye. Reader, I married him.]