A week ago I started to tell you about the awesome engagement party my sister put together for us. You saw the fabulous crafts we put together and you oohed and ahhed over the prizes for the games. So now, to your delight, the games themselves! Or at least the first one.
A little background first: once it became clear that we wanted to have an engagement party and that someone wanted to put it together for us – and that people wanted to come! – we had to figure out what people do at engagement parties. From what I could figure out, the party is supposed to be an event at which the two families meet, everyone sees the ring, and the bride is given gifts.
The issues here were that:
1. The families had already met.
2. We didn’t really want to make a big deal out of our rings (we both have them, we both love them, and our relationship is so not about the jewelry).
3. We didn’t want to ask for gifts. This all happened in mid-January, only a couple of weeks after Christmas, not to mention that my birthday is two days after Christmas, and Turtle’s birthday is the day after mine. So gifts felt like asking a lot. Plus, we don’t really need more stuff.
So we decided to just have a day where we could be surrounded by the people we love and get people to meet each other before the wedding, so that on our wedding day, people are comfortable and social and it’s a big fun party. Obviously, the best way to do this is to get people to talk to each other, and the best way to get strangers to talk to each other is through games.
We came up with the two games I mentioned before: a human scavenger hunt, and Turtle/Bird Jeopardy (side note: since I’m not playing roller derby, I will now refer to myself as Bird, since that’s what Turtle calls me. Sorry for any confusion. It’s also shorter to write).
For the scavenger hunt, Turtle and I sat down with the list of people who had RSVPed for the party and came up with interesting facts that we knew about them and that seemed unique to them. Some of these included:
Connected with Bird over their mutual appreciation of crossword puzzles/Scrabulous and tea?
Got “doored” while riding a bicycle and put the bruised pics on Facebook?
Got Bird sick on her 21st birthday with one shot?
Has never met Bird before today?
Has pictures of Turtle’s 4-year awkward phase at an all-girls Catholic high school?
Has written three books?
Helped Bird and Turtle survive their first encounter with fleas?
Hiked the Appalachian Trail for their honeymoon (two acceptable answers)?
Is addicted to NPR?
Is the tallest person here?
Once everyone had arrived, we handed out the papers and pens and made sure everyone knew there were prizes. Then we sat back and watched! By which I mean we kept running from one room to the other, laughing as people declared loudly over the absurdity of some of the facts, and as people stumbled over the answers (“Wait, did I meet you in a swimming pool in college?” “Uh, no.”), and as we realized that some facts applied to multiple people at the party (lots of my friends seem to have been doored while riding their bicycles. Shocking.). One thing that struck me right away was that all of my friends and family were in one room, and all of Turtle’s friends were in the other.
All of my friends and family hard at work in one room…
…and all of Turtle’s friends/family in the other room! It seemed like no one would get all the answers! We kept hearing people saying, “I have no idea who X is!” and I would sort of nudge, “Maybe you should go ask the people in the other room…”
People in the same rooms were definitely having a good time.
Even my little brother was doing the best he could and holding his own quite well, if I may say!
And then, finally, people began to cross the doorways and seek out the people in the other rooms! There was mingling! We gave people a five minute warning and began to check in to see if anyone had answers…
Turtle checking out her mom’s guesses.
I think my dad gave up after a bit, but he tried! We hung out and took pictures while people finished up, and then we took them all to a side room and scored them. My mom and sister were the top two! Not surprising, I guess, though I maintain that it wasn’t rigged. They each got to pick a prize and then the rest of the prizes were saved for relationship jeopardy, coming up next!