There are many ways that you can bring your love of board games to a wedding. You can design the reception hall like one large board, where guests must roll a die in order to progress to the dessert table. You and your partner can dress up like meeples and hopelessly try to be graceful as you attempt your first dance in cardboard suits. Your entire wedding party can be highly detailed and gorgeously painted miniatures, because at least that way everybody’s matching the strict color palette.
If, for some reason, you don’t want to do any of that, there are also several games you can set up on tables for guests to play, games that force people to socialize and that are appropriately themed for a celebration of love. Below are four games that we think fit the wedding theme, whether in their honest embrace of love and marriage or in their playful mocking of gender stereotypes. With these games in mind, you’ll be well equipped to incorporate tabletop games into your big day.
Love Letter is a short, simple, and compact card game from Alderac Entertainment Group and designed by Seiji Kanai. Two to four players compete to deliver their love letters to the beautiful Princess Annette, passing them from messenger to messenger as they try to get closer to the princess. The game’s rules are exceedingly simple to learn, and the prep time is next to nothing, making it ideal for distracted guests. All of Love Letter‘s components fit inside of a small yet luxurious velvety pouch, perfect for transportation and for displaying neatly as a reception table centerpiece.
Even more appropriate is AEG’s exclusive Love Letter Wedding Edition, but you must prove that you’re actually getting hitched before you can purchase a copy. This edition features the same game you know and love with the addition of some wedding-themed artwork and fancy trim. If you want to try out other versions of the game before committing for life, check out our guide to which Love Letter theme is right for you or watch our fellows at TableTop show you how it’s played.
Once Upon a Time
Another compact card game, Once Upon a Time from Atlas Games brings friends and family together to tell a story centered around fairy tale elements. On their turn as the Storyteller, players reveal Story cards and try to guide the story in a direction that allows them to play their Ending Card, thereby claiming victory. The most successful and enjoyable sessions of this game come when players are open to collaborating, when cards are played that complement each other and weave a story that is as creative as it is plausible (at least in a fairy tale sense). You can get an idea of how a story comes together from this episode of TableTop.
Once Upon a Time is not only the perfect size for a wedding but it also provides guests with a chance to engineer their very own happily ever after. Many of us look forward to a fairy tale wedding, a magical day that makes all our dreams come true. Since the couple of the hour has found this magical, illusive happy ending, attendees of the wedding have the chance to reach their own, as long as they play their cards right.
Ladies & Gentlemen
If you really want to cause a stir at a wedding, Ladies & Gentlemen is the game to play. The rules are easy to understand, and it doesn’t take too long to finish a game. Up to ten people can play, so the entire bridal party could break out a game over at the illustrious Table #1. Players break off into teams of two: one plays the “Gentleman” and the other the “Lady” of a status-climbing Victorian couple. The all-important “big ball” is coming up, and each team desires more than anything to be the best and prettiest couple there. This recognition is achieved as partners take simultaneous actions, where the Gentlemen must make as much money as they can from playing the stock market and the Ladies scour boutiques to adorn themselves with all the latest fashion trends.
If you’re prepared to fully embrace the absurdity of the game and act up the haughtiness of the Gentlemen and the shallowness of the Ladies, a glorious time is sure to be had by all. Try adopting an exaggerated accent to go with the fancy dress code that is often compulsory at weddings as you and your closest friends and family take turns mocking gender stereotypes of a bygone era. A lighthearted and humorous game, Ladies & Gentlemen is for people who are comfortable mocking themselves (and perhaps the newlyweds, as well).
Marrying Mr. Darcy
Possibly the most complex game on this list, Marrying Mr. Darcy is a card game based on Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride & Prejudice. In the game, you play as one of six heroines from the novel and compete for marriage proposals from up to six male suitors. The aim is to make a suitable match based on a variety of factors having to do with looks, temperament, and station.
Since the idea is to get married at the end of the game (or to try your luck at spinsterhood), we see a lot of potential for this game to fit in at a reception. A real marriage has just taken place, and now the guests can have fun speeding through the courtship process. As in Ladies & Gentlemen, the gender stereotypes are firmly cemented in Marrying Mr. Darcy, but half the fun of the game is wholly embracing this by playing the part of a lady in Regency-era England, demurely bartering with the other “ladies” at the table. It is celebratory silliness at its finest.
What other games can you imagine playing at your next wedding? How would you incorporate board games into a ceremony or reception? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Featured image credit: Alderac Entertainment Group
Image credits: Alderac Entertainment Group, Atlas Games, Asmodee/Libellud, MarryingMrDarcy.com