An interview with Ailea Sneller, founder of Cads About Matrimony
Any thinking person who has planned a bachelorette party for a friend has felt the singular anguish of trying to steer clear of the humiliating, tired old clichés that traditional wedding culture likes to throw at you, while still delivering fun ways to honor someone you care about. That anguish was what inspired me to create the wedding-themed party game, Cads About Matrimony.
I was planning a bachelorette party for one of my dearest friends, who is an inspiring, creative, and wholly unconventional person. She deserved something better than a drunk scavenger hunt or a toilet paper dress. I wanted to give her something better — something worthy of her. Far from being a snob about bachelorette raunchiness, I wanted to keep the playful, irreverent spirit of games that poked fun at wedding hang-ups, but repackaged for a fresher experience. As a game lover with a huge appreciation for the dark-humored party game Cards Against Humanity, I knew exactly what to do.
Cads About Matrimony, like the game that inspired it, is a matching-style card game where one player reads a question card out loud, and other players submit an answer card. But all the questions and answers in Cads About Matrimony satire themes of sex, love, relationships, and the cultural baggage around marriage.
I worked for months on creating the questions and answers. In the original game, I included personal jokes and inside references that made the game more personal. Somewhat to my surprise, it was a huge hit. We had so much fun. I felt like I found the answer to the quest for bachelorette games that don’t suck. And I knew I wasn’t the only one facing this dilemma, so decided to spread the love around.
I put the game on Kickstarter kind of as a joke in April of 2014. Within 30 days, I had raised more than $7,000 from 289 backers — about 288 more than I was expecting. I figured I could probably count on my mom to back me. Beyond that I had no idea what would happen. Six months later I was able to make the game available for sale on Amazon. Now the game has been featured on sites like Offbeat Bride, Bustle, and BuzzFeed Weddings, and the word is spreading.
Today you can download a free PDF file of Cads — the game is freely available under a Creative Commons license — or you can buy a professionally printed, casino quality deck on Amazon.
To me, the best thing about the game isn’t just the built-in jokes on the cards themselves (which are pretty ridiculous already). It’s more about the conversations they inspire and what you learn about your friends and their sense of humor by playing. My favorite moments in the game are not just when a hilarious card combo gets played, but when a hilarious card combo also inspires a sprawling conversation about sex toys, glitter, and in-laws that takes you to places you might not have otherwise gone with your friends. Especially in bachelorette groups where there tend to be friends from all stages of your life and maybe not all players know each other well, it’s kind of a perfect icebreaker. Like all great games, Cads About Matrimony is about turning strangers into friends, and friends into better friends. It’s designed to celebrate the things you learn and love about each other — weird, wild, and offensive as they may be!