How Two Millennials Taught Me to Throw a Bridal Shower

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell

bridal shower photo frame

Last weekend, my daughter, Becca, her BFF, Emily, and I hosted a bridal shower for their other BFF, Kendall, at our home! Planning and throwing the shower was such a special process, and we all learned a lot. But mostly, I learned a lot. Today, I’m sharing all of the details with you, complete with our decor, menus, and games.

Did you know that women have been throwing bridal showers for centuries? According to, the bridal shower dates back to 16th Century Holland and originally started as a way to give gifts to brides who were poor and didn’t have dowries, or brides who were getting married without the blessing of their families. Today, bridal showers continue, some with elaborate themes, some involving both the bride and groom, and some even taking place in exotic destinations! With our bride and her friends facing a week of finals and then graduation, we opted to keep our shower simple and sweet. ????

As a mom, I welcomed the opportunity to teach my daughter and her BFF how to plan and host something special like a bridal shower. An Empty Nest Blessed reader recently recommended the book Dear Daughters: Love Letters to the Next Generation, and I could hardly put it down! While mostly geared toward the spiritual lessons we should be teaching our daughters (whether biological or “spiritual” daughters), it’s gotten me thinking about all of the things I still want to pass along to Becca. I was thrilled to have the chance to help Becca and Emily learn the ins and outs of planning and throwing something like a shower.


But along the way, something happened. The teacher became the student.

The Planning

From the beginning, the girls made it clear that their main goal was to honor the bride, make her feel cherished, and provide an opportunity for the people who cared about her to shower her with love and gifts! That was my first clue that this shower was going to be a lot different than any other I’d helped host. While I was thinking about menus and what silver to use, their minds and hearts were elsewhere. For them, keeping those goals in mind guided the planning process and informed our decisions about invitations, decor, and even the menu.

We decided that Becca would be in charge of decor, planning the food, and party favors. Emily would be in charge of the invitations and RSVPs, games, and the music playlist. (Me: A WHAT? ????‍♀️) Also, having a photo booth was really important to them. (Me: Millennials ????!) All-righty, then! I would handle purchasing and preparing the food, doing the flowers, and be the overall point person.

The Invitations

We used Zazzle for invitations and tried to keep with Kendall’s plum color scheme. If you’re not familiar with Zazzle, it’s a site you’ll want to check out for everything from personalized gifts, custom clothing, and invitations and announcements (+ more!).

The Decor

bridal shower welcome sign

The girls wanted a welcome sign for the front yard. (Me: HUH? ????) It turned out to be a great idea because it let guests know that they were at the right place, and it set a welcoming tone even before they set foot inside the house. Becca picked one on Etsy (Click here to see other options.), customized it, and purchased it as a digital download. Then she sent the file to her local copy center, where they uploaded it and mounted it onto a foam core board. I bought a wooden easel, assembled it, and we were good to go! (We secured the back of the sign to the easel with duct tape.)


bridal shower photo frame

For the photo booth, we purchased a shiny gold fringe curtain for the backdrop and Becca ordered a photo frame digital download on Etsy. (Click here to see other options.) For damage-free hanging, we secured the backdrop to the wall using Velcro Command Picture Hanging Strips.


floral arrangement with hydrangeas

These girls were all about keeping it casual, so we opted to go with pretty paper plates and napkins. (Me: “But I wanted to use Grandma’s china!”????) Since Kendall’s wedding colors are shades of plum, we chose plates and cocktail and luncheon napkins from Caspari’s Hydrangea Garden pattern. (I was thrilled since I love hydrangeas and I knew this would make the flowers showy and easy to do! ????) 


The Games

bridal shower gamesAgain, Etsy came through for us! Emily purchased an editable digital download bridal shower games bundle pack. (Click here to see other options.) She personalized the games for our bride and printed everything on her printer. (Me: You can do that?????)


bridal shower toilet paper game

There was one game we played, however, that wasn’t from the bundle pack, and it was THE. MOST. FUN. We divided the ladies up into teams of three people, gave each group three rolls of cheap toilet paper, and set a timer for five minutes. Each team had to design and craft a wedding dress out of their toilet paper with one member of the group as the model. The game finished with a fashion show! It was hilarious and such a good idea to get people out of their chairs and interacting! Laughter is always the best ice breaker!

bridal shower toilet paper wedding dress game

The Food

The shower was at 2 p.m, so we wanted a wide variety of food. Again, the girls wanted to keep it casual but wanted to make sure there was something for everyone. Planning the menu gave me an excellent opportunity to talk to them about the importance of minimizing last-minute food prep when you plan an event. ????

fruit kebobs and other food

The Menu

chocolate fountain and other food at a bridal shower

The chocolate fountain was Becca and Emily’s idea! (Me: Clean up will be a nightmare! ????) But they knew that Kendall loves chocolate and has always wanted a chocolate fountain. We decided to ask Kendall to pick one out and give it to her jointly as our gift, but we asked her if it would be okay if we used it at the shower first! Of course, she said yes, and lemme tell you, the chocolate fountain was the hit of the afternoon! Not only did the chocolate make the room smell delicious, but dipping (and eating) was an awesome activity! (Note: After researching chocolate fountains, I learned that they do require a special type of chocolate wafers that are optimized for melting and flowing (!), so be sure to know that if you’re interested.)


Something Special

bridal shower advice card

We set up a station with two pretty glass vases and pens where people could fill out two advice cards: one for date night ideas and one for marriage advice. (These were included as digital downloads in the bundle pack of games Emily ordered.) It was so sweet to be able to send these words of wisdom home with our bride! (Me: “FINALLY, something I recognize!”????)


Party Favors

bridal shower party favors

The party favors were decorated cookies from my daughter-in-law’s decorated cookie company, The Sweet Sugar Shoppe. We attached a little card that said, “Thank you for showering Kendall with love.” to each cookie. Once again, these editable cards were a part of the bundle pack of games Emily ordered. (Me: “Hmmm…these millennials are amazingly resourceful.”????)

girl holding a wedding gift

I have to tell you. I started off embracing this opportunity to teach a pair of 22-year-olds how to throw a Bridal Shower. But along the way, these two millennials taught me way more than I taught them. While my focus was on things like polishing my silver and how to plate the food, their top priority was to shower their friend with love, and it showed in every decision they made. They were efficient, working smarter, and utilizing resources I had no idea even existed. Over and over again, they brought up ideas I would never have even considered. (A music playlist?! A photo booth?!) I learned about digital downloads on Etsy, how to work a chocolate fountain, and most of all, that the desire to honor and make your friend feel loved should be the center of every decision you make in the planning process. I had thought this weekend was about teaching my daughter and her friend how to be hospitable and how to pull off a lovely, classy event. But I was the one who needed an education.

three best friends

I snapped this picture right before Kendall left. And then I cried. This threesome met as freshmen four years ago in a campus ministry, and they’ve been through so much together. Their friendship is precious. They know how to love well, and how to demonstrate their love for one another tangibly. It was such a privilege to get a close-up view.







P.S. Did you catch my recent post about my favorite Etsy shops? It was one of my most popular posts of the last few weeks! Click here to check it out!

Suzy Mighell

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  1. Loved this post. Since we are in the middle of “shower land” at our house with 2 brides-to-be (our daughter and our son’s fiancé) it was fun to see how this shower was done. Showers have changed, but maybe more lovely now than in our day? Precious celebration with precious friends come with joy and tears. Happy you got to experience that with Becca. I’m savoring these bridal shower days (one weekend 2 showers in 2 different towns for our 2 brides-to-be!) as our summer wedding are upon us (June 1 and August 3)!

    1. Carol,
      You are one busy wedding mama! I know you cherish these sweet events, and I’m so happy for your family and am looking forward to seeing the photos and sharing in your joy! I’m so glad you liked the post. Thank you so much for letting me know. xoxo Suzy

  2. Hi Suzy – Cute blog today— this is similar to my experience as a mom of 3 daughters having planned 2 weddings, numerous bridal showers, 30 year old b-day, baby showers…welcomed 3 grandsons with one on the way. I do more listening than advising – they have their own style and priorities and ways to make each occasion special –I have learned a lot from the millennials and am grateful to have a close relationship with my girls 🙂 I love your recommendation of Dear Daughter — I want to read it
    Have a blessed day – love your Etsy advice from the girls 🙂 Cathy

    1. Cathy,
      You’re a seasoned vet when it comes to dealing with the millennials, for sure! Thanks for sharing your experience and encouragement! You, espepcially will LOVE Dear Daughter! Congratulations on all of the grandbabies – what a precious gift! You’re so special, I know you’re the best grandmother! Thanks so much for your comment! xoxo Suzy

  3. Hi Suzy!
    Looks like your shower was a hit! This was a great post, so thank you very much for taking the time to describe every detail. I knew about a few of these things since I have a daughter who is married three years ago, and another daughter who will be a bridesmaid in her 4th wedding in June and 5th wedding in July! We also did a Mad Lib for the bride and groom that was downloaded from Etsy to put on the tables at the reception at my daughter’s wedding all the guests were waiting for the bride and groom to finish with their pictures. There are some really clever people in this world, aren’t there?
    It’s so sweet to encourage these younger women as they begin their married lives!
    Blessings to you!

    1. Betsie,
      I love the idea of the MadLibs at the wedding reception! What a great idea! Wow, you are so experienced and your daughter is practically a professional bridesmaid! I love that because when it comes time to plan her own wedding, she’ll know EXACTLY what she wants! Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing! xoxo Suzy

  4. Great post, Suzy! We’ve been in full-fledged bridal shower mode at my house for the past few years (I’ve given three showers this Spring alone) and I’m really out of fresh ideas. I now feel so inspired!

    1. Cherie,
      Hahaha! I wish I would have had you for a reference – but I guess I really didn’t need you because my girls were SO on it! You really are a veteran – THREE this spring!!! Wowza! Thanks so much for leaving me a comment and for sharing! xoxo Suzy

  5. I love this post, Suzy! Isn’t it amazing what our kids end up teaching us? Things have definitely changed, but I can tell that you also raised your daughter well. The fact that she and her friend wanted to keep the shower focused on the bride is so precious and gracious. And that’s what hospitality is all about, isn’t it?

    I’ve tagged all those helpful sites you mentioned and plan to add them to my Pinterest boards. Plus, of course, I’ll pin this post, too. You’re wonderful!!

    1. Kay,
      Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words! You are so precious! You hit the nail on the head – hospitality is about graciousness and thoughtfulness! Not polishing the silver and making the perfect meal! Thanks for the sweet reminder! xoxo Suzy

  6. The parent becomes the student – that’s how we foster great relationships with our children! I loved this post. At first, my daughter didn’t want a bridal shower because the bridesmaids had already planned a girls weekend, but when she came to her shower and experienced it, she felt loved and special. That was the purpose all along.
    We can all learn from each other.

    1. Nylse,
      You are so right! It’s so important to humble ourselves and be open to learning – no matter where it comes from! The fact that it was from my daughter made it even more special, honestly! Thank you for your sweet comment! xoxo Suzy

  7. so sweet Suzy! Thanks for sharing those great ideas! I clicked on the invitation and had to chuckle that their sample said “West Plam Beach, Florida” Ha ha Be sure to proofread before ordering!

    1. Wendy,
      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you liked the post! I know you’re a veteran bridal mom, so I’m sure none of this was a suprprise to you! Thanks for your comment and for reading! xoxo Suzy

  8. Wow,Suzy, I can so relate to this!! We have been in that season of life for awhile where showers abound!!! Bridal and then 2-3 years later baby!! ????❤️???????? These young ladies KNOW how to “ throw a do!!” I’ve learned a LOT along the exact same line as you. They are all so caring & precious. Not a hostess apron ( remember our Moms & Grandmas wearing these?!) or glass luncheon set ( fancy shaped plate with section for a cup) in sight anywhere!!! But ALWAYS beautifully done with style, ease and love. Adores the photos…got a few ,oh so similar ,with my own circle of amazing young women!!! Be blessed and be a blessing!!! Rochelle-STILL hosting and attending great showers in Iowa. ☺️????????‍????????????☕️????????

    1. Rochelle,
      Thanks for your sweet comment and I’m so glad you can relate! I love it that we can learn from our daughters, don’t you? Thanks so much for reading and commenting! xoxo Suzy

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