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 ForeverBridal.net, 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.
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.
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 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.)
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.
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! ????)
Again, 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?????)
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!
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. ????
- Chicken salad from Short Stop, (one of my favorite Dallas food-to-go spots) on Hawaiian Rolls
- Assorted veggies and ranch dip (served with these pretty toothpicks)
- Fruit kebobs (on bamboo skewers)
- Vanilla & Chocolate mini-cupcakes from The Sweet Sugar Shoppe.
- Chocolate Fountain (with strawberries, Rice Krispie treats, and marshmallows for dipping)
- Drinks: A plum-colored “mocktail” made with ½ cranberry juice and ½ Sprite, served in wine glasses.
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.)
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!”????)
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.”????)
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.
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.
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