How to make things easy for your bridesmaids — no penis cake necessary

Me and my bridesmaids
Shanah and her badass bridesmaids at her 2008 gothabilly wedding.
Is it too presumptive to tell my bridesmaids that I don't want a bachelorette party OR a bridal shower? All of my bridesmaids live out of my state and I've been with my fiance for seven years, and just don't feel the need to collect any more lingerie or eat a penis cake. Is it alright for me to just propose to my bridesmaids exactly what I want — us to get together on the morning of the wedding for coffee and to have a morning of beauty: hair, makeup, and manicures.
-Courtney

Courtney, in a word: YES. In fact, your bridesmaids will likely be hugely relieved to have you tell them A) you don't want them to organize additional parties or showers and that B) instead you'd like to pamper them the morning of the wedding. I'd wager that there are many bridesmaids out there who would heave a huge sigh of relief at the news that you don't want a penis cake.

This is something I cover in my book — really, when it comes to wedding parties, it's just about making sure your priorities are matched and your expectations are clear. You can send a quick message saying, "I don't know what you guys have experienced with bridesmaiding, but I want things to be fun and easy — no shower necessary! I've got no need for a penis cake bachelorette party! Really, all I want is for the group of us to gather the morning of the wedding for some pampering and loving ladytime."

Phrase it carefully — note the language recognizing that your wedding may differ from their previous experiences. This is your way around sounding presumptuous — you avoid assuming they're planning showers or parties but recognize that some brides do expect these things. Also, note the phrasing around "no shower necessary" and "no need" for a party. Don't slam either tradition (for all you know, one of your bridesmaids may looooove bridal showers) but simply to make it clear that you want to keep things simple and easy for them — but that you DO have one thing you want: the morning pampering together. Make it about them, not you — this isn't about your demands. It's about respecting and honoring the ladies you love.

Really, if you're careful about how you say it, the sky's the limit for wedding party activities. I talked to one couple who went spelunking instead of having a wedding shower. There are others who've had bachelorette parties revolve around shopping flea markets for vintage supplies for the wedding. The key is just making sure your wedding party is on the same page as you — which is as easy as a respectful conversation early-on in the engagement to let them know you love them, you're so excited to have them involved, and really: no penis cake necessary.

For more about offbeat wedding parties and bridesmaids, check out these links:

  1. Crimeny, Courtney, you're a genius!

    I can't possibly think of anything more fun than the time-honored (and today's tragically-neglected) female bonding ritual of the gathering of girlfriends in the "Beauty Shop". That is SUCH a great idea!

    And if the bride has the nerves of cold steel (and I mean that in the most admiring way) required to ENJOY such a gathering on the day of the wedding, I say let the bachelorette bashes all be moved, permanently, as of this century or what we have left of it- which is considerable- to the BEAUTY PARLOR!

    0 agree
    • i agree! In fact, if the bridemaids live close enough, steer them towards having a massage/beauty shop/pampering weekend. If not, then do it the day before the wedding or the day of! A LOT more fun that eating a penis cake (no offense intended to penis cake lovers!), and you actually can – dare I say it – have a conversation!

      0 agree
  2. I didn't have a bridal shower (well, I sorta had a surprise one my mom threw the night before) nor a bachelorette party because my maid of honor lived outside my city, plus was a stupid, plus I don't really enjoy stuff like that.

    Anyways, she wasn't offended when I told her not to bother with those things, and we had a ton of fun just hanging out together during the time around the wedding. Have to do what fits your personality, and showers and parties don't really fit mine.

    0 agree
  3. Its always nice to have alternatives to a bachelorette party or bridal shower, especially if everyone lives far apart. As for my girls I couldn't keep them away from making a disturbingly realistic penis cake. I think they were secretly looking forward to that for years and I must say it was delicious (yum yum homemade buttercream icing.)

    4 agree
  4. Amen to this post. I'm bridesmaid for two friends next year. The two brides are quite offbeat and to them both I announced right in the beginning that I'm going to be open about what we maids are planning and there will be no suprises, and that they NEED TO BE HONEST about what they think of our ideas: we are friends. We don't want to ruin their happines by forcing the brides eat the penis cake infront of the new sister-in-laws or having the couple take part in games they don't wish. The bachelorette party seems to traditionally (atleast in my country) involve plenty of things I can't stand and which would make me feel uncomfortable. A friend would never force me to do any of that just because "it's what people do". To me the bridal shower is about friendship and enjoying the happiness involved in the wedding and the planning.

    Don't shy out from telling what you wish for. We all must acknowledge that not all brides are the same way. To each their kind, right? Be it traditional or offbeat!

    2 agree
  5. This post is so fitting as I was just this am trying to explain to my MOH that although it was lovely that she wanted to do a bar tour / skinny naked man stripper show for my b-ette, my intentions were to invite everyone I know for a weekend of sin in Las Vegas instead (groom included!)

    For me, I like the idea of the shower because the 2 fams get to meet and interact since they live so far apart, but the penis cake never ever needs to appear in my world.

    0 agree
  6. Great post! I was just recently contemplating how to tell my MOH that I don't want a bachelorette party with the bar dancing and penis necklaces (straight from her B-party). Although, I like to get down at times, I live in Texas while my wedding/family/entire bridal party is in Ohio. I don't want to fly up there just for that, and I don't want to do it right before my wedding and risk the hangover. I think a girly, mani-pedi party sounds perfect. Thanks for the advice!

    0 agree
  7. My sister threw me an awesome bachelorette party. Although penis straws did make an appearance it was not really that typical. We painted pottery in the afternoon, a favourite activity of mine, and then ate our way through the night. We started with teppanyaki which was really fun and then went to the most delicious chocolate restaurant for way more chocolate then we should have eaten. We finished the evening with drinks at a patio and then home to watch Newsies and drink rootbeer floats. It was amazing. We literally did all my favourite things and how often does that happen? I felt very spoiled :) All the activities were surprises but my bridesmaids know we so well it was perfect.

    2 agree
  8. in lieu of a bachelorette party, i had a slumber party with my best gals two nights before the wedding. it was awesome. we went to dinner and then had a fun evening in the hotel room my friends were staying in. it was a great bonding experience.

    0 agree
  9. I told my bridesmaids upfront that all I wanted was a nice relaxing time at home (or in the hotel room) with them, painting each other's nails, doing an at-home spa and watching bad romance movies I never get to watch when my FH is around. It's cheap and easy and relaxing, and I can even pay for it for them.

    0 agree
  10. I hate the traditional Hens nights with a stripper and too much booze. I went out to a nice pub with my sister, my best mate & my brother's girlfriend. 3 girls that had been around for years and would continue to do so! We had a nice meal, had some drinks (in moderation), played pool and went home when my man picked us up. It was nice, dignified (although i did have to wear the sash and have the straws) and while the photos are silly i don't have to stress about them being marriage destraying haha.
    I bought all of them cute little Kimmi doll keyrings too, specially matched to their looks and personalities.

    0 agree
  11. I never thought I'd be getting married..EVER so I never thought of what kind of shower or batchlorette party I wanted. I'm fairly low key so the shower I described ( and got) was just family getting together. We ate sandwiches, drank punch and had some cake. My bachelorette party will be my sisters, my cousin, our significant others hanging out, playing XBOX and partaking in silly drinking games. It's PERFECT!!

    0 agree
  12. I didn`t want a bridal shower due to hassel, and it felt like I just asking presents. But my MOH said it wasn`t fair to ask her to be MOH and not let her organise something, so I caved and we went out to High Tea with female family members and a few friends. It was a lovley day, I insisted on no presents, so I felt better, and as my Auntie and Grandma were not coming to the hen's made them feel included!

    0 agree
  13. I stumbled upon this site and have been reading on the down low for about a month now — finally wanted to speak up! A couple of years ago, a friend had a small wedding, and I was living in a different city; even though I wasn't a bridesmaid, she did ask me to plan her bach'ette party, since I was more 'fun' than her actual bridesmaid (plus, not having social anxiety disorder helps when planning a gathering). It was the worst time of year, as I was preparing to move and start a new job AND go on vacation. Plus, we're all in our 30s and are long past that party-all-night-get-drunk-and-puke phase.

    The solution? I found a winery midway between our two cities. It was helpful to me since I didn't have the energy, time or money to travel all the way back to her city (where I'd secured my new job!), and it was a fun, new experience for everyone who attended. We had about six or eight ladies meet for a Saturday afternoon wine tasting, tour and lunch.

    It was fab!

    0 agree
  14. Agree with all the people who say it doesn't have to involve penis cake, etc… Lots of mellow and/or alternative things to do… Dinner with friends is always nice.

    0 agree
  15. No penis cake is necessary. Go for a wonderful picnic with your girls or have a delicious lunch together. Mellow is good.

    0 agree
  16. The second time I was a maid of honor (I've done it five times now!!), the bride wanted all the trimmings – bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc. – but pointedly DID NOT want to fulfill any of the penis cake-type traditions. So, for the bridal shower, her sister-in-law and I hosted a beautiful tea party (party activities included making "lace doilies" out of tissue paper and reading our fortunes in the tea leaves). The bachelorette party (which took place at the home of one of the other bridesmaids two weeks before the wedding) involved the bride, myself, and the other three bridesmaids getting matching tattoos and then drinking ourselves into a stupor. I'd discussed this with the bride and the other maids, of course, before booking a tattoo artist. But the idea seemed like a good one, given as how all five of us are already tattooed – and getting matching tattoos (the design was something the bride chose – a stylized claddagh, to rep her Irish heritage) seemed like a really awesome way to bond and commemorate this once-in-a-lifetime event. We all got together the night before the wedding as well, for a nice quiet evening of drinks and relaxation before the big day. Of all the weddings I've bridesmaided for, that one still stands out as the best and most unique. :)

    0 agree
  17. It's funny you should say penis cake….
    No penises necessary is more like it. Ive been to some pretty crazy ones….penises on veils, on cakes, popcicles, have you ever games about sex….ugh…I'd almost rather have vagina balloons…Since when does a bachelorette party need to be about male genitalia and the outfits I wear to please it? Shouldn't it be about me spending one last night as a single gal with the emphasis being on having a good time? I guess if male genitalia is your idea of a good time; then more power to you…. My MOH has known since she met me that there will be no penises…except my besties :P

    5 agree
  18. This is the second wedding for both my fiance' and I, and we had agreed to not having the traditional bach parties, but rather have a "we're getting hitched" party for the both of us, with all of our friends. I didn't want to have the "penis party" with all the favors, and my fiance didn't want the "last chance" night before the wedding. We are committed to each other and making the whole experience about "us" getting married and celbrating together.

    1 agrees
  19. Instead of a bridal shower my mum is organising a ladies afternoon tea the day before the wedding. It isn't about the bride but the families. A great chance for her to reacquaint herself with my future mother in law and a chance for our nanas to meet (added bonus is watching my best friend play 'ladies' not something that happens often.) My hens night is a goth fairytale theme dinner/party with book games (I have asked for minimal penises) really just an excuse to wear a gorgeous costume and have some girl time (which I hardly get to do). My girls are going all out (but won't tell me much) I keep telling them to make sure they don't spend too much (both have tight budgets). Both love organising things like this though and are determined to make sure I have a great night.(I'm the first one to get married out of us)it is their way of showing me how much hey love me so what ever they plan I'll just go with it. It is interesting some expectations with the traditional gatherings surrounding weddings. <3 OBB for their stellar example of getting hitched couple everywhere doing it their own way.

    1 agrees
  20. Since our bridal party was always going to be a mix of mutual friends, we decided really early on that we'd much rather have bride's team versus groom's team nerf-gun war–or laser-tag, depending on where funds will lead us. Followed by pizza, pasta and beer. No need for anyone in the bridal party to stress over anything other than potentially getting owned!

    0 agree

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.