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

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Me and my bridesmaids
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:

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

  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!

    • 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!

  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.

  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. 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!

  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.

  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!

  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.

  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.

  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.

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