Celebrate the Bride-to-Be (Without Battering Your Budget)

There are many reasons to have a bachelorette party. First, the bride needs a break from wedding planning. Next, it’s an opportunity to say goodbye to a chapter of her life and to mark a new beginning as a married woman. Lastly, a bachelorette party is a final opportunity for things to be all about the bride. Once she gets married and starts having children, she will relish the memories of this friend-filled event. Of course, if your budget has seen better days, that can throw a wrench in your plans. Fortunately, with a little forward thinking, you can give your best girlfriend a sendoff to remember. Here’s what you need to know.

Close to Home

When your bride would prefer to stay closer to home, you still have many options. Of course, you can go with the traditional dinner and bar-hopping while wearing custom-designed matching T-shirts, but you can do better than that!

Plan a themed party by paying attention to things the bride likes. Does she have fond memories of Barbie dolls? Make a life-sized Barbie box to use as a photo prop and have everyone bring three of their favorite outfits to play dress-up as a party game. If your gal pal is more of the outdoorsy type, a “campy” bachelorette party is a low-key way to enjoy an evening together.

No matter which type of festivities you choose, make sure that everyone involved goes home with a keepsake. If you’ve done the photo booth, have plenty of instant cameras and fun props on hand. A fun party favor for a bonfire (that costs just a few dollars to make) is a S’mores kit. The point is to show your appreciation to everyone who helped put together the event and to give you each something that links you together as you all go your separate ways.

Finally, think about ways to keep everyone entertained if you decide to just relax and plan a low-key party. For example, if neither the bride nor her bridesmaids are party animals, why not put together an old-fashioned sleepover? Plan some low-key activities, put together some comfort food, and queue up some great movies and TV shows to keep you occupied. And if you don’t already own a streaming media device, the money that you will spend on one can save you big bucks, especially when it comes to purchasing movies and shows a la carte. By having immediate access to music, TV, and movies, you likely won’t have to cough up a pay-per-view fee when the bride wants to watch The Notebook.

A Week Away

If a group jaunt is more in line with your plans, there’s a lot to consider. It’s true that destination bachelorette parties are all the rage. From Nashville to Miami Beach, cities across the US happily open up to the soon-to-be-wed and their entourage. But this is perhaps the most expensive bachelorette party, and it is customary for the bridal party to cover the cost. There are a few ways, however, to reduce expenses so you can afford a weekend or week away.

Think outside the box with accommodations. One common misconception is that booking your hotel, cabin, or condo through a third-party site will cost you the same as booking directly. In many cases, this is not true, and you could be missing out on significant savings by not calling your intended accommodations. If you are looking for a condo on the beach, for example, keep in mind that VRBO and similar sites charge a service fee. Another benefit of calling the property owner or manager is having access to exclusive discounts and having someone point out similar and more affordable options.

You don’t have to spend a month’s worth of paychecks to celebrate the big event. A little ingenuity, creativity, and positivity will go a long way toward not only making the bachelorette party fun but also helping you keep your hard-earned dollars where they belong. One last word of advice is to get started now. The sooner you begin planning, the more money you can save.

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