Bachelorette parties come in all shapes in sizes, but the trend over the past few years seems to be moving towards bigger and blingier shindigs. While a long weekend away in a five-star hotel certainly sounds like a blast, for many, such grandiose plans tug a little too hard on the purse strings. But slashing the budget doesn’t have to mean compromising on experience. There are plenty of ways to throw a fun budget bachelorette bash without breaking the bank. Below we’re sharing seven ways to keep the bachelorette budget down while still hosting an unforgettable affair.
It can be tempting to start drawing up a list of faraway bachelorette destinations as soon as your best friend gets engaged, but one of the easiest ways to keep bachelorette budget bloat in check is simply to stay local. If everyone is from the same area, this immediately eliminates the huge expenses of transportation and accommodation. And even if some of the party needs to fly or drive in, the question of a night’s stay is easily solved with some generous hosting on the part of those who live in town.
But another convincing reason to keep it local is that you know your hood well, which means you can opt for restaurants, bars, and activities that will give you the best bang for your buck. Even if you want to try something new, tapping into your network is an easy way to get some leads on undiscovered local haunts. Popping a Facebook status up asking people about their favorite spots will likely garner some good recommendations that will cost much less than the best-known tourist traps in an unfamiliar city.
To make the experience even more frugal, there is always the option to have all or part of the bachelorette party at home. Staying in doesn’t have to be a drag—with a bit of forethought in terms of decorations and food and drinks, a girls’ night in or grown-up sleepover can be even more fun than a night on the town.
One of the difficulties that comes with planning a bachelorette party is the differing needs of all the guests who are joining in on the fun. Although, of course, the bride’s wishes take precedence, it is important also to be sensitive to the budgetary constraints of everyone involved.
There are a few simple, delicate strategies for handling this question. A first step is to figure out exactly how much each member of the group has to spend. This is easy to do with private surveys from platforms like Google Forms or Survey Monkey. Everyone can truthfully fill out how much money they are able to spend on the party without having to worry about the whole group learning about their finances. It also keeps girls from spending more than they can afford just to keep up with the rest of the group.
A second important step is to designate one or two lead party planners who will collect this information and keep the budget in check. Although everyone’s suggestions should be welcome, group decision fatigue is a real roadblock ,and too many opinions can lead to lots of unnecessary party purchases. Giving final say to one or two people and equipping them with a solid picture of everyone’s financial situation is a good way to curb the addition of last-minute add-ons.
It can be a pain to scout deals and comparison shop, but this extra time and effort directly translates into dollars saved. Make sure that you are getting value for every bachelorette-related purchase you make. Think—is this something that we could do ourselves? Is there a less expensive option elsewhere? Call and ask around to see if you’re missing out on deals you may not know about.
The extra legwork it takes to look at every single spa or private dining room in the area can mean the difference between paying a premium for the venue with great Google search placement and snagging a deal on a hidden gem. Plus, if you have info about pricing for a few different comparable businesses, you’re in a great position to negotiate and lobby for a discount from one of them.
Group activities are another big area for potential bachelorette spending. Any special class or group outing is likely to run up a steep bill, particularly if you have a larger party. Instead of immediately turning to external providers, consider what kinds of skills and talents your group members have. Got a few fabulous home chefs in the crew? See if they’d be willing to organize dinner and desserts or even lead a fun baking class. Thinking of a “wellness weekend” theme? Your resident fitness guru could lead a short yoga class or meditation session.
Even beyond taking the lead on specific activities, your group members are certain to have tons of soft skills that can be used to keep expenses low. Is one of you a great negotiator? See if you can work your magic to snag a large-group discount or get a free upgrade for the gang. These little moments of extra effort can go a long way in bringing down costs.
Being proactive about timing also has the potential to bring in lots of savings. For example, if your bride sets her wedding date for a year out, start thinking about booking a bachelorette experience now. Not only will you lock down a date, avoiding scheduling conflicts, you can also take advantage of early-bird rates.
Or, host your party earlier in the day to get your money’s worth on specials. Throwing the get-together during weekday happy hour is probably taking things a bit too far, but maybe an at-home slumber party followed by “bottomless” brunch sounds agreeable. Shifting the heavy drinking to a daytime setting is likely to be much less expensive than a late Saturday night of bar hopping.
One of the most fun parts of a bachelorette party is snapping a ton of group photos, especially when you’ve all got on some fabulous coordinated swag. We often head straight to stores and the Internet for these kinds of “themed” items, but with some elbow grease and a little Pinteresting, many are just as easy to make by hand for half the price or less. These projects don’t have to be difficult—for example, a few party hats and cheap accessories in a dedicated area make for a simple, inexpensive photo booth that’s sure to produce some Instagram-worthy shots.
Coordinating a group outfit doesn’t have to break the bank, either. There are certain basics that just about all of us have in our closet, like a little black dress, dark jeans, and some neutral tees. Find a look that everyone can put together, and create a squad style based on these items. The bride can stand out with a contrasting color palette or silhouette, making her the star of the show, no new accessories required.
When it comes down to it, bachelorette parties aren’t about staying in a fancy hotel or sipping on expensive cocktails; they’re about celebrating your favorite girl and this new, important chapter in her life. Keeping this in mind is not only a good way to stay grounded during the hectic planning process, but also a strategy for keeping the budget in its rightful place. One more outing or gift might be nice, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s much less important than making sure your bride knows that you love and support her like no other.