How to Throw a Fabulously Frugal Bachelorette Party

by Janey Osterlind on 8 July 2011 8 comments

Although parties honoring brides-to-be have been around for hundreds of years, bachelorette parties as they’re known today are relatively new concepts. Nowadays, girls’ trips to Vegas and elaborate fêtes are common ways to celebrate upcoming nuptials. Although they’re loads of fun, bachelorette parties can also end up costing you loads of cash. So how can you avoid becoming just another broke bridesmaid (or even just friend of the bride)? Read on for the top 10 do’s and don’ts for having a frugal-yet-fabulous bachelorette party! (See also: Wise Wedding Showers)

1. Don’t Fly There

It’s always more expensive to fly. Unless you really want to splurge and all your guests are in a position to do so, don’t plan a bachelorette party across the country. If you do decide to take your show on the road, see how many girls are willing to share a car, and therefore the cost of gas, with you.

2. Don’t Get a Hotel

If you’re going for frugal, dishing out for fancy digs shouldn’t be on your agenda. There are plenty of ways to stay for free. Start with girls who will be attending the party — does one of them have a great downtown apartment? Ask her if she’d mind playing hostess to the girls for the night. Don’t be afraid to move beyond the circle of girls attending the bachelorette party, either. If you have a relative with a vacation condo, consider checking to see whether the girls could use it for a night or two. Just remember the old campground rule, and apply it to your host’s home — “Leave it cleaner than you found it!” That way, you’ll be more likely to 1. Stay friends with the person (especially important if you also happen to be related) and 2. Be able to stay at said home or vacation condo in the future.

3. Don’t Think You Have to Stay at Home

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to throw a bachelorette party at someone’s house. Think about nearby attractions — in my case, a large, man-made lake is only an hour away. Tourists flock here in warmer months, and it provides excellent sun, sand, and water fun for countless bachelorette parties. Two hours away, we have a big city (bigger than my little college town, anyway) with a great bar and restaurant district that provides a great mini-vacation for girls’ nights out. If you’re into adventure, think about taking your bachelorette party into the wilderness. Check out Reserve America to find camping sites across the country.

4. Do Take Advantage of Economies of Scale

OK, I know I said not to get a hotel if you’re going for frugal bachelorette party. The exception to that rule is when you spread the cost of hotel over as many guests as you’re allowed to and that you’re comfortable with. I would also recommend checking out vacation condos for rent at VRBO — it’s possible to find a condo for 1-2 nights that sleeps six for the same price as a hotel room.

5. Don’t Rent a Party Bus

Of course, you should celebrate responsibly, but keeping everyone safe by renting a bus or limo will definitely push a bachelorette party from frugal and fabulous to budget buster. Instead, call a taxi company that offers van rides. You could even call before the evening starts and tell the van when to show up at various locations. If you do decide to stay in a hotel, consider choosing one with a free shuttle service. Or, as an alternative, enlist a relative or other responsible driver to transport the bachelorette party guests. Everyone should chip in to compensate them with money or a gift — it will cost less than a bus and a night of taxis!

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6. Don’t Hesitate to Ask to Split the Cost

If you are the Maid of Honor in charge of planning a bachelorette party, don’t think that leaves you stuck footing the whole bill. Be upfront about the cost of each activity and communicate with all invitees how and when payment should happen. The more you can take care of before the bachelorette party, the better! Also keep in mind the financial circumstances of all attendees. True, you might be able to splurge on a day at the spa with the girls, but the bride’s younger cousin might not.

7. Do Get Creative to Have the Party You Want

Speaking of a day at the spa, if you’ve been dreaming of a spa getaway for your bachelorette party but can’t afford it, why not have a spa night in? Try some of these music, menu, and mood tips or this spa party itinerary from TheKnot.com. Vegas more your style? Host a bachelorette casino night at home using some of these ideas from eVite.

8. Do Things During the Day to Save Money

Who says a bachelorette party has to start when the sun goes down? Starting the party earlier in the day can not only offer some fresh ideas for bachelorette parties; it can also save some dough. If your bachelorette is a fan of craft beer or local wine, think about spending the afternoon touring a brewery or winery. Or, if there is a restaurant the bride-to-be absolutely loves but is just out of the group’s budget, try ordering lunch there.

9. Do Make Your Own Decorations and Favors to Save Money

With a little time and ingenuity, you can make any decorations to fit the theme of your bachelorette party. Not staying in all night? Buy inexpensive T-shirts for each of the girls to decorate before heading out the door. At a minimum, it will allow you to easily spot those in your group. As a bonus, identifying yourselves as part of the bachelorette crew can sometimes score you free swag.

10. Do Practice Good Etiquette

OK, this one’s not directly related to frugal bachelorette parties, but in an indirect way, it may even save you money. For one, if you’re practicing good etiquette, you won’t break things at the venue where you’re holding your party. It should also ensure that you’re not shunned from Uncle Larry’s vacation condo for ruining that antique table. Not sure what constitutes proper bachelorette party etiquette, other than not breaking things? Check out these bachelorette party protocol tips.

Have you ever thrown a frugal, yet fabulous, bachelorette party? Do you have any tips on how to avoid being a bachelorette party bridezilla? Share your thoughts in the comments! 

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Guest's picture

I was recently at a bachelorette party that followed SOME of your guidelines. We started with a bridal shower lunch at a small restaurant, which was lovely. Then, we took a limo to a winery. We all split the cost of the limo and tasting, which ended up to be about $40 each. I probably ended up spending around $120 for the shower and party plus her gift, so it was a lot. There were definitely some things that could have been done to save money, but the bride-to-be had a blast, and in retrospect, that is most important.

Andrea Karim's picture

I actually had to skip this tradition altogether. I'm simply terrible at planning things, and I don't think I have ever enjoyed the forced frivolity of a bachelorette party. I'm not sure how common it is to simply skip it altogether, but that was the option that I chose.

Meg Favreau's picture

The only bachelorette party I've been to was SUPER low-key. Dinner, a few drinks, and dancing in the bride's little hometown. I was really thankful that it wasn't a crazy (or expensive) evening.

Guest's picture
Steff

I recently planned a b-party for a bride who doesn't drink or dance, and finds spa stuff boring, so I had to get creative. I ended up getting a photographer that she loved (but couldn't get for the wedding, as she was already booked), and we got all dolled up and did a fun photo shoot for the afternoon. Then we went to a gorgeous little cafe for desserts afterward. Everyone had a great time, especially the bride, and we have a photographic record in which we all look fabulous. I volunteered to pay for most of it myself due to the circumstances of the other girls, so it wasn't exactly cheap for me, but in a situation where the costs are more evenly split (and with perhaps a less expensive photographer) it could be quite reasonable.

The important thing about a b-party isn't flying to vegas or drinking all night long, it's about knowing the bride and finding something creative she'll absolutely love.

Janey Osterlind's picture

That sounds like a great bachelorette party! I love the reminder to find something unique that the bride will love. Thanks for sharing!

Guest's picture

Happy Hour is great for bachelorettes! Half-price cocktails, often with free snacks thrown in - what more do you need? Cocktails always feel celebratory and glamorous but at full-price can be prohibitive. Check out cocktail happy hours at all the bars in your area - they're often at different times allowing you to work out a schedule and plan a Cocktail Crawl of all the best ones!

Guest's picture
Hannah

I had two "fabulously frugal" bachelorette parties. The first was when my then-fiance and his buddies went to Vegas, the weekend before our wedding. We had just moved into our new apartment which was conveniently across the street from a brewery, so all of us girlfriends/fiancees/wives left behind from the bachelor party had a delicious dinner then came back to my new apartment for a safe and boozy slumber party. We had DVDs but never got around to watching them because we were talking so much.

Then, the night before my wedding, about 10 (different) girlfriends and I gathered into two hotel rooms. Everyone brought delicious snacks and drinks and silly gifts, and we had another safe and boozy slumber party.

I loved both my bachelorette parties. Really, I hate going out. It's expensive and loud and you have to deal with stupid people and transportation and reservations...and someone ALWAYS either gets too drunk, gets her feelings hurt, or loses her wallet. Slumber parties are soooo chill, and you get lots of quality time with your favorite people (some of whom are probably from out-of-town and you won't see them until the next wedding).

Janey Osterlind's picture

Thanks for sharing! Both of those sound like really fun (and fabulously frugal) bachelorette parties! The best part is that all of your guests got the chance to talk and spend real QT together - I think the slumber party was a great way to go.