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Cheap bachelorette party ideas

2011 April 20

As it turned out, there wasn’t any one weekend in the four months leading up to my wedding that all of my best friends could get together for a bachelorette party, so we planned two!  The first weekend was built around a fun night out in Atlanta, and the second will be a relaxing weekend at the beach.  We made sure both trips would be very affordable so everyone could attend one or both without having to worry about money.  We also set up both trips so no one would have to take any time off work, which was crucial since all of us recent grads have limited vacation time!

A bachelorette party in the big city

Bachelorette party in Atlanta at Flip FlopsOur first trip, to Atlanta, was planned to be my big party night.  We did the whole trendy dinner, pretty outfits, fancy shoes thing, and it was a blast!  The big city money savers were:

  • Don’t fly: We chose a city nearby where we could all drive in a reasonable amount of time.  I am lucky to have all ladies involved living in VA, NC and GA, so there were a number of places we could have all gone without anyone having to fly.
  • Sleep for free: We were also careful to choose a location where we’d have a free place for our whole group to say.  One member of our crowd lives right in downtown – very convenient!  If you don’t have a friend in the city you want to have you party in, consider staying with someone’s parents.  I’ve heard of this working very well for some groups.
  • Call a cab: We chose to call a taxi van and give them a pretty good window of time to show up instead of renting a party bus, which would have been much more expensive.  We also chose to eat dinner and go straight out in the same part of town – cutting down on the number of rides we would need.
  • Plan cheap day-time activities: We spent the day Saturday visiting the SweetWater Brewery – a full afternoon’s worth of entertainment and great beer for $8!
  • Plan your restaurants well: For dinner, we chose to go to the Prickly Pear, a fun, trendy restaurant downtown that had a great range of prices for dinner options.  It was a modern Mexican place where you could order a fairly pricey dinner specialty dish if you were feeling fancy, OR you could save a little cash and stick to ordering a couple of  their DELICIOUS, creative (and super cheap!) tacos.  A great way for everyone to get the experience they were looking for and stay within their own budget.
  • Dress up! My best tip on saving money at bars is to go all out letting everyone know you’re having a bachelorette party.  Do the whole crown, sash thing – even if you think it’s cheesy.  You’ll only get to do this once (hopefully!), so go ahead and announce your presence to the world!  When you’re all decked out, you’re more likely to get free stuff.  We found that our whole group got reduced cover since we were all wearing festive leis, and, at Flip Flops, we got a whole free round of shots for the occasion :)  By the way, if you’re looking for fun places to go with a group in Atlanta, this is it!  The whole place feels like a vacation – very Margaritaville – with a fun band downstairs and a club atmosphere upstairs.

Bachelorette party in Atlanta at Prickly Pear

Relaxing beach bachelorette weekend

In central NC, we’re very spoiled.  We’re only a couple hours from the mountains and a couple hours from the beach.  We plan to take advantage of the great location and take a cheap trip out to the beach a few weeks before the wedding.  This will give us all a chance to work on our tans and enjoy each other’s company before the big day!  Our money saving plans include:

  • Don’t fly (again).
  • Sleep for free or cheap (again). We happen to have lots of friends with beach places and are planning to stay somewhere for free.  Another option is camping.  There are lots of groups of girls who wouldn’t like this option, but NC has some great on-the-beach camping and some great camp sites with bathrooms and electricity hook-ups.  We all (well, most of us) love to camp and will probably go this route if our free plans fall through.
  • Cook. Going out to eat all weekend can really add up.  We are planning to assign meals to everyone, planning just one dinner to eat at a seafood restaurant.  We always do this when we go out of town, and it works out really well.  We usually try to give everyone meals that fit into their cooking comfort zones and budgets, assigning a breakfast or two to someone who doesn’t really like to cook and letting the chefs pair up to make the more expensive, labor intensive  dinners.
  • Bring your booze with you. Going out to beach bars can be pretty expensive, so we plan to make most of our own drinks at the house.  Making your own means you’ll have more room in your budget for fancy, girly concoctions than you would getting them at a bar or restaurant.
  • Plan an at-home spa day. If you’re enjoying the beach properly, your skin will reap the benefits.  Just being at the beach should mean that you’ll get a little sun (not too much!), be exfoliated all over (from the sand), and have any little cuts healed up faster (from the salt water).  Plan a day to further pamper yourselves and your skin so it will glow during the wedding.  I got a tip recently from a facial pro who said to mix ground coffee with canned pumpkin for a cheap, natural facial.  The coffee will exfoliate and energize your skin, getting rid of surface dirt and oil, leaving behind a little caffeine.  The pumpkin will soak into your pores, dissolving and pulling out additional dirt and oil.

We’ve found these tips to be very easy and have had a blast without spending a ton of money.  If you have any more ideas, let us know before we head off to the beach!   Post them in the comments.

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