Planning a Bachelorette Party on a Budget

I've been to three bachelorette parties this summer (one in Austin, one in Nashville and one in Atlantic City) and I understand more than anyone how expensive a bachelorette party can be. Planning a bachelorette party on a budget is actually really hard! It requires a lot of planning and focus from the planners to make sure that spending doesn't get out of control. 

I've been collecting a bunch of tips for planning a bachelorette party on a budget that I'm going to share below. It's hard to incorporate all of the tips into one party, but if you can incorporate just a few it will make it much easier for participants on a budget. 

- When you start planning the party, get a gut check from the participants about how much they are willing to spend for a party.

- Start keeping a list of where everyone is coming from. This will help when it is time to pick a destination. I always try to pick a destination that is inexpensive for at least half of the people in the party. I also try to ask the bride about her most important participants (I know this sounds rude- but if it is most important to her that her sister and best friend from college can come- I try to make sure that the choice of destination reflects that). 

- Try to pick a place that is easy to get to. Make sure the location has a major hub for airlines. If it doesn't, help arrange carpooling for those flying in to the party. 

- If you have a friend who is in driving distance of the party, have them make a big Costco run before the party. This can save a lot of money if you are able to get alcohol and snacks before the party. 

- DO NOT OVERBUY- I find that at parties people almost always overbuy alcohol and snacks. Buy a little bit ahead of time to save money, but don't buy too much. Most people will eat 1-2 snacks. Get an idea of who will be drinking at your party so you can prepare. 

- Consider a rental house over a hotel- Often times a rental house with people sharing rooms can be cheaper than staying in a hotel. I always check VRBO and Airbnb in the city of the party to see if I can find a good deal. Also try asking around if any of your friends own a rental house in the city you are visiting. My husband was able to borrow a friend's rental house for his bachelor party and ended up saving his friends a ton of money. 

- Plan at least one dinner at your rental house or hotel- One of the biggest money sucks of a bachelorette party is going out to dinner. I really like to plan one dinner at the rental house or hotel to keep costs down. Order in pizza, thai, chinese, wings, salads...whatever the bride likes! This is a great chance to play games and give little gifts to the bride all while saving money. 

- Incorporate one free activity during the day- A lot of bachelorette parties include high ticket price activities during the day (wine tasting, boat rental, pedal pub), but if you can try and incorporate one free activity into the day time activity. For example, in Austin you can walk South Congress and go into the shops, do a group walk around town lake, go swimming at Barton Springs (not totally free, but only $3 a person) or have a pool party at your hotel. When we went to Atlantic City, we spend the day at the beach and in Nashville we walked around downtown and the shops by Vanderbilt. All of these activities are super fun, but don't cost your friends a lot of money. 

- Let people know what to expect ahead of time- If you can, make sure you let people know the general cost of the hotel/rental house, big dinner out and any activities ahead of time. This gives your guests a chance to figure out what they can afford and save up if need be. 

- Ask the bride's parents and the groom for a special gift- I always like to ask the groom if he wants to send over a bottle of champagne at dinner or ask the bride's parents if they want to surprise the bride with a couple desserts at dinner. These provide minimal savings, but the cost of a round of drinks or dessert can really add up if you have a large group. I also think they enjoy being included and it is fun for them to be asked. 

- Keep in simple! I think there is a lot of pressure to pick a fancy destination, fancy hotel, buy lots of gifts for the bride and so on, but the reality is that a bachelorette party is fun on its own and you don't have to get too crazy. The bride wants to spend time with her friends, so don't over plan and don't over spend. 

What other tips do you have for planning a bachelorette party on a budget?