We hate to be bachelorette party poopers, but here’s a sobering statistic: One in three Americans have gone into debt while attending a bachelorette or bachelor party, according to a 2019 survey from Credit Karma. For millennials, that number is even higher, with 36% of millennial partygoers reporting being more than $500 in the red.
And bachelorette parties are only getting more expensive, with multiday celebrations at destination locales increasingly popular. According to 2021 data from The Knot, one out of every two participants is now willing to spend almost $1,000 on a bachelorette party.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that while the pressure to shell out on lavish nights and multiday getaways is real, you can — with a bit of creativity — throw a fabulous bachelorette party without going broke. To help you plan an out-of-the-box, unforgettable, irresistibly Instagrammable bash that doesn’t drain your bank account — or your guests’ bank accounts — here is a complete guide to saving money on a fabulous bachelorette party.
What Is a Bachelorette Party?
In simple terms, a bachelorette party is a gathering held to celebrate a bride-to-be’s upcoming marriage and final few days of being unhitched. It’s usually attended by the bride’s closest friends and family.
The bachelorette party was born around the ‘60s, coinciding with the women’s liberation movement. Over the years, it evolved from a single gathering the night before the wedding to multiday extravaganzas with everything from hiking to horseback riding to massages to boat charters to bar crawls.
Who Pays for a Bachelorette Party?
Typically, the attendees pay their own way through the bachelorette party, covering costs like travel and housing for overnight events. In addition, it’s customary for party attendees to chip in to cover the bride’s expenses, like drinks and entertainment. However, if there’s traveling involved, the bride often pays for her own flight and accommodation.
Cost-Friendly Bachelorette Party Locations
Of course, you don’t always have complete flexibility when choosing the dates for your bachelorette party. You’ll likely have a little more wiggle room when choosing a destination itself, however, so go for destinations where your dollar will go farther. Here are some of the most budget-friendly bachelorette party locations for 2022:
- Las Vegas, Nevada: If you can resist the slot machines, Vegas can actually be a ridiculously inexpensive place to party. You can fly there for cheap from most places in the U.S., and the abundance of accommodation options means you can score a deal pretty much year-round. Bonus: Girls get free admission to many nightclubs and events.
- Austin, Texas: In addition to being an affordable, funky little city, Austin is packed with affordable, bachelorette party-friendly activities — like hiking, paddleboarding, two-steppin’ and plenty of barbecue eatin’.
- National Parks: Scattered across the U.S., national parks represent accessible, magical nature retreats for bachelorette partygoers. You can rent a cabin, simmer in hot springs and frolic in nature while skipping pricey restaurants, crowded clubs and budget-busting spa treatments.
- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: There are a lot of reasons to choose Puerto Vallarta as your beach bachelorette party destination: cheap flights from the U.S., affordable, abundant accommodation options, amazing eats and plenty of beaches for lounging. And a favorable exchange rate with the Mexican peso means your dollar will stretch further and cover more margaritas, snorkeling excursions and carne asada tacos.
- San Juan, Puerto Rico: Similar to Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Rico is a dreamy beach bachelorette party destination that is relatively affordable, with four-star resorts available for under $200 per night. San Juan is a lively locale with colorful buildings, sunny weather and vibrant nightlife.
Money-Saving Travel Tip: Whether you’re flying to a far-flung island or a nearby town, you can save big on airfare, accommodation, activities and even food if you travel during offseason. Summer is usually a high season, while winter is usually an offseason, with some exceptions. For example, in Mexico and the Caribbean, the offseason period begins shortly after Easter and lasts until the middle of December. To determine the best time to travel for your bachelorette party, it’s best to plan on a destination-by-destination basis.
Affordable and Fun Bachelorette Party Ideas
Of course, you don’t have to travel anywhere to have a one-of-a-kind bachelorette bash. Here are seven affordable and fun bachelorette party ideas that can happen virtually anywhere, including your hometown.
Host an Adult Slumber Party
Now that you’re all grown-ups, you get to do all the sleepover things you dreamed of as youngsters: stay up all night, have pillow fights, eat ice cream before dinner, and watch R-rated movies. Plus, you can add in activities your younger selves didn’t know you liked, sipping champagne and wearing Korean sheet masks. In the morning, keep the party going with a home-cooked mimosa brunch.
Volunteering as a group for your bachelorette party is free, and it fills you with that warm, fuzzy feeling of having given back to the world. To choose a volunteer activity, brainstorm a cause the group cares about. Ideas include a local food bank, animal shelter or Habitat for Humanity branch.
Take an Exercise Class
Another way to get those endorphins up is to kick off the festivities with an exercise class — think kickboxing, yoga or pole dancing. Call a nearby studio or instructor to see if they do private group sessions.
Visit a Brewery or Winery
No matter where you are in the country, there are likely to be breweries and wineries within ride-sharing distance. Pro tip: bottles of wine or growlers of beer from the establishment you visit make perfect bridal party favors.
Not only is roller-skating super affordable and fun, but it’s dang good exercise. Plus, many rinks will happily let you bring your own drinks and food if you rent out a party room or table. Consider buying matching bridal party jumpsuits for the occasion.
Host an Outdoor Movie Night
If you live in a warm enough climate, rent a movie screen, projector and popcorn machine to watch your favorite flicks under the stars. Bachelorette movie ideas include “Bachelorette,” “Bridesmaids,” “Sex and the City: The Movie,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”
Have a Karaoke Night
Serenade the bride-to-be at a karaoke night at a local watering hole or at one of your homes. Must-sing songs include the “Wannabe” by The Spice Girls, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” by Beyoncé and “No Scrubs,” by TLC.
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