Most of us don't have the budget for a Parisian-themed blowout à la Bridesmaids, but that doesn't mean the bride-to-be should settle for the early bird special in the name of savings.
Though it may seem like bar-hopping at nearby watering holes is the cheapest way to go, money becomes no object once the booze start flowing. There are other ways to host a memorable ladies' night out sans the life-size cookie and gut-wrenching bar tab, so consider these six ideas before rounding up the girls.
1. Get Out of Town
This is the ideal option but not always the most economical. There are ways to reduce the costs associated with an all-girls getaway, but be prepared to plan well in advance. First, consider a one-night stay somewhere nearby, or relatively close to attendees' respective homes. Once a location is established, let party-goers know the details so they can get booking. Find party accessories online for less, and outfit the bride in a little girl's tiara for up to 75-percent less than speciality retailers.
2. Scavenger Hunt
Channel your inner child and create a scavenger hunt for the bride, complete with challenges to solicit free drinks from strangers and requests for silly photos. If you live in a big city, check out StrayBoots for inexpensive packages tailored for bachelorette parties and be prepared to uncover unknowns in your hometown.
3. At-home Wine Tasting
If the bride-to-be isn't into the bar-hopping-male-stripper scene, consider hosting an at-home wine tasting. Cut costs by asking attendees to bring a bottle of their favorite wine-and-snack duo. You'll need a wine glass for every attendee, plus water and bread to serve as palette cleansers. If you want to go all out, consult this advice from Real Simple magazine.
4. Lots of Laughs
The stress of wedding planning is likely getting to everyone, so a night full of laughter might just be what the doctor ordered. Check out your local comedy club and call ahead for front-row seating. Make yourselves known to the entertainers by ordering bachelorette-themed party wear online, making sure to grab free shipping codes from sites like FreeShipping.org to avoid delivery charges.
5. Paint & Sip
If you haven't yet taken advantage of the paint and sip trend, consider this your golden opportunity. What better way to celebrate the bride's pending nuptials than with a wine-laden arts and crafts session? Hit up Google for a nearby studio, or better yet, tap into a friend's artistic talent by having her lead the session at someone's home.
6. Bridal Bowling
You'll get plenty of attention as a group of all-girls in a bowling alley, but consider taking it a step further by outfitting the bride and attendants in the worst available versions of thrift-store wedding attire. Call ahead to reserve a couple lanes and talk to the manager about available packages, including pre-ordered food and a personal attendant. Let the good times roll!
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles.