(NSFW) Tips on Throwing a Thrifty Bachelorette Party

Throwing parties is what I was born to do. I am basically Jay Gatsby, except instead of trying to impress Daisy, I just really like drinking wine. Speaking of which, I threw a Gatsby-themed birthday party for David last year – as well as a Parks & Recreation Graduation Party for myself, an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, a Friendsgiving Potluck, and a Halloween Party where costumes were mandatory.

So when my mom and her fiance announced they were getting married, and I was given the high honor of Bridesmaid #1 (first-born perks), I knew that my duties were pre-destined. I decided to throw my mom a kick-ass shindig that no one would forget, and I themed it “Kathleen’s Three C’s Bachelerotte Party”. The three C’s standing for: champagne, chocolate, and cheese.

“But Jenn,” you might be thinking, “chocolate, cheese, and champagne? Those are not cheap! Aren’t you a stingy bitch?” The answer to this is yes. But with the right planning and tools, any Bachelorette Party is budget-friendly!

Warning: NSFW (Not Safe For Work) photos to follow!

Tips & Tricks to Throwing a Thrifty Bachelorette Party: 

  • Decide on a budget and make your lists.Pre-planning is vital to saving money. For this particular party, I made two separate lists with estimated costs. One was for groceries, and one was for decorations and games. Once I was able to see the list physically, I knew where I could subtract, combine, create, or save.DSC_9131Some examples: I wanted to make both punch and shots to offer. The punch I ended up making was Cosmopolitan Punch (just the ingredients for a normal cosmo), then with my leftover alcohol, I was able to just use a lil’ orange juice, and mix to make my own version of “Pink Panty Drop” shots. This offered a variety of drinks and was a lower cost for me.I also knew my mom wanted games at her party, so I pinterest-ed some ideas and came away with several. I decided to throw a rousing game of “pin the penis” (details below), set up a photo booth, and create a drinking game. I could have chosen to purchase all of these games from Amazon, but instead decided to get crafty and make some myself.
    DSC_9136
    I would weigh 5 pounds less if Trader Joes didn’t exist.

    My final idea list for games/decor: streamers, balloons, poster board, markers, index cards,  misc. decoration (an inflatable penis and a mug shot backdrop), a speaker, and a nice sash for my mom.

    My final idea list for food: mini chocolate chip cookies, mini brownies, cupcakes, candy, chocolates, cheese, crackers, champagne, triple sec, vodka, cranberry juice, lemons, extra juice, plastic shot glasses, a disposable table cloth, plastic drink-wear, paper napkins, plastic cutlery and plates.

  • Save money by scouring your house for items, and then by shopping at the right places.DSC_9125Now that you have your list, do you realize you already have some of those items? If yes, then good! You just saved money without leaving the couch. For me, I already had cupcake mix and food coloring to, um, help the cupcakes achieve a pinker tone. I also own a speaker, and had leftover alcohol and paper/plastic cutlery from my abundant previous parties. I also had many craft supplies on hand, like sharpies.For shopping:Your first stop should always be the dollar store. While I wouldn’t recommend electronics from here (don’t buy a dollar store speaker), I would recommend cheap food items like candy, icing, or chips, and DEFINITELY buy your decorations and cutlery here.

    I ended up buying white icing here for my cupcakes, candy (so cheap – 59 cents for a bag), streamers, balloons, poster board, index cards, and cranberry SODA (see, I cheated on my cosmo punch to save! Who cares!).

    Next are wholesale shops like Costco – a great choice for budget-friendly but not crap-quality alcohol. I should emphasize here that while you want to save on costs for your party, you also don’t want to kill your guests AKA don’t buy Everclear, just don’t (don’t EVERclear hahaha).

    At Costco, I bought my hard liquor. I would have bought snacks, but I shopped too early before the party and my food would have gotten stale.

    Your next stop should then be Wal-Mart or your local grocery. For my local store, I went to Trader Joes – my favorite place in the world!

    There is a misconception that Trader Joes is “expensive”. I disagree with this. First of all, the quality you receive is far superior than that of budget stores. And second, if you don’t eat meat or buy milk like me, it’s pretty comparable in price.

    DSC_9140
    The party peenie.

    At Trader Joes, I found my snack items, including bite sized cookies and brownies (their sea salt brownies are dangerous and I’d happily eat an entire tub), cheap crackers, and a blob of mozzarella cheese. Also at TJ, I bought ALL of my champagne and triple sec. Wine at Trader Joes is very reasonable –  they are the creators of 3-Buck Chuck! I decided with 20 people coming that 1 bottle would satisfy 3 people (since a lot of people were bringing their own wine as well), and altogether bought 7 bottles of sparkling wine uhhh champagne ;).

    And at Walmart, I found reasonably-priced plastic shot glasses (which I could not find at the Dollar Store, sadly).

    Lastly, utilize Amazon. I typically like Amazon, but I do feel that their prices are not that competitive. However, you can find items that you might not be able to spot on a trip to the local Walmart…. like this very reasonable $3 sash I bought for my mom since I can’t sew, and a blow-up party peenie that I definitely splurged on.

  • And save more money + add a creative charm to the party by getting crafty.Through Pinterest, I eyed several ideas for party games and favors. Most linked back to an Amazon page to buy from, but I felt that, with the right tools, I could recreate most of the items. Armed with both my handy-dandy, artistic best friend, Claire, and a bunch of dollar store craft supplies, we got to cooking.First I saw these cute “Drink If…” cards on Amazon that were shaped like diamonds. Using scissors, I cut index cards into diamond shapes and then decorated with pink and gold sharpies. With the help of the internet, we were able to create over 50 cards, encouraging people to “drink if….”.During my dollar-store excursion, I also found a hot-pink paper hat, that I bought for my mom and wrote on it “Bride” with gold sharpie.

    Next, the incredibly talented Claire drew an (almost) life-sized version of my mom’s teenage heartthrob, John Cusack. Originally, since I lack the artistic genius that Claire possesses, I was just going to print out a photo of his face and then draw a sub-par body. I think this still would have been hilarious, but I am glad that Claire donated her skills to the cause. Then, using those same dollar store index cards that we used for “Drink If”, we drew and cut out about thirty different looking penises to use in a game of “Pin the Penis on John Cusack”.

    Lastly, I made a frugal no-no and didn’t create our photo booth. But I should have, and I would have… Had I not been so frazzled. With just some more poster board and a black sharpie, I could have easily created a line up. And with black paper and a paint pen, I could have created the place cards. But alas, instead I bought them here, for still pretty cheap.

  • Utilize social media.
    DSC_9231
    The bride to be.

    While I appreciate the sentiment behind a personally signed card, I feel like that can be saved for the wedding invite. Almost everyone has a Facebook in this day and age, and even if they don’t, now via FB invites you can even email people. It saves on time and money and offers a great form of convenience as well.

    The best part about Facebook Events is that you can create a small discussion and community among the forum. Guests can let you know if they are still figuring out their availability, they can chat with one another about what to bring, ask questions, etc. I was also able to make my mom an admin, which was handy because she then was able to invite the friends she wanted to attend who I wasn’t friends on Facebook with.

  • Ask for help – make it a pot luck!DSC_9126As the party approached, I began to panic that I wasn’t going to have enough food. The Facebook party toll kept climbing, and my crackers and cheese didn’t seem like enough to satisfy a crowd. I could buy more food, but I was running out of time and my budget was already maxed out.Thankfully though, with the power of Facebook, I could post a comment asking people to let me know if they were bringing anything. That sent a notification out to the attendees, and I got a slew of responses!Everyone ended up bringing something, and we had a feast of chips, dips, pizzas, cupcakes, more cupcakes, and lots and lots of wine. It was great! And I was so appreciative of everyone for contributing.

In Conclusion:

While I love to throw parties, I definitely think there is an art to executing a successful one. This was the first bachelorette party that I have thrown, and I think it ended up being a hit. I stayed within my budget and my mom’s friends all said they had a great time. The only thing that was missing was someone jumping out of a cake. Next time I will just bake myself into one, because, cake.

I hope that his post helped charge your creative juices and provided you inspiration for this summer of seemingly unending bachelorette party!

Have any questions? Comments? Ideas? Let me know them below!

 



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