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13 Ideas for a Fun and Inexpensive Bachelorette Party

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WEDDING BELLS ARE GOING TO CHIME

Traditional bachelorette parties often involve out-of-town trips, male dancers, and high-end bars, all of which can be pretty expensive for everyone involved. But there are simpler, less expensive ways for the bride-to-be and her friends to celebrate, reminisce, and enjoy one last toast before the big day.

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PAINT AND SIP

Many art studios and galleries offer instructional painting classes, allowing novices to try painting pottery or creating masterpieces while sipping wine or other beverages. Classes typically start at about $35 a person, with group rates sometimes available (check Groupon for local deals). Some studios permit patrons to bring their own food, as well, and everyone gets a keepsake to take home.

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MAKE A SPLASH AT A WATER PARK

What could be better than fun in the sun at a local water park? Buying tickets in advance typically results in the best deal and gives the group a whole day to lay in the sun, play in the pool, and cool off on the water slides. Some water parks feature on-site hotels, so your party can come and go as they please.

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FOLLOW A WINE TRAIL

If the bride is an oenophile, check out a wine trail stringing together a group of wineries in the same area. Every state in the Lower 48 has at least one to explore during the course of a day or over a weekend. Many wineries offer free or inexpensive tours and tastings.

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HAVE SLUMBER PARTY

Relive the teen years: Rent DVDs of old favorites (or stream them), set up shop in a friend's living room, eat whatever you want, throw in some adult drinks (if so inclined), and stay up all night.

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BOOK A SUITE

Instead of flying to Vegas, stay home and book a hotel suite. It can be affordable if the cost is divided among a few members of the bridal party, and not everyone needs to spend the night -- this can be a fun alternative to staying in. Stock up on booze, order pizza, and enjoy not having to worry about cleaning up or driving home.

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MAKEUP PARTY

It's not quite a Tupperware Party for your face, but close. It's a makeup party, where a representative comes and demonstrates cosmetics on a certain number of guests. These parties are usually free to host. Partygoers can pool funds to buy something the bride has on her eye on and get ideas for the big day. Keep the cocktails, snacks, and compliments coming.

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ROCK OUT UNDER THE STARS

Summertime is full of free outdoor concerts. Go online or snag a local paper to see who's coming to town in the next few weeks or months, and schedule accordingly. Outdoor venues frequently let guests bring in food and drink, helping keep costs in check.

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BAR HOP

Designate a driver or two (or divvy up the cost of a party bus) and spend a night on the town. Choose establishments with no cover charge and buy the bride's drinks. It's an easy way to get everyone involved no matter the budget.

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HIT THE ROAD

If you're sick of the local scene, hit the road to a nearby city. Pool gas money -- and book a cheap vacation rental where the group can crash when the night is over. It may not be a Vegas road trip, but it can still be loads of fun.

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HOST A THEMED PARTY

Does the bride love the Great Gatsby? Are the '60s more her style? Is she a Harry Potter freak? Host a bachelorette party where all the details -- food, music, and decor -- reflect the chosen theme. Consider showing a related movie to round out the festivities.

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HOST A COOKING PARTY

Ask each guest to bring the ingredients for a family recipe and cook dinner together. Afterward, give the recipes to the bride. Or, try something new -- YouTube hosts tons of cooking tutorials that range in skill level. A bottle or two of wine will top off the fun.

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CAMP OUT

State and national parks offer hiking trails, scenery, and lots of lodging choices, from campsites to cabins to hotels, but even a backyard campout can get partygoers back to nature. Pick a friend's house where there is plenty of space -- and no nearby neighbors who will be annoyed at late-night chortling. Complete the outdoorsy slumber party with a campfire and plenty of s'mores.

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GO SKATING

Roller rinks and ice skating arenas can often be reserved for a memorable throwback outing, but they also thrive on drop-ins during open skating hours. For less than $10 a head, typically, the group can spend a couple of hours sharpening their skating skills. Concessions are optional but still usually pretty cheap.