Camping trip: Do your gal pals have a taste for adventure? Pack up your camping gear and hit the road! Nothing says togetherness like piling into a tent for ghost stories or spreading out your sleeping bag under the stars. Load up on fun snacks (s’mores, anyone?), playing cards, and a cooler full of your favorite beverages (this isn’t Jamboree — if there’s beer or Twisted Tea in there we won’t judge!). Camping sites are much cheaper than hotel rooms (typically around $30 per night, although some state and national parks offer sites for free). Because they’re often on protected land, campgrounds have some pretty primetime real estate — take advantage of the amazing views and terrain with sailing and hiking. And don’t forget your camera!
Slumber party: Take it back old school with a festive slumber party. This is an especially fun option if your ‘maids are childhood friends. Kick off the festivities with fun invitations made in the style of folded hallway notes (remember those?). Then stock up on classic DVDs like Sixteen Candles, The Notebook, and Bridesmaids. Satisfy the junk food craving (without totally derailing your pre-wedding diet) by setting out all the fixings for make-your-own pizza: whole wheat crust, skim-milk mozzarella, basil, and fresh veggies. And, okay, homemade margaritas or sangria can’t hurt either. Then crank the tunes and dance the night way!
Game night: For the gal who loves sports and stadium food, it really doesn’t get any better than a bachelorette party at the big game. Sites like stubhub.com are great for finding group tickets, and many stadiums offer discounts for groups of 10 or more so call ahead. Have t-shirts made with your fav team on the front and each girl’s name on the back as party favors (bonus: it will make it even easier for the JumboTron to find you!). Some stadiums will let you purchase beer or soda in a bucket for deeper discounts…and you’ll be thirsty after all of those soft pretzels. Just make sure to have a safe ride home: go in on a bus together to get everyone home safely — and make sure it comes with a killer sound system for the after-party.
Pub crawl: Relive your college days with a pub crawl through her hometown, or the city where she now lives. This is another great place for team uniforms (free drinks, anyone??) or save a little dough by having fun baseball caps printed instead. Call ahead at your fav pubs and bars to see if they have any drink specials, and what time they run from, and then plan accordingly. Make up funny rules for each stop along the way: for example, at one bar everyone has to order their least popular drink; at another, you have to con the waitress into giving the bride a glass of cherries; and at another, you all have to trade an article of clothing (in the privacy of the bathroom, of course!).
Dinner party: Keep it classy with a lady-like (but fun!) dinner party. Set the table with cloth napkins and decorate with tea lights, potted flowers, and confetti. We love Chalkboard China for party favors. Each gal can write her name on her glass with a piece of chalk, and then keep the glass when the night is over (plus, no more “lipstick test” for figuring out who’s glass is who’s!). Save on the food by serving family-style: instead of plating dishes individually, whip up large servings of yummy pasta, salad, and French bread with olive oil and let the ladies share in the goodness. Serve the bride’s favorite treat as dessert and then retire to the parlor (okay, fine, your living room) with dessert wine and dark chocolate.