Nowadays, having separate parties can seem a little dated. After all, you both have close friends of the opposite sex, as well as many "couple" friends. So why not merge your parties and give everyone a chance to hang out together before the big day?  Here are 5 budget-friendly ideas that don't involve jetting to Vegas for the weekend.

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Lawn Party

Take the usual weekend barbeque up a couple of notches and host a lawn party. Play croquet, giant Jenga, badminton, and cornhole.  Treat your guests to a preppy cocktail such as a Tom Collins, and serve buffet friendly picnic fare.  If you want your party to go into the evening, use string lights to illuminate your patio and yard.

Camping Trip

For outdoorsy friends, nothing quite beats a campfire and sleeping under the stars. Pack up your tents and flashlights and head to your favorite spot.  Distribute a list ahead of time so that everyone remembers to bring the necessities like tent stakes and a camp chair.  Serve gourmet s'mores. Have a fishing contest. Go for a hike to an incredible lookout.

Pub Crawl/Winery Tastings

Does your hometown dominate when it comes to great microbrews?  Or is it surrounded by vineyards as far as the eye can see? Perhaps you live in an area with plenty of cool distilleries?  Whatever adult beverage your locale is known for--embrace it crawl style. Visit local pubs, breweries, or distilleries, with plenty of carb and water breaks in between. If you will be driving rather than walking, a party bus is probably the safest and most convenient bet.

Carnival or Arcade

Nostalgia may just be one of the most important ingredients to a successful party.  Especially if you have known each other a long time, being a kid again might just be one of the best ways to celebrate this next step in your lives.  Go to a local carnival or arcade. Ride the rides. Lose all of your money at silly games. Eat bags full of cotton candy and popcorn.  Just don't forget to take plenty of pictures in that cramped little photo booth!

Local Tours

Every city has tourist-centric tours that are absolute gems when it comes to being entertained. Perhaps it's a ghost tour of your town's historic district. Or maybe one of those amphibious vehicle tours that takes you from land to sea. Harbor dinner cruise anyone?  If you have always been curious about one of these, they can be a humorous memory for you all to share together.

Photography   |   Bartlett Pair Photography