Longer, fancier, pricier: Blowout bachelor(ette) parties are back
There's an escalating arms race in bachelor and bachelorette parties, with brides and grooms throwing ever-more-elaborate blowouts — and guests shelling out more money (and sometimes regretting it).
Why it matters: Inflation, higher airfares and the pressure to stage Instagram-worthy celebrations are driving up the cost of pre-nuptial revelry, putting social and financial pressure on young adults who already face all kinds of sticker shock.
- 52% of respondents to a Savings.com poll said they took on credit card debt to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party — and 15% felt uncomfortable about it.
- LendingTree, which surveyed 2,100 consumers, found similar results: 56% of bridal party members felt pressure to spend more than they could afford, and 50% incurred debt as a result.
- Nearly 40% of bridesmaids and groomsmen regret spending some of the money they did, according to LendingTree — and 10% were no longer friends with the bride or groom.
What's happening: The Savings.com survey — conducted in June among 504 people who had gone to at least one bach party in the previous 18 months — pegged the median price of attending at $1,500, up from $1,400 in 2021.
- Two-thirds of the guests flew somewhere to participate, with international travelers spending even more: $2,000 on average.
- 20% had attended a bash that lasted four days or more.
- 55% were resentful, saying that hosts should ask guests in advance how much they're comfortable spending.
A separate tally by a company called The BACH, which helps people plan bachelorette parties, found the average range of spending on a trip planned through its app last year was $5,500-$7,000.
- "Everything 'wedding' in our society is getting bigger and better and crazier," says Corie Wagner, an industry analyst at Savings.com.
The gender divide: While blowout bachelorette parties (with themes like "Bridgerton," "Mean Girls" and "Disney princesses") get lots of ink, men spend more dough: People attending bachelor parties spent 70% more than those celebrating the bride, Savings.com found.
- That's because the activities involved — like golf, casino nights and attending professional sports events — tend to have higher price tags.
- Women gravitate toward club-hopping, spa retreats and gift-giving brunches.
- Scottsdale, the #2 hotspot, will see at least 11,600 BACH parties this year, vs. 3,600 last year.
Travel is on the upswing too. Post-pandemic wanderlust has celebrants jetting off to yoga retreats in Jamaica, pool parties in Tulum, and raunchy fun in tried-and-true Las Vegas.
- "Celebration travel" suggestions from Condé Nast Traveler include "a vineyard hop in Portugal," a hike across Scotland's Isle of Skye, and mountain biking through Mayan villages in Guatemala.
- Brides magazine's list of "Instagram-worthy bashes" includes a "Last Sail Before the Veil" in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and a stay in a "retro-glam" hotel in Miami that serves "boozy Popsicles" poolside.
- Some couples are opting for modest hybrid weddings, with some people attending by Zoom.
The bottom line: There are signs of backlash against bachelor/ette Bacchanalia.
- "Especially with the economy right now, people might be ready for a turn back to simpler affairs — toning down what we've taken to be a very normal part of celebrations," says Savings.com's Wagner.