There’s no doubt that weddings are fun (hello, open bar). But if we’re being honest, it’s the pre-wedding party — i.e., the bachelor/bachelorette party — where some of the best memories are made among friends.
That said, throwing a bachelor or bachelorette party isn’t cheap. And since it’s a group effort, you’ll need to plan something that’s affordable for all involved. That can be tricky, especially if you have friends of varying affluence.
“When you’re taking the plunge, friends and family want to chip in and help out,” said etiquette expert Lisa Grotts, AKA the “Golden Rules Gal.” Plus, she said, people who will be invited to the party are generally people in your wedding party. Therefore, they most likely know what they’re getting into financially.
“However, it doesn’t hurt to have a discussion ahead of time about cost, so there are no questions later on,” Grotts said. “The last thing anyone wants is to have hurt feelings before a wedding, especially among the wedding party.”
Before you get too deep into planning your festivities, it’s a good idea to estimate the total cost and then talk with your invitees to get a sense of what they’re comfortable paying. But if you’ve never planned a bachelor/ette party before, you may be wondering what’s reasonable to expect.
What’s the Average Cost of a Bachelor or Bachelorette Party?
The cost of a bachelor or bachelorette party will vary quite a bit depending on the activities planned, how many days the celebration lasts and whether travel is required.
According to a survey by The Knot, the median cost of a one-day bachelorette party is $150. For two days, that figure jumps to $350. A bachelorette party that takes place over three days has a median cost of $450. Nearly 40% of those who had to fly to their bachelorette party destination spend around $1,000 in total.
As for bachelor parties, the survey found that the median cost of just one day of partying was $350. Two days ran $550, while the median cost of a three-day celebration was $750. Of those who flew to their bachelor party destination, nearly 60% spent $1,000 or more total.
Dealing With Different Budgets
Though the typical bachelor or bachelorette party can run several hundred dollars (or more) per person, the budget you decide on will ultimately come down to your particular guests.
Grotts said it’s important to take age into consideration; younger guests might not have as much discretionary income to throw around. “If you are young and not making much money, that’s an awful lot to spend for a weekend, not to mention if you’re invited to be in the wedding party.”
It can also be tough to ascertain what people are willing to spend, as your guests likely want to ensure you’re happy and may be embarrassed to say they can’t afford your plans.
“It may sound a little formal, but sending an anonymous survey is a great way to gauge what participants are willing to pay for a bachelor/ette party,” said Ann Martin, director of operations of personal finance site CreditDonkey. “People are often understandably reluctant to disappoint their friends, and an anonymous survey may help keep the process of gauging costs less awkward and more honest.”
In terms of accommodating different budgets, Martin recommended planning your party around the budget of the guest with the least cash to spend. “It will make all your friends feel equally included in the festivities, and your friends who could accommodate higher budgets will likely be happy to save the money.” If there’s an expensive activity that you simply can’t stand to miss, the polite thing to do is cover most or all of the cost yourself.
Don’t Overshadow the Wedding
As fun as it is to drink cocktails by the pool or hit the blackjack table with all your closest friends, your actual wedding is the main event. It’s important to balance the costs of pre-wedding activities with your big day so guests aren’t overwhelmed — especially if you’re planning a particularly lavish ceremony or destination wedding.
“Pre-wedding events can add up and fast,” Grotts said. If the cost of your bachelor or bachelorette party is a deal breaker for some guests, it may be time to rethink your plans and look for ways to bring down the cost.
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