Today’s brides are putting as much planning into the events leading up to their wedding as they are the big day. And while all those pre-parties are definitely upping the fun factor, they also require guests to shell out even more money to join in the celebration.
According to a 2017 survey by RetailMeNot, people spend an average of $137 for food and $116 on alcohol for a proper bachelorette bash. “[Most women] aren’t interested in spending thousands of dollars; they’re spending maybe $150 for the weekend on bachelorette activities,” says Bri Steck, CEO of Vegas Girls Night Out, a boutique party-planning concierge in Las Vegas. “Instead of doing $3,000 bottle service, they’re just going to do entry into the nightclubs and open bar for a couple hours.”
Steck has found that women, unlike the guys, want more bang for their buck and are willing to spend if it gets them a more VIP experience and more activities. “Women will spend on upgrades,” she says. “They’ll add on limos, they’ll add on the nightclubs, they’ll add on dinner, they’ll add on hair and makeup. They’re more likely to spend money to get a bunch of different things than just one night. It’s more that overall experience.”
Joanne Barken, founder of the Bach, an online hub for bachelorette-party planning ideas, agrees. “Bachelorette parties continue to focus more and more on the experience and less on a drunken, rowdy night out on the town,” she says. “From cooking classes to yoga retreats, more and more groups are looking at bachelorette weekends as an excuse to try something new and splurge on an experience that they wouldn’t normally try on their own.”
Part of that new experience is travel to a fresh destination—and according to the Brides 2016 American Wedding Study, 44 percent say they plan to host their bachelorette party out of town. Per the RetailMeNot findings, you can expect to spend an average of $265 on air travel for that trip—not including hotels.
Not surprisingly, more women than men are willing to shop to look their best at the bachelorette—39 percent versus 29 percent. Translation: You’ll need new clothes for those Instagram snaps, and 35 percent say they purchased a new outfit for a bachelorette. So how much do selfie-worthy new clothes cost? That’ll be $137, please.
Plus, says Barken, brides are opening their wallets for extra gifts for their squad. “We’ve seen that party favors have gotten way more elaborate,” she says. “It’s no longer just about the gifts for the bride; all of the guests are often gifted fun items such as welcome bags, hangover kits, and cute party attire.”
But before you get hung up on the dollars and cents, remember a fun time with your girls is priceless. Says Steck: “It’s all about the experience and having a really great, memorable time.”