In the film Bridesmaids, Kristin Wiig’s character, Annie, takes some major drugs to calm herself down on a flight to Las Vegas for her best friend’s bachelorette. She mostly needed the drugs because of her massive fear of flying, but a big part of the Xanax paired with a glass a Scotch came from suddenly feeling overwhelmed by how expensive this bachelorette party would be (and because Rose Byrne is really mean). It seems that these days, Millennials are spending so much on bachelorettes (as well as just attending the wedding) that they are actually putting off major personal investments—like down payments on houses.
According to a survey featured on real estate site Zillow, the average destination bachelor party costs $1,532, and the average bachelorette party runs at $1,106. This includes accommodation, nights out, gifts, and travel. If Millennials are attending an average of three of these per year for three years, that comes to a sum of $13,788 total. That is a lot of cash—cash that could be used for something big, like a down payment on a house (and everyone thought all our money went to artisan avocado toast...).
“Buying a home is one of the most expensive purchases someone will ever make, and for most first-time buyers that means years of saving money to afford a down payment,” Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow’s chief marketing officer, said. “Attending your friends’ bachelor or bachelorette parties can be a trip of a lifetime. While everyone’s budget and priorities are different, big-ticket expenses like vacations can add up surprisingly quickly—a lot faster than a $19 avocado toast,” he says.
Bachelorette and bachelor prime attendance age also coordinates with the time when most adults buy homes. Yet, that number is now on the decline—wedding costs (ahem, other people's weddings, that is) can be a big part of that. Recent data from Apartment List shows that even though 80 percent of Millennials want to purchase real estate, most do not have the finances to do it. They simply have not been able to save enough. The report found that almost 70 percent of Millennials said they have saved less than $1,000 for a down payment and 44 percent haven’t saved anything at all to go towards a down payment.
Of course, other contributing factors hindering the saving impulse for Millennials are the rising costs of renting, student loans, or simply bad saving habits. We all know it's hard to turn down these fun trips with close friends—but we also know that young people are capable of doing just that: A Priceline.com survey found that 45 percent of respondents decided to skip a bachelor/bachelorette party because of trip costs.
The real issue is that bachelorette parties continue to get bigger and more lavish every year. What used to be one-night outings have turned into long weekends that often require traveling further than the actual wedding. Many brides and maid of honors feel pressure to plan a spectacular weekend for their friends. And brides don’t escape the costs either, especially if she expects her 'maids to hop on the destination weekend.
The most important thing to remember: Bachelorettes are fun, but then again, so are houses.