Personal Finance

Happily indebted after: Millennials go broke over the bachelor party

Key Points
  • More than 1 in 3 millennials have gone into debt to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party, according to a new survey from Credit Karma.
  • Over 40% of participants cited bridal showers, engagement parties, bachelorette parties and more as major debt-drivers for attendees.
  • Guests spend an average of $537 to attend the bachelor or bachelorette party, found.
M_a_y_a | E+ | Getty Images

Brides and grooms aren't the only ones racking up wedding debt. Their guests are turning out their pockets for bachelorette parties and more.

Couples who got hitched in 2018 coughed up an average of $33,931 to make their special day a memorable one, according to

Though newlyweds feel the pinch of planning their nuptials, friends and families are also being squeezed amid the march to the big day.

Guests are spending an average of $537 to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party, found.

"There's the engagement party, the bachelorette party, then the wedding," said Dana Marineau, vice president of brand, creative and communications at Credit Karma.

Indeed, nearly 1 in 4 people polled by Credit Karma said they went into debt to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party. The site, which offers credit scores, did an online poll of 1,039 adults in April.

One in 3 millennials in the survey said they went into debt attending these pre-wedding festivities.

The Instagram effect

This is how much it costs to be a wedding guest
This is how much it costs to be a wedding guest

Among wedding attendees who went into debt, 36% were more than $500 in the red due to the bachelor or bachelorette party, Credit Karma found.

More than 4 out of 10 participants cited "related events" — including the bridal shower, engagement party and bachelorette party — as major debt-drivers for guests, according to the study.

Pre-wedding festivities that require travel also hit friends and family members in their pocketbooks.

More from Personal Finance:
Transferring to your dream college? Ask these 3 questions
The motherhood penalty is alive and well
Teens don't think they'll be financially independent by 30

A destination bachelor/bachelorette party in New York City over a three-day weekend can cost guests $1,958, after accounting for airfare, hotel costs and more, according to, a credit card points website.

"One thing we feel in the study is the social pressure of showing off on Instagram, making sure you don't miss out and getting into debt just to look good," said Marineau of Credit Karma.

"Realistically, it's hard to say 'no,'" she said.

Broaching the topic

Hero Images | Hero Images | Getty Images

Head off credit card debt — and the awkwardness of being a no-show — by having a frank look at your finances.

This might mean you'll have to decide on attending the wedding, but skipping the bachelor party. Or, in a year with multiple weddings, you'll have to prioritize one over the other.

"Whether it's the bridal shower or the bachelorette party, pick one thing that's the most important," Marineau said.

If you're traveling to the festivities, be sure to book as early as you can. The best time to book a summer flight is 99 days in advance, according to data from

Timing is everything, as the difference between the best- and worst-priced days for summer travel is $260, found.

Finally, if you're the best man or maid of honor planning the pre-wedding bash, talk with the bride or groom-to-be. "Have that honest conversation with your friend," said Marineau.

"Should we stay local for this thing?" she asked. "Should we make sure it's not cost-prohibitive?

"Make it fun and accessible for everyone."

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.