Money

The average bachelorette costs $537 to attend—here's how much 5 women actually spent

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In 2018, the average bachlorette party cost $537 to attend, according to wedding site The Knot. That includes travel, accommodations and gifts. But anyone who's attended one of these lavish destination weekends in recent years knows that the costs can be much higher.

In 2019, 56% of women threw bachelorettes that lasted for two or more days, and nearly 40% of attendees who flew in for the event reported spending over $1,000, according to wedding website Weddingwire. Even more mind-blowing is that one in 10 people reported spending $4,000 or more.

While these pre-wedding events have contributed to the massive $72 billion U.S. wedding industry, the price to attend has taken a toll on some partygoers' budgets. In fact, 35% of millennials have gone into debt to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party, according to an online poll from Credit Karma.

To get an idea of what it actually looks like to attend and pay for a bachelorette party, CNBC Make It spoke to five women who shared how they budgeted for their friend's destination bachelorettes.

Bachelorette attendee No. 1: Julie

Age: 28

Location: New York City

How many bachelorette parties have you attended and how much did each cost?

"I've attended a total of six. Two of them were destination bachelorettes and the others were local in New York City. The local ones cost between $200 to $300 each, and both destinations cost $1,500 (one in New Orleans, one in San Diego)."

How much over your budget did you go?

"I'm not great at budgeting to begin with, so that's probably the issue. The short answer is that I've spend all of my extra spending money on weddings over the past six months. I likely will not attend destination bachelorette parties in the future, as they are outside of my budget."

How do these events impact your spending elsewhere?

"Generally, I'm living paycheck-to-paycheck even though I make enough money that that shouldn't be the case. I've been eating out less, traveling less, shopping less, reducing my normal beauty costs (cutting out things like manicures and waxes) and more."

Do the costs associated with these parties stress you out?

"Yes, very much so. I want to support my friends, and I want to be a part of the festivities. But with every paycheck, it feels like I have to set $500 to $600 aside for wedding-related expenses."

Bachelorette attendee No. 2: Meredith

Age: 27

Location: San Diego

How many bachelorette parties have you attended and how much did each cost?

"I attended four bachelorette parties this year. For each bachelorette trip, I spent roughly between $1,000 to $1,500."

How much over your budget did you go?

"I went several hundred dollars over budget due to expenses like Ubers, eating out and paying for the bride. One bachelorette party I just attended in Cabo, we got fined for a noise complaint and had to pay $1,000 extra if we wanted to stay in our Airbnb."

How do these events impact your spending elsewhere in life?

"I definitely have to be more budget conscious leading up to, and after, a bachelorette party. When you think about flights, hotels, gifts, decorations, food, transportation ... it's a lot to spend on a weekend, especially when you have multiple in a year."

Do the costs associated with these parties stress you out?

"At the end of the day, these trips are totally worth it if you care a lot about the person you're celebrating, and if you like to travel. I've experienced bachelorette groups trying to be mindful of everyone's budgets and doing the best to accommodate, which is always much appreciated. My motto is: 'If you can't afford it, don't participate.'"

Bachelorette attendee No. 3: Mandy

Age: 28

Location: Oakton, Virginia

How many bachelorette parties have you attended and how much did each cost?

"I've attended three and each cost about $1,000."

How much over your budget did you go?

"About $500 because I would have preferred to pay somewhere around $500 to $700."

How does that impact your spending elsewhere in life?

"I eat out less at restaurants and buy less clothes and jewelry for myself. I also opted out of getting my makeup done at one of the weddings since I had already spent so much on the bachelorette party and the bridesmaid dress."

Do the costs associated with these parties stress you out?

"Yes, they do because they can really add up. It can be especially frustrating if the costs add up, but not for expenses you would necessarily spend yourself. There are a lot of group activities at these parties, such as yoga classes, group tours, pole dancing, and some of them I would never opt into. But since I'm there for the weekend, I feel obligated to do it and that means higher costs. Also, if you have too many bachelorette parties in a year, it can be hard to truly enjoy each one to the full extent if you're doing it back-to-back. So, the financial aspect is just an added stress on top of that."

Bachelorette attendee No. 4: Mary

Age: 26

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

How many bachelorette parties have you attended and how much did each cost?

"I've attended three bachelorette parties in the last year. My first one cost around $500, the second cost around $150 and my third was roughly $350."

How much over your budget did you go?

"I'm more than $400 over budget for the year. I also usually have to buy something themed or choose to buy a new outfit for the occasion, which I haven't factored in."

How does that impact your spending elsewhere in life?

"I definitely cut down on shopping elsewhere to accommodate for these expensive weekend extravaganzas."

Do the costs associated with these parties stress you out?

"The most stressful part of these weekends is being at the mercy of the one planning. They'll sometimes add up costs including concert tickets, punch containing alcohol you have no intention of drinking and snacks— all totally acceptable because it's 'for the bride.'

"In total, I've been in eight weddings, been maid-of-honor three times and been to nine bachelorette parties since the start of college. I'm done!"

Bachelorette attendee No. 5: Becky

Age: 28

Location: New York City

How many bachelorette parties have you attended and how much did each cost?

"I attended three bachelorette parties this year. One of them was in Miami, Florida, which cost $1,000 including airfare. The second one was held in Sweden, which was really expensive because we racked up over $2,000 just on travel. The third was also to Miami and cost $1,000 without airfare. Now, I'm planning a future one that will be in Nashville and will cost around $700 including airfare."

How much over your budget did you go?

"I didn't set strict budgets, but I easily spent several hundred dollars more than I would have liked to. It's so easy to create a false budget for flights, plus housing, plus meals, plus activities. But then, there are the inevitable drinks and goodies and 'treating the bride' that really add up!"

How do these events impact your spending elsewhere in life?

"I'm definitely more conservative with my spending around the time of the bachelorette parties. I tend to mentally add $300 onto whatever I expect it to cost just in case!"

Do the costs associated with these parties stress you out?

"After the party and fun was over, I'd realize how much I spent. In the end, it did stress me out somewhat."

Editor's note: Only first names or pseudonyms were used to protect the privacy of the subjects in this story.

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