What's the Actual Cost of Bachelorette Parties?
Sometimes I feel like I’m right in line with my generation – activism, conscious consumerism, and Coveteur’s ongoing stellar meme game to name a few – and other times I’m left outside, confused, and alone.
For instance, I feel like I’m a traitor to my generation for my lack of love for athletica all day every day like most of my peers. I feel like an outcast with my views on what constitutes romance. And I’m definitely an outsider when it comes to celebrating love. I think I didn’t get programmed that way or I’m still missing a few parts. Receipt one, receipt two, receipt three.
Fresh off of co-hosting a dear friend’s stagette weekend in the mountains I got to thinking about how many times I’ve attended or thrown one of these parties. I went deeper into the rabbit hole contemplating the lingering truth that I know I’ll do it again. Gladly, even.
It’s a bit counter to my personal choices – I eloped and went out for dinner. On a Monday. – and often those close to me will ask, “Why are you throwing a baby shower?” Or, “Really, you hosted another head-to-toe themed to the nines hen party?” The simple answer is, “Yes, of course, I was asked to (or offered).” The longer, more complex answer is, “I have read and believe in Love Languages. I try my best to show up for people in the way that they would feel best loved regardless of how I personally feel.” Including the sometimes dreaded bridal/wedding/baby showers and/or parties.
Digging deeper, it is a bit unsettling that I can feel one way and act another – twenty-year-old-bend-for-no-one Sarah would be furious at the current, more accommodating Sarah – while also feeling a gentle calmness in knowing I can adapt and grow. While I’ll never be chill AF, I’m certainly light years closer to transforming into namaste Sarah than where I started decades ago.
Personal (cue the vomit) journey aside, I wanted to take a look into the numbers behind stagettes and see what else there is to it. Since my very early twenties, I have attended a stagette at least once a year. Sisters, friends, cousins, classmates, to name a few. They have ranged from a single night out; to at least three different weekends in the Canmore; all the way to a near week-long trip to Nashville. It gets bigger. This fall, I’m going on one heck of a stagette in Mexico. Suffice to say, aside from a European vacation or South Asian adventure, I’ve done them all.
The cheapest - financially speaking - ones I’ve attended tend to be the one-night-out-on-the-town. Unless you count the airfare, cabs and hotel; the outfit I was asked to wear – and at the time purchased – to be on theme; and chipping in money to cover the bride’s costs. Turns out, not so cheap.
The more expensive ones tend to be the ones you help put together. Because you are close to the bride or groom – or just have a knack for hosting – you tend to splurge on things that you don’t feel fair that the other people should have to chip in for. I think the logic goes something along the lines of since they didn’t plan or decide what we are doing it may not be fair to make them pay. While I don’t know if that logic is sound, I do know it’s very real.
Maybe that hosting splurge is a spa retreat that you shoulder the brunt of the costs.
Or maybe it’s a couple bottles of bubbly that you discretely pre-pay the server for when you scoot off to go to the “washroom.”
Maybe it’s customized swag goodies – shirts, hats, cups, whatever - to match the bride that you cover more than an equal share of the real cost. Never mind the environmental cost of purchasing these temporary items. Sorry, again, Earth.
And why? To make the bride or groom feel special. After all, that’s why she/he/they asked you to host, right?
The Knot averages out typical party costs. So does Bride and Real Simple. It’s very common to shill out for a bride’s night out, weekend, or week away to celebrate their upcoming nuptials. Obviously, people other than me, too, are curious if these cost of party articles already exist. Just check the comments section. Average spend ranges from hundreds and go up to a thousand or more for the longer, away from home trips. Male planned trips, too are a thing. No matter the couple being celebrated, all over North America we are #squading and spending for our loved ones.
And that’s just thinking about the financial cost. What about time and effort? Often you have to take time off to attend these ‘dos. And if you’re at the pre-party celebration, you’re likely taking time and money to go to their forthcoming wedding, too (often the time dedicated to the ‘dos is a big chunk of your total yearly allotted time off). Here in the prairies when you’re in your twenties and thirties, it’s not just one wedding a year. No sir; my record to date is six weddings in one year. I’ve heard first hand of a person attending ten. Ten in twelve months and most of them over precious summer weekends. The nerve.
I’d like to say that the current generation is the most financially aware than any generation before – thanks for the lessons, sage ones - and yet, we must surely top the spending on these parties? Why?
Can we chalk it up to Millennials need for experiences?
Are we simply levelling up generation over generation?
Does it simply cost more to live and live-it-up these days?
Or - option D on our multiple choice quiz - how much do each contribute to create a super combination all-of-the-above theory?
For me, the true cost of not participating is hurting a friend. Simply put, if people ask you to show up for them and they tell you exactly how to do it, you do it. Once or twice for those who love love. And if they’re a true friend, one that knows who you are, they won’t ask for more than what you’re comfortable giving.
Tell me, how much time and money do you spend, say over five years, celebrating other couples love? Do not even think about sparing the juicy gossip and horror stories.