Why I will not pay $1,100 to attend a bachelorette party

Melody Hahm
Reporter

I just turned 26 this week, which is a huge milestone for two reasons — I’m getting kicked off my parents’ health insurance and my best friends are actually beginning to get engaged.

Of course, I’ve attended my cousins’ and family friends’ nuptials but this is really the ramp-up toward my inner circle taking that step toward wedded bliss. And while I couldn’t be happier for my friends to be getting hitched to their sweethearts, I’m quickly realizing just how expensive it is to celebrate with them.

Possibly the largest expense that we bemoan yet accept as unavoidable? The destination bachelorette party.

Before my friends even approach the aisle, I could be dropping over $1,000 to go celebrate the last few weeks or months before they’re forever committed.

Attending a bachelorette party costs what?!

To be precise, a destination bachelorette costs on average $1,106 ($1,532 for a bachelor), according to wedding website The Knot. In a new report, Zillow calculated how much cash is needed for a 20% down payment on a home, and how much of it is going toward bachelorette parties instead.

If I attend just nine of these trips in a lifetime, I will have spent up to $9,954, or 24.8% percent of a down payment on the median U.S. home.

Of course, not everybody would necessarily save that money for a down payment if they didn’t spend it boozing with the bride-to-be. But maybe they might be wise to do so.

With 80% of millennial renters wanting to purchase a home (and 69% say owning a home is necessary to live The American Dream), it’s not as if young adults don’t want to buy a home — they just don’t have the means to buy one.

Still, it’s tough for most young people to avoid pre-wedding celebrations just so they can save up for a down payment. Most of us live spread out from our friends from different eras of our lives — and even without making a trip to Las Vegas or Austin, the chances of us getting to stay local to celebrate our friends’ engagements are highly unlikely.

Just the tip of the iceberg

Beyond the bachelorette party, bridesmaids spend an additional $1,154 for wedding day attire, a gift for the bride and groom, and travel and accommodations for the wedding day. Guests not in the bridal party still pay $888, on average, to attend each wedding, according to The Knot.

With 20% of all weddings being destination weddings, if you drop over $1,000 on traveling for the pre-party party, you could be looking at a $3,000 price tag for one friend alone. That could make it incredibly hard for a young person to save up for a house, especially if they’re not making a lot of money yet.

“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,” says Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow’s chief marketing officer.

“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 parties more often than not include friends outside of the immediate bridal party. Of course, bridesmaids face a lot more pressure to attend, but here’s to being bold and having the courage to say no. Your future home could depend on it!

Melody Hahm is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm. Read more:

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