The runaway bachelorette budget.
How to survive your bestie's wedding.
Move over, avocado toast! Turns out the most fiscally irresponsible habit among women aged 25-35 is being friends with other women who are getting married. What used to be a night out on the town is now a multi-day endeavour, complete with signature cocktail and matching outfits. A culture of taking time off work and incurring debt to participate in bachelorette parties has become the norm. How did we get here, and who is it for?
We’re here to explore the phenomenon of the modern day bachelorette party, to observe trends and speculate broadly on the dynamics that bore the impoverished #bridesquad.
Making up for “unprecedented” time
You’re not imagining it: the scope, expense and length of wedding pre-festivities are indeed escalating, with this Wedding Wire survey suggesting that bachelor parties have ballooned an extra day since pre-pandemic. There’s probably a few pandemic-related factors driving this trend. For one, everyone has lost their minds a little after years spent pretending to enjoy Zoom cocktail hours. Especially among millennials who watched their best partying years slip through their fingers, there’s an abundance of manic party energy that needs venting. After years of not seeing, or seeing less of their nearest and dearest, it’s easier to justify greater distances traveled and more time spent celebrating each other. This doesn’t, however, mean that our disposable income has risen to match our desire to get out there.
The average age of the North American bride’s first wedding has advanced a few years since the 90’s. Whereas getting a bottle at a local club and calling it a night may be more in line with the budget and interests of women in their early twenties, later-blooming brides-to-be may have slightly more refined taste and a bit more dough to drop on activities. Notably, this doesn’t mean that classy, healthy events have replaced rowdy bachelorette nights out. Rather, it now just appears that both are on the menu, bringing about begrudging bike tours and hungover spa visits.
Lateral party pressure
We’ve all gotten the dreaded first group chat bachelorette brainstorming message. These take on a certain anarchy where everyone is a stakeholder but no one is really at liberty to speak freely. This is especially true in bigger bridal parties where you don’t know everyone; it’s a hurting feeling to admit you can’t afford the group spa package to someone whose number you don’t even have saved in your phone. In my experience, a clear delineation of responsibilities, goals, budgets and value delivered can help clarify expectations and help create a better environment for all parties. You know, kind of like what we do for our clients seeking to make their brand the belle of the ball, and stand out from the crowd in a unique and memorable way.
Social media stunting
At the risk of sounding like an old man shouting into the wind, the influence of instagram at a bachelorette is hard to ignore. Staged murals, event hashtags and elaborate props (to be thrown out on the morning of your departure as you try to make your bleary-eyed way through the Airbnb clean-up list) are all mainstays of the modern bachelorette. It begs the question, how does the performance of bachelorette partying impact what is expected of these events? Are we snowballing these events out of affordability trying to keep up with strangers whose bank statements we’ve never seen?
Let’s all calm down
Maybe it’s time we re-examine the premise that the bride-to-be deserves the very best. Not because she doesn’t, but because the data shows that we are severely overestimating what the “best” is that we can actually afford to provide. Here’s a couple of tenets that might renormalize a more reasonable bachelorette season for us all.
Emphasize opportunities for guests to express themselves in tangible ways IRL. It’s not to say you shouldn’t take cute pictures for the grid, but it’s worth relishing in the opportunity of everyone being together. Maybe, with a little ingenuity, holding out on checking phones can be a drinking game? Maybe if we all shift the emphasis from spectacle to connection, we can steer this whole bachelorette thing into more feasible territory.
We’re obsessed with figuring out what makes people do what they do, especially where women and grown-up fun are concerned. Nerding out on the particulars of what we have come to accept as norms, and unpacking people’s head and heart space are the driving forces behind creating authentic, memorable work. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join the ranks of clients who are frankly, and deservedly, obsessed with being our collaborators.