Personal Finance

How Much Does A Bachelor Party Cost

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 17 minute read

What could be more exciting than a wedding reception? Friends of the bride and groom tend to have more fun at the bachelor and bachelorette parties than they do at the reception.

However, they can be pricey if held in an out-of-the-way location, as many of those who would like to attend may not otherwise be able to do so. The line items of a multi day destination party’s budget should reflect the fact that it is essentially a mini-vacation: plane tickets, lodging, transportation once there, food and drink, and entertainment.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll refer to bachelor and bachelorette parties as “pre-wedding parties” (or “pre-wedding parties”) and share some of my favorite ways to save money on these travel events. They can be used both in advance of the event and at random times during it.

Ideas for a Cheap Bachelor or Bachelorette Party

  1. For Large Purchases, Use a Reward Credit Card

Since 2014, I’ve attended five bachelor parties at exotic locations:

  • Two days of my own bachelor celebration in Las Vegas. Although I didn’t have a major role in the planning process, I did get final say over the schedule and some say in how we spent our time each day.
  • A close college friend’s stag do in San Diego. Together with the two brothers of the groom, I was in charge of preparing the event.
  • Bachelor party in Colorado for a high school buddy. Although I wasn’t directly engaged, I was able to observe how the planning unfolded.
  • A bachelor celebration in Minnesota for a friend who graduated from college. My role in the preparation was modest, but I offered to drive the group in my car the whole four hours.
  • Colorado A stag do for yet another high school chum from back in the day. This reunion was a carbon copy of the first Colorado get-together, both in terms of structure and my own participation (though no less fun for it).

All five times, I made use of a credit card that offered points for travel and everyday purchases. It was an easy decision because I got one to two percent of my money back on most purchases, which helped reduce the overall financial damage. Due to the Chase Freedom card’s rotating cash back program, I was able to receive 5% back on two tanks of gas (about $60 in total spending and $3 in rewards) for the Minnesota trip.

For the San Diego vacation I organized, I put a big ticket item on my credit card and had everyone chip in for it before we said our goodbyes. Upon returning home, I put the surplus into my bank account, paid off the card debt, and cashed in my points, thereby offsetting the portion of the expenditure that I had to pay.

Using a credit card as “float” to make a transaction when you know the group would reimburse you is the same as getting money for nothing.

  1. Use your credit card rewards to get free or discounted travel.

You have saved up enough money or accumulated enough miles to make a significant hole in the cost of your pre-wedding celebration. Efforts should be made to redeem them. There is no greater sense of accomplishment than finally redeeming all of those points and miles you’ve been saving up for, or utilizing cash you’ve just received, to cover the cost of a ticket.

While I didn’t use any of the miles or points I earned on my second journey to Colorado to pay for the groom’s bachelor party, I did use them toward my rental car for his wedding.

I learned the hard way in San Diego that redeeming points or miles against a hotel purchase might really result in a profit. Just front the money using your loyalty currency (or a combination of cash and currency) and have everyone chip in to cover their half of the bill. 

You might be able to earn several hundred dollars more this way. You shouldn’t feel awful because it costs you hundreds of dollars to get those points.

  1. Determine the Financial Boundaries of the Group

Do this after you’ve decided on a date for the party and your guest list, but before you start making preparations. Although it may be uncomfortable at the time, it will help avoid more tense situations in the future.

Everyone who isn’t from the area is expected to cover their own transportation costs to the party, whether they fly in, hire a car, or drive themselves. Further, you should learn how much money people may reasonably spend on things like transportation, meals, entertainment, and other extras during the conference.

It’s likely that this capacity will fluctuate. Some guests will be willing to spend more money on a finer rental property, fancier meals, and more supplementary activities. Some people are more stingy than others and won’t spend money on anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. 

Those that have no financial wiggle space will most likely not go on this vacation. The key is to find common ground between the two sides without stirring up animosity. Keep in mind that it’s simpler for those with more disposable income to cut down than it is for those with less to increase their expenditure.

Keep an eye out for particular chances to compromise and seize them as you get farther into the planning phase. (In the following advice, I’ve described a few typical items to keep an eye out for.)

  1. Reduce the Length of Your Stay

Are you and your friends excited about taking a four-day trip, but worried about how much money it would cost?

You might want to think about taking a short trip of two days. Assuming you’ve picked a good meeting place (on which more below), you should have plenty of time. Those who can’t take time off throughout the week to attend are less likely to take advantage of the extended swing.

  1. Assign Planning Tasks

There’s a lot more planning involved in a prenuptial party, especially if it’s a destination event that spans many days. Although the best man or woman is usually in charge of organizing the trip, more than one person may need to be involved in more complicated excursions.

You should not be reluctant to assign certain planning duties or projects to other participants whose abilities or inclinations line adequately, while retaining the ability to reject or make final choices.

I’ve witnessed its successful application firsthand. When I went to my first Colorado bachelor party, it was in the Denver area, and the best man and major organizer joyfully assigned the lone local participant the responsibility of finding and obtaining a rental property for the whole group. He was familiar with the neighborhood, and he was able to locate a large, reasonably priced, and conveniently located home in a spot that most tourists would pass over.

The best man’s decision to delegate the house hunt likely had little to do with cost savings. Secondary advantages were proximity to a dense system of hiking trails.

Similar benefits can accrue from having professionals manage other travel details, such as reserving restaurants or negotiating group pricing with tour operators.

  1. Select a Convenient Location

Because every minute spent on transportation is a minute taken away from celebrating the upcoming nuptials, this is of paramount importance for last-minute pre-wedding festivities.

If your guests will be flying in from far and wide, it’s probably best to have the celebration somewhere in the middle of the country or near a big airport. This is because direct, low-cost air connectivity to such locations is more likely to exist from the homes of most or all attendees.

One of the reasons my two Colorado bachelor parties were so successful was because they were centrally located, drawing guests from all over the country. Every single person who attended either event flew on a direct route, and no one was in the air for more than three and a half hours total. Although exotic locations like Mexico or Costa Rica could have been less expensive overall, we eventually decided that we weren’t up for the hassle of extended travel and airline changes.

  1. Select a Central Location

You should think about how close you will be to the key sights in every city or resort town you visit. There are several ways to save money if you choose to stay in a central location, such as the city’s major entertainment center or a cluster of resorts.

  • Put an end to your vehicle hire and start using public transportation and ridesharing.
  • It will save you time and money if you already have most of the necessities for your home or apartment.
  • Reduced travel expenses to must-see destinations
  • Enjoy additional low-cost or no-cost services, such as parks and boardwalks.
  1. Consider staying in less crowded areas of town.

Although this piece of advice is well-meaning, it may be at odds with the recommendation that you pick a convenient spot. Lesser-known areas are usually hidden, or at least located away from the bustle of the city’s tourist hotspots like the theater district or the waterfront.

When deciding where to stay, it’s a good idea to compare transportation expenses between centrally situated and outlying regions. Check the outcomes against one another. Next, consider where you’ll be sleeping. You can save money on lodging by staying in a less central area of town, but are the savings worth the additional money you’ll spend on transportation?

Convenience purchases, a tiny version of the lifestyle inflation problem, should also be taken into account.

You’re more likely to fall into the temptation to frequent the hundreds of restaurants, pubs, and entertainment venues when they’re all within walking distance or a short ride away. 

Having a first cocktail at home or at a hotel instead of the distillery you can see from your window reduces the urge to go out on the town in safer sections of town. One thing I can say based on personal experience is that a good location may make up for a lot of problems.

We looked at several different communities and rental properties in San Diego, CA. We decided on a more modest but more costly condo. Why? Because it was situated on the beautiful stretch of sand that is Mission Beach, which faces the Pacific.

From the home, we could see the ocean in all its glory, and the beach was only 20 seconds away. Mission Beach isn’t the most accessible region of San Diego (it takes around 15–20 minutes to get there from the city center on a good day), but that really worked well for us: We didn’t go out as often (or spend as much) as we would have if we were in the thick of things.

Both of the bachelor parties in Colorado had this dynamic. Our first residence was a spacious hillside mansion in the western Denver suburbs, around 25 minutes from the central business district. The second was a mountain retreat that was much more stunning than the first. The panorama from the house’s wraparound porch was breathtaking. Never once did we feel bad about skipping out on that hip RiNo condo.

  1. Examine Low-Cost Locations

There are several reasonably priced options for places to hold a pre-wedding celebration. Traveling to Las Vegas, for instance, can save you money on housing and travel compared to other major American cities. You may have a fun and inexpensive bachelor or bachelorette party there so long as you remain off the gaming floor and away from the expensive food, drinks, and performances.

There are, however, other locations where one may spend less. You should go beyond the United States for a memorable resort vacation. If you want to spend three days at a beach resort, it’s far more cost-effective to do it in Mexico than in Florida. South of the border, rented houses and flats, as well as standard motels away from the ocean, are more affordable.

That’s because I’m in the know. Puerto Peasco (Rocky Point), a less well-known beach hamlet in the Mexican state of Sonora on the northeastern shore of the Gulf of California, was seriously considered before San Diego. It’s a lot less expensive than the California beach towns and it’s tiny and peaceful. If we had stayed in Puerto Peasco instead of San Diego, we could have cut our accommodation costs in half and our food and entertainment costs in half.

The four-hour journey to Puerto Peasco from Phoenix, where we had the option of flying into, was the only thing that kept us from going. (Puerto Peasco is considered to be a safer tourist destination than other well-known Mexican beach towns.) This meant long travel times for most of us on both our arrival and departure days.

  1. A Little Roughing It

No desire for a vacation at a resort? Try substituting a short outdoor experience for your typical vacation. A great way to enjoy day walks in a state or national park is to rent a cottage or vacation property close by. Or, if you’re a hardy bunch, pack up the tents and go off on a lengthy trip into the woods, visiting different campsites each night.

A bachelor or bachelorette party in the great outdoors is likely to cost less than one held in a city or at a resort since there are less opportunities for extra spending away from the group. Outside of peak travel times, you may expect hotel rates to be much lower outside of places like popular national parks and ski resort cities.

My bachelor celebration in Minnesota included one night in a nice motel and two nights beneath the stars. Our collective camping expenses were so cheap that we didn’t even bother to break them down per person.

  1. Select Practical and Cozy Accommodations

Yes, I do believe we are all friends here. Even if you normally like your own company, you can probably survive spending a few days in close quarters with your best friends. Pick your lodgings with care.

When deciding between a house or apartment for rent on Airbnb, consider the capacity test: Downgrade to a smaller room if your party won’t come close to using all of the available space. Typically, rents rise roughly in direct proportion to available space: A 10-person house will cost more than a 5-person bungalow, all else being equal. It’s not very practical for a party of five people to split up among 10 beds in a house. With each additional person, the total cost per person goes down.

It follows the same reasoning for the facilities available. You should forego luxurious (and unnecessary) extras like swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and gaming rooms if you won’t be spending much time in the house or room. The common area should be sizable, with lots of sitting (both indoors and out), a fully functional kitchen, adequate room to store bags and clothes, and a large refrigerator.

Checking the costs of several hotel rooms is the best way to plan your vacation. One option for accommodating a somewhat sizable gathering is to book several adjoining suites. However, suites that come with a lot of extras tend to cost more.

Overbooking a number of nearby basic rooms and holding a lottery to choose who has to sleep on the floor is another way to save costs. We finally settled on one of three hotels in San Diego. They ranged in size from 16 people in one to 10-12 in another.

The cheapest choice was the smallest, but given its great location (the heart of Mission Beach), it wasn’t really a bargain. A standard, no-frills beach condo, it lacked any sort of creature amenities. However, the kitchen was adequate, and it was the least expensive option for our large group of 12 people. When compared to the intermediate choice, we were able to save roughly $25 per person.

  1. Visiting During the Off Season

Check out some of my other blogs on traveling, and you’ll find that I absolutely adore this suggestion.

Why? As a result of its efficacy. One of the best methods to cut costs on a trip is to go during the shoulder or low season. Moving your bachelor or bachelorette party from the peak to the off-peak season can save you hundreds, depending on your destination, trip duration, schedule, and preference for the finer things in life.

There isn’t a universal shoulder season. Typically, they occur in the tropics during the wet season, making it uncomfortable to spend time at the beach or outside. The off season is winter in most places, and this is especially true in temperate climates.

To be honest, we didn’t do a great job of following this guidance on our vacation to San Diego. Our trip occurred in April, which is the last month of the school year yet has the most pleasant weather in the region. It would have been cheaper for us to stay in the area if we had planned ahead and gone in February, when the region’s mild winter and occasional showers are drawing to a close. This is actual currency.

As a side note, I have compiled a list of simple ways to save money while planning your honeymoon that you may find useful if you are considering a trip outside of the peak travel season.

  1. Plan Tentpole Activities Ahead of Time

Prior to filling up the details of your schedule, decide on and organize the main events or excursions you wish to participate in, such as athletic games or pedal-pub rentals. These are the most time-consuming and rigid, so you should have them well established before planning anything else.

It’s inconvenient to have to rearrange plans if you had to pay for nonrefundable tickets or passes in advance. It’s not worth the hassle to try to resale multiple admit-one tickets on the secondary market while also trying to organize the rest of your party.

  1. Call in advance for group outings.

You won’t find as many people in the lobby at all the stores. Call beforehand to make sure the vendor can accommodate your complete party before committing to a large group outing, such as supper at a restaurant or a trip to a trendy nightclub. You definitely don’t want to have your evening plans thrown off because the restaurant you had planned on visiting doesn’t accept reservations for parties of 10 or more.

Make a reservation immediately if the establishment allows them and there is availability. One should use caution while visiting first-come, first-served establishments unless one’s plans are malleable or one is in close proximity to several alternate locations.

  1. Don’t overbook your days and nights.

You shouldn’t feel obligated to fill every waking minute with something. Keeping your plans open will allow you to take advantage of unanticipated events, such as a concert or festival that turns out to be perfect for your group.

In addition, socializing with friends is a low-cost strategy to de-stress and reduce wasteful spending. My San Diego party’s high point occurred at an unscheduled time when some of the group spent a couple hours lying on the beach and surfing. Our money was not wasted. 

Similarly, my second Colorado party was mostly just chilling out; in fact, the only time we left the house was to play a game of disc golf, and that was after being there for 36 hours.

  1. Acquire a New Skill

You don’t have to completely shut off your mind before the big day. There’s enough time when it’s on to pick up a new talent or go on a little adventure with your mates.

Find low-cost educational options in the area where you will be staying. We almost signed up for a group stand up paddle boarding instruction in San Diego. Our gathering was too large for the service provider we had planned to utilize, thus the event had to be canceled.

It’s not necessary that the information you seek be really crucial. (I’m not suggesting that paddle boarding represents the height of intellectual achievement.) Take up a new hobby, whether it’s brewing your own beer or cider, mastering the art of cooking, or molding your own unique piece of pottery (preferably at a shop that allows outside beverages).

Although group classes aren’t always free, they normally work out to be more cost-effective than, say, a supper at a fine restaurant or a night out at the bars. Substitute a noisier pursuit as needed. Always be on the lookout for ways to cut down on the expense of your outing, such as social coupons, travel bureau discounts, and group pricing.

  1. Skip the Cabana

It is possible to rent a cabana at a resort that features a pool or direct beach access. Cabanas are alluring to party goers who want to spend the day lounging by the beach or pool: They offer complete cover from the sun, plush chairs, cooling fans or misters, and sometimes even state-of-the-art sound and video systems.

In addition, the pool or beachfront service personnel makes them a top priority, so you can always expect to receive your next drink or snack in a matter of waves.

Even when distributed among a big party, cabanas might be prohibitively pricey.
My personal Las Vegas bachelor party had ten guys and cost over $500 (or $50 per participant) for poolside cabana rental for the day.

Our options were to either pay around $450 for the cabana itself, or to spend the same amount on expensive food and beverages and get the rental for “free.” To make our money go farther, I remember obsessing over the best way to save money on drinks, only to conclude that there were none.

Don’t misunderstand me; I love unwinding by the water, too. Skip the cabana and have fun anyhow!

  1. Plan Free or Low-Cost Activities

Your group shouldn’t limit its opportunities for free or cheap entertainment during the celebration just to the unstructured times. Plan ahead to take advantage of free or low-cost attractions close to your house, such as parks, zoos, museums, and galleries.

If going to a low-cost or free museum is too cerebral for your group, try doing something exciting outside instead. Our vacation in San Diego was spent in large part strolling the busy promenade at Mission Beach.

To soak up some rays while becoming acquainted with the locals and their customs was a win-win. In the evening, we took advantage of Balboa Park’s free admission to visit the desert garden, fountains, and promenade.

In particular, we did not go to the San Diego Zoo and waste $50 on admission each. The thrifty members of the group just couldn’t afford it.

  1. Splurges should be limited to one day or night.

Spend the most money on one afternoon or evening if you’re throwing a multi-day bachelor or bachelorette party (or afternoon into evening). The afternoon features a major league sporting event? Fine. What about an early-evening lunch at a fine dining establishment? Great. What comes next, then, a musical or a show? If you want to do it, you should. Set aside this one day to do anything you want with.

When I’ve gone on trips or social gatherings that span many days, I’ve found that it helps me stick to my budget if I limit my major purchases to just one or two days. The thrifty tactics I’ve given here should be simpler to adopt before and after your splurge day if my experience is typical.

  1. Excessive Restaurant and Bar Bills

At least one formal restaurant meal has been part of every bachelor party I’ve attended. It’s possible that yours may, too, on a special treat night.

But what about the other days and nights?

It’s the route of least resistance to plan an action-packed agenda and then eat every meal at a restaurant. However, a budget-friendly bachelorette party cannot consist of three meals a day at restaurants. Spending the evening (or day) going from pub to bar is a certain way to deplete your entertainment funds.

Bottom Line

All eyes are on the future bride or groom during a pre-wedding party. You can’t go wrong with a party if you organize it according to the honoree’s desires. Have faith in your ability to identify ways to save money without compromising on anyone’s preferences, and you’ll be well on your way to planning a fantastic event that won’t break the bank.

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