Pre-nuptial last rites get fun, expensive

Bachelor parties used to be so simple. A bunch of guys would cram into a limo, get wasted and let the sounds of Motley Crue fill their ears while some nice young lady works her way through college a dollar bill at a time. Eventually, you’d go home and wake up sans cash, stomach contents and a few brain cells. I’m not sure what bachelorette parties involved, but I suspect there are many similarities and the differences being limited to the anatomy of the performers and the guests.

All this is changing.

The parties used to celebrate the end of single life are becoming long, intricate and costly.Las Vegas is the top destination, followed by Florida, and the average price for one of these getaways has reached a substantial $1,250 a person. The guests are usually on the hook for their own tickets.

The tourism and travel industry, looking for ways to climb out from a two-year economic hole, sees the pre-wedding party business as a way to draw some more cash into the coffers, especially for those who are looking to have as many “last hurrahs” as possible. Travel agents and destinations are even creating programs designed to appeal to this specific segment.Notes Alex Trettin, of Travel Leaders in Tacoma, Washington, to Reuters:

“We’ve created a number of programs for brides- and grooms- to-be. Most popular are Vegas and short cruises,” he said. “Even with the economy in a slowdown, more and more people are using this as an opportunity to get together with friends.”

In a further departure from tradition, some final flings are combined, with the soon-to-be spouses hitting the same destination at the same time. Once on the ground, though, the parties split to enjoy different activities.

Yeah, pre-marital partying has come a long way. But, I’ll still take a seedy strip club with “Doctor Feelgood” and a would-be medical student over the alternatives. I believe in tradition.

[photo of Social Vixen by Steve Zak]

Wedding Travel a.k.a. Personal Bankruptcy

The average wedding in the US costs around $30,000. According to CNN, the number of destination weddings has increased 400 percent in the last 10 years. So, I am certain, has the cost for guests.

Is it just me or has wedding-related travel gotten out of control? I like weddings, but…

If you are in the 25-40 year category, chances are that you have to go to a wedding-related event practically every other weekend in the summer. Events include engagement, bachelor and bachelorette parties, bridal showers (and if you are really unfortunate, they are followed closely by baby showers). Guests are, of course, encouraged to not only come, but also bring a gift, buy a new outfit, etc. This stuff adds up.

Lately, it has become customary to travel for similar events to distant, exotic places, which adds additional cost. It is nice if the destination is to your liking and you can make a trip out of it. Unless, of course, you are required to be “on wedding-service duty” 24-7 by a controlling bridezilla or a perfectionist-groom. You never know, there might be an emergency of colossal kind – what if the candles don’t match the flowers perfectly?

Umm, whatever happened to people eloping?