Millennials are going into debt over bachelor and bachelorette parties. Here's how to cut costs.

More than 1 in 3 millennials have gone into debt to attend pre-wedding festivities, according to a new survey from Credit Karma.
Ladies celebrating bachelorette party
Guests are spending an average of $537 to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party, TheKnot.com found.Johnce / Getty Images
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By Darla Mercado, CNBC

Brides and grooms aren’t the only ones racking up wedding debt. Their guests are turning out their pockets for bachelorette parties and more.

Couples who got hitched in 2018 coughed up an average of $33,931 to make their special day a memorable one, according to TheKnot.com.

Though newlyweds feel the pinch of planning their nuptials, friends and families are also being squeezed amid the march to the big day.

Guests are spending an average of $537 to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party, TheKnot.com found.

“There’s the engagement party, the bachelorette party, then the wedding,” said Dana Marineau, vice president of brand, creative and communications at Credit Karma.

Indeed, nearly 1 in 4 people polled by Credit Karma said they went into debt to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party. The site, which offers credit scores, did an online poll of 1,039 adults in April.

One in 3 millennials in the survey said they went into debt attending these pre-wedding festivities.

The Instagram effect

Among wedding attendees who went into debt, 36 percent were more than $500 in the red due to the bachelor or bachelorette party, Credit Karma found.

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More than 4 out of 10 participants cited “related events” — including the bridal shower, engagement party and bachelorette party — as major debt-drivers for guests, according to the study.

Pre-wedding festivities that require travel also hit friends and family members in their pocketbooks.

A destination bachelor/bachelorette party in New York City over a three-day weekend can cost guests $1,958, after accounting for airfare, hotel costs and more, according to UpgradedPoints.com, a credit card points website.

“One thing we feel in the study is the social pressure of showing off on Instagram, making sure you don’t miss out and getting into debt just to look good,” said Marineau of Credit Karma.

“Realistically, it’s hard to say ‘no,’” she said.

Broaching the topic

Head off credit card debt — and the awkwardness of being a no-show — by having a frank look at your finances.

The best time to book a summer flight is 99 days in advance, according to data from CheapAir.com.

This might mean you’ll have to decide on attending the wedding, but skipping the bachelor party. Or, in a year with multiple weddings, you’ll have to prioritize one over the other.

“Whether it’s the bridal shower or the bachelorette party, pick one thing that’s the most important,” Marineau said.

If you’re traveling to the festivities, be sure to book as early as you can. The best time to book a summer flight is 99 days in advance, according to data from CheapAir.com.

Timing is everything, as the difference between the best- and worst-priced days for summer travel is $260, CheapAir.com found.

Finally, if you’re the best man or maid of honor planning the pre-wedding bash, talk with the bride or groom-to-be. “Have that honest conversation with your friend,” said Marineau.

“Should we stay local for this thing?” she asked. “Should we make sure it’s not cost-prohibitive?

“Make it fun and accessible for everyone.”

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