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The cost of bachelorette trips contine to rise for those celebrating their friends big day. Here is how Long Islanders are managing the expenses and alternative ways to ring in the occasion. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas
Brittany Lovisi has been a bridesmaid nine times — and she’s getting married this July.
By the time her wedding rolls around, she will have attended 10 bachelorette celebrations. Lovisi, of Lake Ronkonkoma, has been everywhere from Patchogue to Mexico to celebrate her best friends’ bridal bliss. But it always comes with a cost.
“I went to Nashville twice, 50 weeks apart,” says Lovisi, 31. Last year alone, she spent about $3,200, including $1,429 for a bachelorette trip to Scottsdale (including airfare, Airbnb, decorations, food, Uber and activities) and $544 for the Poconos (for the Airbnb, food and decorations, not including gas and toll costs).
Bachelorette culture has changed, Lovisi says. Parties have turned into weekend trips, and those trips have now become getaways spanning up to five days.
Brittany Lovisi, at her Ronkonkoma home on Jan. 19, has been a bridesmaid nine times. Credit: Newsday/Danielle Silverman
According to the most recent data compiled by The Knot, a wedding planning company, one in two attendees spent more than $300 on a bachelorette party on average in 2021.
Get ready for the weekend with our picks on where to shop, dine and have fun on Long Island.
When the celebration takes place in cities such as New York City, Miami, or Las Vegas (which were among the most popular bachelorette destinations of 2021, according to The Knot), that number goes up 61%.
That means one in five partygoers is actually spending closer to $1,000 or more on bachelorette trips, per The Knot's findings.
Lovisi is among many other bridesmaids across Long Island who have paid for a long weekend trip — complete with plane tickets and hotel or Airbnb reservations — in addition to the expenses that come with a wedding. Some agree that social media has caused a new pressure to splurge.
"I think the bar for weddings and bachelorette parties has been raised immensely," says Gabrielle Mirasola, who runs a Facebook group called The Long Island Wedding Connection for brides. "TikTok has become a huge thing for brides. When you start scrolling for bachelorette ideas, you see all these brides on these amazing trips and think, 'Wow, I want that.'"
But for these brides, the bottom line is this: It’s not about the destination, it’s about the people coming with you.
Brittany Lovisi (back left) at bride Lyndsey Howe's bachelorette trip, among other bridesmaids, in Mexico in February 2020. Credit: Ashley Karow
Heather Cunningham, who created the Facebook group Brides of Long Island in 2016, had her own bachelorette celebration in Austin, Texas before her 2017 wedding. She says most people are opting for bachelorette trips over a night out to celebrate.
“Nashville is a very popular destination,” Cunningham says. “Austin, Miami, Vegas. The Poconos picked up speed after COVID because it’s away, but not that far away.”
Mirasola, a luxury wedding planner, notes that Nashville, Miami and Talum, Mexico have become popular bachelorette spots, usually selected by the bride.
"They will price it out to see if it's affordable for the bridesmaids, and then present it to the group. The majority of bridesmaids do not pay for the bride."
Costs add up quickly — for example, Mirasola recently attended a bachelorette trip in Miami. The bride, who is Mirasola's business partner, rented a yacht as part of the celebration. With 10 people for four hours, that came to $2,600 total, plus $750 for decorations. With an outfit itinerary to follow for the weekend (so the bridesmaids and bride could match wherever they went), Mirasola spent hundreds.
"This bride is more luxurious and wanted elevated bachelorette experience," she says. "And the new trend is to synchronize outfits."
And sometimes taking a local trip — for example, renting a house on the East End of Long Island — ends up costing around the same amount as flying somewhere, Cunningham notes.
“The house rentals are pretty expensive,” she says. “A lot of them require multiple nights and it can be thousands of dollars. And going out in the Hamptons is not cheap.”
Sometimes bridal parties decide to pay for additional experiences as a gift to the bride. For example, hiring a private chef or masseuse is common, Cunningham says.
Melissa Siegel and her eight bridesmaids flew to Nashville for her bachelorette celebration in April 2022. Credit: Melissa Siegel
Melissa Siegel from St. James and her eight bridesmaids flew to Nashville last April.
“I wasn’t the first in my group of friends to get married,” says Siegel, 32. “A lot of their bachelorettes were already done out east on Long Island, so I wanted to do something different.”
With her bridesmaids living in a few different states, they determined Nashville would be the best meeting point for them all. They booked an Airbnb, which came out to $283 per person, she says.
“The airfare was definitely more expensive than I think people were hoping,” Siegel says. The bridesmaids' airfare (including Siegel's, which they split) was $419 total per person, she adds.
The group opted mostly to explore the city on their own instead of paying for tours and group activities, in order to save money. They also used the BACH app, where you can create a weekend schedule, send out group polls and keep track of expenses when it comes time to split bills and reimburse others.
Melissa Siegel and her eight bridesmaids flew to Nashville for her bachelorette celebration in April 2022. Credit: Melissa Siegel
While planning a bachelorette trip, it’s essential to be mindful of your bridal party’s financial situations, Cunningham says. "Just have realistic expectations of what you and your friends want to do", she says. "If someone can’t afford it, that’s OK."
Not everybody can jump to do a seven-day all inclusive trip to another country.
– Heather Cunningham
Siegel’s biggest tip for brides: “Don’t think of your bachelorette as a vacation,” she says. “It’s just a weekend trip, and it doesn’t need to be this big, grand thing. Instead of focusing on events, focus on being with everybody that loves you, in the same place at the same time.”
Say 'yes' to the price
JoAnna Rodriguez, of Howard Beach, Queens, had to roll with the punches while planning her wedding. She was supposed to get married in May 2020, and ended up pushing it back by a full year.
“I just have always found it so ridiculous, what bachelorette parties have become,” says Rodriguez, 31. “So I just always knew when my turn came, that I wasn't going to be that bride who expects people to drop thousands of dollars."
The original plan was Atlantic City, since Rodriguez didn’t want to travel too far away. But, “our wedding got postponed, and consequently, my bachelorette got postponed,” she says.
She and her maid of honor started to look at Airbnb listings and found Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania.
“I got myself a white jacket,” she says. “We went snow tubing and ATVing, and there was a Jacuzzi at the Airbnb so I still got to wear my bridal bathing suit. In the end it was really simple, and it was fun.”
JoAnna Rodriguez spent her bachelorette celebration snow tubing and riding ATVs with her friends in Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania, in February 2021. Credit: JoAnna Rodriguez
Rodriguez went on the trip with her maid of honor and a friend. The two-night Airbnb stay was about $200 per person before fees, she says.
“I think there’s pressure with social media to have such a large group,” Rodriguez says. “And you see groups of girls going to Nashville or Arizona or Texas, and some bridal parties go out of the country. I think it’s very easy to compare and feel that pressure to keep up, but I was always the type of bride and, generally, person that I always said, if you put me in a box with my friends, I’m going to have a good time. And that was exactly what happened.”
Alisha James, of Coram, decided to forgo a bachelorette trip altogether and put that money toward building the backyard wedding of her dreams. James did not want to pay for her own share of a trip, while also asking her loved ones to buy their own airfare and hotel stay, too.
“I would say cost had a lot to do with it,” says James, 30. “We were planning our wedding in six months, so I think that’s stressful for any bride. I just thought it would be really unfair of me to ask people so close to me to do things so close to each other, with the expense of it all.”
Alisha and Markie James hosted their wedding in their Coram backyard, on June 25, 2022. Alisha decided to forgo a bachelorette celebration to save money. Credit: Courtney Blekicki of Solaris Photo & Film
Sophie Aggarwal, of Dix Hills, had her first bachelorette experience for her boyfriend's sister last August. She says the three-day weekend in the Hamptons was low-key compared to other bachelorette trips: They rented a house, swam in the pool and hired a private chef. In total, Aggarwal says she spent $1,350, with the Airbnb as the top expense ($800 a person for two nights).
Navigating these expenses can be difficult, she says, so in the future, Aggarwal hopes to assist her own bridal party as much as possible.
"I want to make it worth it and reasonable," she says. "If it's me paying for the stay and everyone else pays for their own flights, I would do that to help out, if I'm in the right position in my life."
Cost effective alternatives
Rachel Weiss learns how to make a flower crown with Betsy Liegey, owner of True Elizabeth. Fresh flowers are used to create the crowns for bachelorette parties at Meadowlark North Fork by Macari Vineyards in Cutchogue on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. Credit: Randee Daddona
Lovisi attended four bachelorette parties in 2022. She went to the Poconos and Nashville, then to Scottsdale, Arizona.
She also attended a bachelorette celebration just a few miles from her own home — on Main Street in Patchogue. The group went out to dinner and then headed to Blue Point Brewery and Daisy’s Nashville Lounge, a country-themed bar. In total, Lovisi says she spent just under $130 on dinner, drinks and Uber.
“It was very different,” Lovisi says. “It was a low-key, casual night out on Long Island, and it was very cost effective.”
Although 2022 was busy for Lovisi, this isn’t the first time she’s had to juggle a schedule of bachelorette events.
“In 2015, I went to three bachelorette parties in one summer,” she says. “All within six weeks of each other. That was my first taste of bachelorette party culture. Back then, it was what was in driving distance, a Friday through Sunday mentality."
The culture we have now is different from what we had in 2015, and 20 years ago it was even more different.
– Brittany Lovisi
Brittany Lovisi celebrated her friends Amanda Horan's bachelorette party in Patchogue in 2022. Credit: Courtney Blekicki of Solaris Photo & Film/Brittany Lovisi
One thing that also changes all the time: the prices. To alleviate any pressure to spend money, Lovisi says communication is key.
“It can get overwhelming,” she says. “But be a part of the conversation, because then you’ll get stuck with a price tag you’re not happy with. It’s better to communicate than not at all."
For Lovisi’s bachelorette party, she decided to pick a destination that she and her bridesmaids have never visited: Charleston, South Carolina. She spent $473 on her flight, which will be in May.
She doesn't want anyone to feel like they're spending so much money and are uncomfortable with it. "When you get a lot of people together, planning a weekend can get stressful. But the best part is being with all the people you love the most,” she says.
- “Start saving early, and avoid a flight if you can. If you’re traveling, think about how much you actually need and want there.” — Heather Cunningham
- Try a budget app: Brittany Lovisi has used the app SplitWise — if someone covers a tab, they can enter the amount and it’ll notify the other group members how much they owe.
- "Save up slowly, so that it doesn't come at you by surprise when you have to pay forward. And if you don't want to do something, be honest with yourself." — Sophie Aggarwal
Reporter: Rachel Weiss
Editor: Kristen Sullivan and Meghan Giannotta
Digital producer: Heather Doyle
Long Island has plenty of popular hubs packed with bars, restaurants and nightlife.
In Suffolk County, Huntington, Patchogue, Babylon and Port Jefferson are perfect for a night on the town. As for Nassau County, check out Long Beach, Rockville Centre and Farmingdale.
All of these Main Streets are within a short distance of their Long Island Rail Road stations, for any bridal party members traveling from out of town. With some party favors and a barhopping plan, this bachelorette celebration will last all night — and if you’re staying in town, there are plenty of brunch options in these communities for the following morning.
At Daisy's Nashville Lounge in Patchogue, guests can book the VIP lounge (a private section in the back of the bar) for a $75 minimum per person spent on drinks and/or food on Saturday nights. They also offer a five-appetizer package at $25, plus a complimentary bottle of Champagne. The co-owners are also developing a bachelorette package, where groups can receive cowboy hats, sunglasses and bandannas.
Why not pick a spa package, so that your bridal party can relax together before the big wedding day?
Anoz Spa Boutique in Garden City can host parties on site or come to your gathering for group spa experiences. For private parties at the boutique (which can be hosted on a Sunday, Monday or Wednesday), guests can opt for a 30 minute massage, facial or both. The spa can host between 8 and 15 people, with a $100 minimum per person. They offer karaoke (with a $100 fee) and photography as add-ons. Therapists can also be hired at an hourly rate and travel to you for massages, which would be $85 each.
At Island Salt and Spa in Sayville, your bridal party can choose services off the a la carte menu, including foot scrubs, cranial massages and facials. For the bride, they offer the Island Bridal Package, containing a body scrub, Swedish massage, facial and even a tapas plate! The Island Signature, one-hour facial is $130, and a 55-minute deep tissue massage is $110. They also offer add-ons and shorter services for lower rates.
Wineries throughout Long Island offer both indoor and outdoor seating, making it a fun and affordable option no matter what season you’ll throw your bachelorette party.
Meadowlark North Fork by Macari Vineyards, located in Cutchogue, offers a package including a wine blending seminar and floral arrangement activity for $225 per person.
Del Vino Vineyards isn’t too far from the village of Northport, which could make for a full day of fun activities with a boozy starting point.
And Pindar Vineyards in Peconic offers tastings with a private wine educator and five wines, for $45 a person.
Rachel Weiss joined Newsday in 2016. As a real estate/living multimedia reporter, Rachel writes feature stories and contributes to and appears in on-camera video packages. She was the lead reporter on Newsday’s LI Acts of Kindness series.
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