DALLAS -- After somebody pops the question, but before a couple says I do, many women gather their girlfriends for what some consider the most important pre-wedding festivity -- the bachelorette party.
Caitlin Quinn and Deanna Walden are dear friends and bridesmaids of Brittany Schwartz, who got married in Dallas last July.
"It was just perfect, it was wonderful," she said.
But months before, as she was planning, Schwartz decided she’d do what’s becoming a new tradition. A bachelorette weekend getaway.
"I think every girl when they’re asked to be a bridesmaid is like, 'Where are we going, what are we going to do?' she said. "And even as a bride you’re like, 'I’m ready to get away with my girls.'"
For her group, it was one amazing weekend in Vegas. But ask around, especially in North Texas, and you'll find groups renting houses in Austin, or strolling through the streets of New Orleans. More and more, a bachelorette party is no longer just one night of debauchery, and that can be great fun -- as long as you can afford it.
A bridesmaid's costs add up quickly. Often, women are asked to buy their dress, then there's money for travel and lodging for the wedding, and possibly hair and makeup on the big day. Then on top of that add a bachelorette weekend, where there's more travel costs, plus plenty of delicious food and drink.
And don't forget the gifts for the bachelorette, shower and wedding. It doesn’t take long to easily break $1,000.
"I think every bride has the guilt factor," said Schwartz. "You know how expensive it can be to be a bridesmaid and not everyone is in the same life stages."
Quinn and Walden say they managed the money by budgeting the costs like a vacation.
"You know going into it, especially if you’re involved in the wedding, that you’re going to have to spend some money," said Walden. "But it gives you some time to save up!"
Still, trips aren't something every one can do, or the kind of party every bride wants. But any bridesmaid will tell you they'll do all they can to be by their bride's side every step of the way to the big day.
"That’s your best friend so you’re going to do anything for them. And it’s going to be a memory forever, so that’s worth more than the price tag," said Quinn.