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There’s a lengthy list of reasons people roll their eyes when you tell them you have to go to a bachelorette party. The average age of marriage for a woman is 27, according to a Pew study from 2011. Her friends can expect to pay somewhere around $1,500 to be in a wedding. They may also spend somewhere around the same amount of money to go on a weekend-long bender—sorry, bachelorette party. There are pages and pages of Google search results devoted to “bachelorette party cost,” most of which are about how not to shell out over $1,000 per party. At this age, not everyone is able to comfortably spend the money or take the time away from their jobs.
Sometimes this expenditure feels compulsory. It’s a lot. Ultimately, though, we do it because bachelorette parties are more than an organized excuse to act like idiots.
They are the cost of community, tradition, and meaning that, after school, is largely missing for those of us who aren’t religious.
Being a 20-something after college is the first time many young adults are left to their own devices when it comes to building communities and constructing social activities and traditions. Until then, school, extracurriculars, and parents provided markers of time and milestones.
Even if you don’t get married or have children, most people start to get their acts together and develop routines and traditions as they get older. It’s through young adulthood that most of us have no idea what we’re doing or how to structure our lives.