Nearly-weds take flight for pre-nup parties

Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:50am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Why wait for the honeymoon? Engaged couples are turning bachelor and bachelorette parties into multi-day events and flying off to Las Vegas, Mexico and the Bahamas to celebrate before they tie the knot.

"I think for most girls it's a spa weekend," said Michelle Rago, a destination wedding and event planner in New York City, who has organized many a getaway for the nearly-wed.

"Usually it's within three hours traveling time, so on the Eastern seaboard they're going to the Bahamas or South Beach, Florida. Vegas is really popular," she added.

Vegas is king, according to John T. Peters of Tripology, the travel referral website. He said 56 percent of what he calls "bach/hen" requests are for Las Vegas, with Florida second. The average bill is a hefty $1,250 per person and travel agents say most people pay their own way.

So-called hen parties and stag nights are part of a swelling round of pre-marriage festivities that are boosting the travel industry.

"Girls are having as many parties as they can possibly have," said Rago.

And whether you're going to the desert or a dude ranch, hoteliers and venues have been smart about positioning themselves to accommodate the nearly-wed.

"I think that the industry has come a long way in servicing the wedding business," said Rago.   Continued...

<p>Fireworks are seen over Las Vegas Strip casinos just after midnight in Las Vegas, January 1, 2007. REUTERS/Steve Marcus</p>