Financial hangover from stag and hen dos

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Coronation Street's Stag Party - Manchester

Stag and hen celebrations have become increasingly elaborate over the years. Gone are the days when a night at the pub would suffice (unless you live on Coronation Street - pictured). Now single-sex groups are jetting round the world for a week before they get together to celebrate the most expensive day of their lives.

And new research reveals it's costing us all far more than we can afford.

The Debt Advisory Centre has revealed that one in four people have been away for a pre-wedding party. A quarter of people have been forced to spend £300 on the celebration - and more than one in 20 have spent more than £500 on one of these trips.

The major cost for most people is the accommodation - cited by 36%, followed by flights or ferry tickets (22%), and meals and drinks (20%). Others highlighted the expense of activities, a gift for the bride or groom, or the cost of taking additional time off work.

Unsurprisingly, one in five have turned down a stag or hen party trip because they didn't have the cash for it. Meanwhile, one in seven people say there are times when they wanted to refuse to go because of the expense - but they didn't want to upset the bride or the groom.

Shockingly, one in five people have had to borrow money in order to pay for it.

The costs don't necessarily end here. A recent survey by Confetti found that one in ten people on a pre-wedding party have had one or more members of the party miss the plane home - so they have to fork out for anther flight. Meanwhile 7% have lost their mobile phone, 5% have lost their luggage and 2% have lost their passport. Not only is this a major inconvenience, but there's a strong possibility that travel insurance will not pay out for these things if they were lost when you were under the influence of alcohol.

So what can you do?

There's a fairly high chance that one or more members of the party can't really afford a pricey celebration. So how can you bring the cost down without offending anyone?

Ian Williams, spokesman for Debt Advisory Centre, says: "If you're close to the bride or groom-to-be and are worried that attending their hen or stag do will stretch your finances too far, it's worth talking about it with them rather than getting into debt to be there – which is probably not what they want."

In reality this isn't anyone's 'last night of freedom' because the wedding will be weeks away and the couple have been together for months or years anyway. In an ideal world you will be able to calmly explain this to your bride or groom and sensibly suggest staying local, and keeping things cheap.

However, if they are determined to make the most of things, you can point out that traditionally the stags and hens organise the event, so you and some financially-minded friends can take charge and arrange a far cheaper celebration.

You could convince them to have an adventure. Theultimatehigh offers stag weekends with 2 days of adrenaline-fueled events like surfing, mountain boarding and assault courses - plus a fry up in the morning - for £85 - saving a fortune by getting the stags to stay in log cabins.

If they are dead-set on an overseas trip, you can select a cheaper destination. According to SkyScanner.net, Riga - the capital of Latvia - is a great budget destination. Flights start at £41 each way, hostels at £13 a night and hotels from £25. A weekend away could cost you less than £100 - with beer at around £2.40 a pint.

Alternatively, you can hunt down a special offer. Specialists lastnightoffreedom, for example, have a budget buster weekend in Dublin on offer for £69 - including two nights in a hostel and lots of traditional stag night activities if that's the kind of thing you're after.

Or you could leave it all to the last minute, stay flexible about the dates and destination, and snag a deal. At the time of writing, for example, Travel Republic is offering 2 nights in Majorca, flying out next Monday and returning on Wednesday, for £118.

But what do you think? Would you try to convince a stag or hen to opt for something cheaper, would you borrow cash and go along, or would you just wait to celebrate at the wedding when they're likely to be footing more of the bill.

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