Going back a post or two - I don't think what Tilt Fairy describes re: stag & hen nights in the UK is the norm - there are certianly lots of people who do have expensive and extended holidays, but I wouldn't say it's the majority.
I'm at an age where a LOT of my friends have been getting married over the past 10 years, and I can't think of a single couple who have had anything like that. Mostly it's been more low key; a spa day, meal out, on one ocassion a weekend in a rented cottage with lots of nice food & wine. I don't know anyone who had limos or matching outfits or anything like that.
Of course, a lot depends on your friends and their tastes, and equally, groups dressed up with L-plates & tiaras etc are very visible, so perhaps make it seem more common than it is.
My sister is getting married this summer - her hen do involves a group of us having a spa-weekend - we have booked a deal that gives us B&B & evening meal at a spa hotel, with full access to the sap and one treatment each. Including travel, it will work out at about £130 each plus whatever anyone choses to spend on extra spa treatments, and the cost of lunch which isn't included in the pacakge. Most of the hen parties I have been to have involved a single evening out, usually nice meal followed by a club.
I's really gald we don't do showers - having a party specifically aimed at gift giving seems really uncomfortable to me..