Home » Business » I'm a professional bridesmaid: Strangers pay me to be their best friend for their wedding — and yes, I have way more than 27 dresses
I'm a professional bridesmaid: Strangers pay me to be their best friend for their wedding — and yes, I have way more than 27 dresses
After being a bridesmaid countless times, Jen Glantz realized there was a need in the wedding industry for a hired 'bridesmaid' figure for brides who might not have close or reliable friends to support them on their big day.
She started her business by posting an ad on Craigslist — and she got hundreds of responses.
For six years now, she's worked as a professional bridesmaid, hired by complete strangers to attend their weddings as a member of the bridal party and take care of any hands-on needs.
Glantz says the hardest part of the job is handling all of the drama that happens behind-the-scenes between the wedding couple, family members, and other invited (or sometimes not invited) guests.
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I became a professional bridesmaid by accident.
Early in my 20s, most of my friends got engaged — and I quickly became the walking, talking, pastel dress-wearing cliché of always being the bridesmaid.
I started to notice that weddings were filled with pockets of stress, anxiety, and loneliness for the people getting married. There wasn't anyone in the wedding industry whose official job it was to be there for the bride or groom during those heated moments. If there was a wedding planner around, they were too busy doing the hard job of setting up the wedding and working with the vendors to notice a crying bride, a missing groom, or a bridesmaid that lost their dress, moments before walking down the aisle. And if the person getting married did have close friends to stand beside them on their big day, those friends often had their eyes glued to the open bar and were focused on having their own night of fun.
But what led me to start a full-fledged business — where strangers could hire me to show up at their wedding, wear the bridesmaid dress, and pretend to know them from middle school — was one annoying Friday night.
Two distant friends called me up, both on the same night, and asked me to be their bridesmaid. It felt odd saying yes because we barely spoke anymore. I vented to my roommate who said the magic line that pushed me to start this business: "Jen, it looks like you've become a professional bridesmaid."
I decided, that night, to post an ad on Craigslist offering my services to other brides or grooms in need of a bridesmaid. I got hundreds of responses — and Bridesmaid for Hire was officially born.
When people hear that strangers hire me to be their bridesmaid, they think it's the most glamorous and fun job on the planet. The truth is, it's messy, filled with drama, blisters, and managing cold feet.
Here's an inside look at my life as a professional bridesmaid.
People hire me for two reasons.
Most of my clients contact me to be their bridesmaid for the same reasons. First, they don't have any close friends, which is quite common. According to YouGov, 1 in 5 millennials don't have a close friend. Or second, they do have a lot of friends, but they can't rely on them. They know their friends will give them constant headaches so they ask a professional (me) to join the bridal party and manage that stress.
I have the tough conversations with bridesmaids who are making the wedding all about them, and do the dirty work for the marrying couple so nobody else has to run around. This includes getting last-minute items, fixing the wedding dress when it gets damaged, and handling problems that would shake up the wedding if anyone found out.
Here's how it works.
I work weddings for strangers all over the country.