Let’s face it: a wedding is usually the most special day in a woman’s life, but it’s also one of the most stressful. Managing everything from guest lists and volatile vendors to loony in-laws can drive even the most level-headed gal totally bonkers, but what you may not know is that you can now outsource your bridesmaids. Yes, hire a bridesmaid. You may think that paying someone one is a tad impersonal; after all, maid of honor duty is often bestowed on one of the brides’ very besties.
That’s not necessarily the case says Jen Glantz, who turned the idea of bridesmaid-for-hire into a full-fledged business. “Sometimes you can tell a stranger things you can’t tell a friend,” says Jennifer, who is the owner of BridesMaidsForHire. “I worked a wedding recently where right before the bride walked down the aisle she pulled me aside and said, ‘Jen, I don’t want to do this!’ That was a wedding of 300 people and she could have told anyone. So a big part of why brides hire me is having that confidential support.”
Jen shared more on her inventive biz as she surveyed the bridesmaid’s dresses stuffed into her closet. Here’s the dish:
PS: What gave you the idea to of turning bridesmaids-for-hire into a business?
JG: At one point all my friends were getting engaged in their early 20s and I was constantly their bridesmaid. About two years ago, there was one Friday night where two of my friends asked me to be their bridesmaid! My roommate said, “you know what, you’ve become a professional bridesmaid, people are asking you to do this because you’re good at it.” I was like, hey, I am good at it!
I went where anyone else would go to start a business, Craigslist, and posted an ad offering my services as a bridesmaid. I posted anonymously and two days later I had hundreds of emails from brides all over the world who wanted to hire me.
PS: And what was the first gig to come out of that post?
JG: Working for a bride in Maple Grove, Minn. She hired me because she had fired her maid of honor about three months before that. People often just aren’t there for the bride in the way they need to be, and their friendship kind of gets demolished. In that case she had fired her and was looking for a support system, someone to step in and make her feel confident and stress-free before the wedding and on the day of the wedding.
PS: Did you go there to help her, or did you work online?
JG: I was there for her online virtually, we talked about once a week. For her wedding I flew up that Friday night and I was there walking down the aisle with her on Saturday morning.
PS: You offer bridesmaid packages?
JG: For brides, I have a virtual package, and that’s being your virtual bridesmaid for your wedding, so I’m there -- like your wedding guru. Then there are packages where I am the actual bridesmaid, I put on a dress and walk down the aisle. For maids of honor I have a speechwriting package where I write the speech for them. And I also have a package called “Undercover Maid of Honor” where I take on the maid of honor job for them and the bride has no clue.
PS: What was the wackiest wedding you remember?
JG: The craziest thing I’ve ever done was when I worked a wedding in a field in Nevada and there were wild animals everywhere. Before I walked down the aisle I noticed there was animal poop up and down the aisle, so I picked it up with my bare hands so the bride wouldn’t have to get her dress dirty. And that just kind of proved to me that yes, I will do anything and everything for these brides.
I once had to take off my strapless bra and give it to the mother of the bride because she forgot hers. I actually wrote an entire book about the crazy things I’ve done for brides, which comes out next February.
PS: What advice do you give to bridesmaids to survive a Bridezilla?
JG: I think people who are bridesmaids just want to impress the bride and make sure she’s feeling great. They sacrifice themselves and what they’re capable of -- that can turn into a lot of fights and resentment ends the friendship and it really shouldn’t. If you can’t spend a thousand dollars on a bachelorette party, say you can’t go. If the bride picks out an unflattering dress, say something, speak up like you would with a normal friend.
PS: What advice do you give to brides about dealing with bridesmaids?
JG: I think it’s important to convey to your bridesmaids what you expect from them up front. In terms of bachelorette party, bridal shower, dress, even geography and expenses, there’s going to be a lot going on so let them know what they’re getting themselves into so they have the chance to back out if they can’t do it. And don’t be upset if they can’t do it.
PS: How many bridesmaid dresses do you think you now have? It must be a growing collection…
JG: If you saw my tiny closet in my apartment in New York City you’d see it’s packed with these polyester chiffon bridesmaid dresses that I can’t give away. For some reason I hold onto them, they’re like my treasure chest of memories.
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