You could say that Jen Glantz was ‘bridally popular.’ By her mid-twenties, more than a fair share of her girlfriends had asked her to be a bridesmaid in their upcoming weddings – a task which she took in stride. With a decreasing amount of single gal pals and a sharp rise in bridal party invitations, friends joked that Jen was becoming a professional. That comment resonated with the 27 year old; so much so that she decided to put out an ad on Craigslist, offering her services to engaged women around the globe. Expecting to get a few emails scattered here and there, Jen was floored when she received nearly 500 responses in less than a week. “There’s actually a need for it – I saw that need and decided to pursue it,” she revealed in an interview.
Fast forward to present day: that Craigslist ad has turned into a legitimate career. Jen now has her own website, BridesmaidForHire.com, with everything from package offers to testimonials to an online shop. With an increasing interest in this offbeat marital vocation, many brides have questions as to the details of hiring a professional bridesmaid.
After a healthy dose of curiosity and lot of research, we’ve put together a list of seven things you absolutely need to know:
- It’s for all kinds of women. Jen herself says that her services can be advantageous for someone who “already has bridesmaids […] but they need that professional help. They want their friends to go off and enjoy the full wedding experience – get their hair done, go to the bar – but they want someone to be there by their side.” But these ladies aren’t only suitable for the bride who needs a seventh or eighth ’maid, “it’s also for women who don’t have many friends at all; who have a very small bridal party and need that person who’s going to make them feel confident and stress-free on their wedding day.”
- Their job description depends entirely on what you need. If the stress is getting to be too much to bear, she’s your therapist. If you need the invitations written and delivered, she’s your personal assistant. If your inebriated Uncle Dave is distracting everyone at the reception, she’s your guest-wrangler. Whatever you should require on or before your big day; these girls have it covered.
- Their prices vary. This being a fairly new phenomenon, there isn't a set fee for their services just yet. Many will offer you rough estimates based on your requests and fees from previous events. Jen has several different packages that women can choose from based on their needs and their budget. She offers deals ranging from $199 to $1,000.
- They don’t have the same job as a wedding planner. Instead of an event coordinator, you’re essentially getting the full effect of an overly dedicated friend for a fee. “Wedding planners have quite the job of their own, focusing on preparing for the big day and making sure the vendors arrive on time and the venue is set up exactly as the bride imagined,” Jen writes on her website. “I’m there to work specifically with the bride and her needs – whether it’s shopping for a wedding dress, organizing RSVPs, coordinating the bridal shower or bachelorette party, helping with a registry for gifts, etc.”
- They can assist first-time bridesmaids with their duties. Who better to tutor women who have yet to plan a shower or grace a fitting than a paid professional? Jen offers a Bridesmaid Boot Camp Crash Course that will “tell you everything you need to know about being a bridesmaid and answer any questions that you have about what you should be doing when.”
- A long-term friendship isn’t off the table. This is dependent on each individual honor attendant, but when you spend large amounts of time in constant contact with another woman, chances are, you’re going to bond. It’s true, you’re paying her like you would any other wedding vendor, but according to Jen, true friendships can easily form. “[M]any [brides] entered my life in a real way. We spent hours on the phone and days texting back and forth. Sometimes after a wedding, that kind of hectic back-and-forth stopped, and sometimes it didn’t — and I was glad.”
- You can do it, too. If you can’t get enough of the whole wedding experience, you can get paid to ’maid, too. You can post your own ad, or you can join Jen herself through her business. “The Bridesmaid for Hire team has been working hard to expand our business around the world and very soon we’ll be hiring other women to be a part our network and work as Professional Bridesmaids,” she revealed on her site. According to her, she’s already received hundreds of applications and expecting many more. We’ll tell you one thing; there will never be a dull moment in that line of work.
Opening photo by KingenSmith