- Jen Glantz is an entrepreneur and founder of the company Bridesmaid for Hire, for which she works as a professional bridesmaid in the weddings of complete strangers.
- On the big day, she says her duties involve everything from being the bride’s personal assistant, social director, peacekeeper, and unofficial on-call therapist.
- While no wedding is ever the same, Glantz says there’s always family drama, a variety of last-minute problems, and loads of tears.
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When I often tell people that I work as a bridesmaid for hire they almost immediately think that’s just a fancy word for wedding planner.
But wedding planners are very different: They work on setting up the wedding and coordinating details of the look and feel of the whole celebration.
What do I do? It can seem complicated, but my job is more than just wearing the bridesmaid dress, pretending to know the bride from a specific time in her life, dancing on the dance floor, and giving a maid-of-honor speech.
A lot of what I do requires putting out fights (between the bride and the cast of characters in her life), finding missing things (from bridesmaid dresses to grooms), and running around solving problems (like Diet Coke spilled on the wedding dress before the ceremony, handling a bride with cold feet, or trying to keep the mother of the bride busy so she and the bride don’t have another argument). That’s the simple version of my job.
The heart of my job is being there for the person who hired me, which often means that every wedding looks and feels different from my perspective. Here’s what a day in my life looks like.
My day often starts before sunrise
I’m the first person at the bride’s hotel suite the morning of the wedding and I’m usually there by 6:30 a.m. when she wakes up.
I bring her favorite breakfast and a large cup of coffee or tea. I usually also bring flowers to add life and color to the morning. I put on my playlist and help the bride start the day with a quick dance party.
We run through the flow of the day and talk through any nerves or problems she anticipates. I organize her dress and accessories before I pack her bag for the wedding and for the wedding night. I also make sure we spend 20 minutes doing some silent meditation and deep breathing before the hair and makeup process begins or the other bridesmaids arrive.
I meet dozens of new people on the morning of the big day
Once the other bridesmaids show up, I often meet them for the first time. Of course they question who I am and why I haven’t been at any other pre-wedding events. I always have answers ready for each situation and the bride backs me up. I help them steam their dresses and tell them it’s my specialty. I also know in advance who will be problematic that day and try to buddy up with them so I can intervene before the drama gets to the bride.
If there aren’t any other bridesmaids, I meet the other people in the bride’s life, like parents or family members who are getting ready with her that morning. Usually they pull me aside, talk my ear off with different drama and problems, all without knowing I’m hired to work the wedding.
Why do they do it? At weddings, everyone involved wants a pair of ears to vent to. I always make mine available so that I have inside access to all the problems taking place, so I can help ease tension among the people there.
Tears are inevitable at every wedding
Usually, right before the ceremony starts, a set of tears begin. Sometimes it’s from an overwhelmed or cold-footed bride, other times it’s from a bridesmaid who is sabotaging the wedding experience with her emotions and problems. Occasionally it’s from a stubborn or opinionated family member. Either way, this is when I pull out my first tissue pack of the day (I carry seven mini tissue packs with me for each wedding — they always get used).
I often spend 15 to 20 minutes inviting the crying person into the hallway with me to talk things out. I’m good at getting them to stop crying and usually that’s because I listen, question them, and try to bribe them to calm down (with a mid-morning coffee or pastry).
Problems often pop up last-minute before the ceremony
Right before the ceremony, there’s always a problem I have to attend to. I make sure I get ready for the wedding as early as possible so I don’t have a curling iron in my hand when the morning problem happens. Sometimes it’s a stained wedding dress, a missing groom, a hungover bridesmaid, a broken bracelet, a late officiant, or bad weather.
While I do my best to fix the problem, sometimes I can’t, like when there’s torrential rain and the wedding is outside without a tent. I do my best to come up with crafty solutions and if that doesn’t work, I’m honest with the bride. I’d rather set realistic expectations — because if not, they count on me to do the impossible, like make the sun come out.
After the ceremony, things slow down and I sneak away for a quick break
Once I finish walking down the aisle and the couple has said “I do,” things slow down for me. I bustle the bride’s dress, bring her and her partner food from cocktail hour, and let them be for a little bit. I go off and hide in a bathroom stall for 30 minutes, take deep breaths, and try to unpack all that happened so far. I often try to sneak in my first meal of the day, since finding time to eat amid nonstop chaos can be tricky, before going back to work.
As cocktail hour gets underway, another problem usually pops up
When I exit the bathroom, someone usually grabs me and pulls me toward a problem, such as the couple fighting, a groom who is too drunk already, or a bridesmaid threatening to leave because she feels left out. Most of the time it’s that the bride needs help peeing in her wedding dress. I return to the bathroom and spend 20 minutes helping her.
I’m in charge of getting the party started and keeping it going
Once the reception doors open, I’m expected to be the first person on the dance floor. Have you ever danced alone at a wedding while all the guests watched from their tables? That’s part of my job. I try to pull people onto the dance floor and make the environment fun. It can be tricky, especially if the crowd isn’t interested or the music is bad. But I do what I can to make the night exciting and fun.
As the night wears on, I make a secret exit
When my time is up (based on how many hours the bride hired me for) I grab my bag and find the exit door. I don’t say goodbye because I don’t want to draw attention to myself leaving. I try to be as discreet as possible, so I tell people I’m heading to the bathroom, then I call a cab and get back to my hotel or the airport, where I either catch a flight home or continue on to the next wedding of the weekend.