When 26-year-old New Yorker Jen Glantz got to be the bridesmaid at four of her closest friends’ weddings this year, she realized that she had a real flair for the job. Her story is incredibly similar to Katherine Heigl’s character in the movie 27 Dresses, where she’s always the bridesmaid but never the bride. But Jen has decided to make the most of her situation by turning pro – she posted an ad on Craigslist offering her services to brides all over the world. She’s even written a book about her experiences as a professional bridesmaid called All My Friends are Engaged.
“This year alone, I’ve been a bridesmaid four times,” she wrote in the ad. “That’s four different chiffon dresses, four different hen parties filled with tequila shots and guys in thongs twerking way too close to my face; four different pre-wedding pep talks to the bride about how this is the happiest day of her life and marriage, probably, is just like riding a bike: a little shaky at first but then she’ll get the hang of it. So let me be there for you if you don’t have any other girlfriends.”
The ad also mentions the bridesmaid stuff that Jen is exceptionally good at: “Holding up the 18 layers of your dress so that you can pee with ease on your wedding day,” “Catching the bouquet and then following that moment up with my best Miss America-like ‘Omg, I can’t believe this,’ speech,” ”Doing the electric and the cha cha slide,” and “Responding in a timely manner to pre-wedding email chains created by other bridesmaids and the Maid of Honor.”
Surprisingly, Jen received an overwhelming response to her ad – it looks like she accidentally taped into a market that no one ever knew existed. Over night, her mailbox was flooded with requests from a wide range of people – right from gay couples who wanted a female member in their bridal party, to brides who had just moved and couldn’t have their friends to attend the wedding. The ad soon went viral, appearing on popular websites like Elle Magazine and Buzzfeed.
Jen, who began planning her own wedding when she was only seven years old, said that she would be delighted to help brides organize wedding showers and hen parties, collaborate on speeches and ensure that everything goes smoothly on the big day. “Finding friends once you’ve graduated college and entered the real world is quite the daunting task,” wrote Jen, a copywriter and blogger by profession. “This is just one of those very, very out-of-the-box ways of connecting with someone new.”
When asked about the qualities that make her a good candidate for a bridesmaid, Jen replied: “On a big wedding day and the activities leading up to a wedding day, there’s going to be a lot of stress and anxiety. So you need to be able to walk into a situation and handle those things. I personally like to use humor, so that would be my bridesmaid superpower. If you can get someone to laugh – you can get them to do anything.”
Jen is currently reviewing her first batch of e-mails and has already spoken to a few brides on the phone. She might take up her first bridesmaid job in September. She did mention in an interview that she’ll only take on a client when she feels a real connection. She’s also looking for an interesting story of how the couple met, before she steps into the picture. “It always pumps my heart to hear how two people, through a series of delicately random events, fell into each others’ arms,” she said. “It shows how much of life is out of our control – that’s something we often forget.”
She is more than happy to help brides, when she realizes that they are serious. “It’s a day they may have been dreaming of and pinning things on their Pinterest board for years and years. So, if they want you to wear a certain shade of nail polish or wake up early to get your makeup and hair done, I’m happy to do it.” And there’s something else in it for Jen as well – the more weddings she attends, the more she realizes how she wants her special day to look and feel.
In the end, she says, it’s not about the color of the napkins or the flavor of the cake that you’ll remember, it’s the people. “The people who paused the chaos of their lives to travel from where they are to where you are and celebrate this beautiful moment in your life with you,” she said. “I can’t wait to be that person for women around the world.” She sure is a contrast to this bridesmaid who attended her best friend’s wedding via iPad.
Jen hasn’t disclosed her price list yet, but she did say that prices will vary depending on a lot of factors. “It’s on a bride-to-bride basis based on travel expenses or out-of-pocket costs, but I am right now willing to work with any kind of budget,” she said.
Sources: CTV News, NY Daily News