The simple version of the story is that all of my friends got engaged when I was in my early twenties and in what felt like just a blink of my eye, I suddenly became Always The Bridesmaid.
I found myself collecting polyester dresses, spending weekends at bridal showers, bachelorette parties, or catching bouquets, while standing in the middle of a cold dance floor, beside a handful of other single and semi-hopeful women.
But the real slap in the face that made me decide to start Bridesmaid for Hire, a business where strangers from all over the world have enlisted my services to be there for them before and on the day of their wedding as a member of their bridal party, was because I was really, really good at being a bridesmaid.
Better than that, I was able to wrangle all of the people that come in to play on the wedding day, and often bring with them a clutch filled with drama, chaos, and unexpected twist and turns.
I was nicknamed the bridesmaid warrior, the bride's human Xanax, and finally “the professional bridesmaid" by my roommate, the night I posted the well-known Craigslist ad that took me from perpetual bridesmaid for my friends to the founder of a company where people paid me to zip on a dress, jump on a plane, and be there for them on their wedding day.
Two years, 30-something bridesmaid dresses, and over 40 clients later, I look back at my adventure so far and realize that there are 3 main reasons I decided to become the world's first professional bridesmaid.
1. I Wanted to End the Concept of Bridezillas
The term “Bridezilla" used to make me upset because I don't think most people understand the amount of stress and pressure that a bride feels leading up to her wedding day. There are questions over how she'll pay for the celebration, if her guests will like the venue and the food, and of course, if it'll look like the wedding she's always dreamed of. Because of so many unknowns and so many months of planning, emotions skyrocket and stress levels soar. Instead of writing off brides as going bonkers before their weddings, I wanted to intercept their chaos and help them make it down the aisle without feeling suffocated by what-ifs and unrealistic wedding expectations.
2. Being a Bridesmaid is a Lot of Work
The number one question people ask me is “Do brides only hire you if they don't have any friends?" and the answer is no. Often times brides hire me even if they have 5 or 7 other bridesmaids. But the role of being a bridesmaid is a lot of work and brides would rather their close friends have fun and enjoy the wedding adventure without giving them the headache tasks of planning a bachelorette party, organizing a bridal shower, and running around on the day-of the wedding as their personal assistant. That's what I'm there for instead.
3. I Didn't Like Weddings
This last one sounds a bit wacky, but it's true. After attending more weddings, for my friends, than I could count on both my hands, I started to roll my eyes at the concept of weddings because there was so much pressure attached to the idea that one day was supposed to be the most perfect and greatest day in a person's life. It's not. It is just a celebration of new, fresh love.
So make the day what you want and skip out on old school wedding traditions that you don't really need. Every bride I work with, that's what I tell them from day one. My goal is for them to have the wedding that they want, not the wedding that social media, the movies, or the wedding industry wants them to have.
WRITTEN BYJen Glantz