We’ve been bridesmaids so many times we basically consider ourselves to be professionals; however, unlike Bridesmaid for Hire founder Jen Glantz, we weren’t savvy enough to actually start charging for our services. Through her ingenious business, Jen offers to perform the duties typically required of a bridesmaid for a fee, so you don’t have to rely on your potentially flaky (or champagne-buzzed) friends to handle big deeds on your big day. We were curious as to what, exactly, it looks like to get paid to be a bridesmaid, so we asked Jen for the inside scoop in advance of her book, Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire), which releases in February 2017. Here, she shares her best anecdotes and advice for being a star bridesmaid (or starting to charge for your services, as the case may be).
What does a professional bridesmaid do?
"I'm the bride's go-to gal pal before the wedding and on the wedding day. Simply put, I'm the on-call therapist, personal assistant, social director and peacekeeper. The job is way more than zipping on a semi-decent polyester dress and toasting with glasses of champagne all night."
Does hiring you mean unpaid bridesmaids just get to party?
"I step in and take care of most of the dirty work so that you can your 'unpaid' bridesmaids can have a good time. That way, you don't have to worry about stressing one of your bridesmaids out with last-minute trips to CVS or day-of requests that'll have them running around so much that their makeup will start dripping off their face and their perfectly curled hair will just look soggy."
What's the most difficult thing you've ever been asked to do?
"I've been asked to do so many wild and crazy tasks that I wrote an entire book about it, called Always a Bridesmaid for Hire. But in no particular order, I've had to touch poison ivy, scoop up dog poop with my bare hands so a bride could walk down the aisle and not ruin her $5,000 dress, and even handle a runaway bride who five minutes before the ceremony pretty much realized the guy she was about to marry was a liar."
Is it ever awkward?
"I have a high tolerance when it comes to awkwardness. I'm really good at walking into a room of strangers—like at a wedding or a bachelorette party where I know nobody—and making friends in less time than it takes to do a lemon-drop shot."
What's your funniest anecdote?
"I worked a wedding where the staff at the venue was moving the cake onto the dance floor and the table it was on broke—so the cake flew up in the air and I just so happened to be nearby. I dove and was able to catch the top layer of the cake in my hands. The rest was destroyed. I had cake all over me, which really isn't the worst thing to have all over your arms. It actually helps to repell drunk uncles."
What do you think makes for a good bridesmaid?
"The #1 thing you can do to be a kick-butt bridesmaid is to be selfless. Remember, the wedding day isn't about you, so put your annoying feelings aside and help the bride out as much as you can. If you're not happy with how your hair came out or how the bride wants you to take a picture with her and it's 90 degrees out, smile and remember that you're there to support your good friend who is saying 'I do' to the person of their dreams."
What is one thing no bridesmaid should ever do?
"Never stress out the bride. Do what she wants you do. If it gets too expensive or out of hand, share your thoughts and feelings in advance. Drop any resentment before the wedding day and go with the flow."
What is one thing a bridesmaid should always do?
"Be on time. There's nothing worse than trying to locate where the heck a bridesmaid is an hour before it's time to walk down the aisle."
Do you have to do everything the bride asks you to?
"You can always say no to things—you just need to do it ASAP and not back out last minute. It's okay to say no to being a bridesmaid or say no to going to the bachelorette party if you can't afford it, just make sure you do so early on."
Any advice for dealing with a bridezilla?
"Stay calm. Make her laugh. Give her a little space. Realize that after she walks down the aisle, you won't have to deal with bridezilla mode. Find the dance floor or the open bar and just enjoy the night because you have earned it."
Can we start getting paid to bridesmaid?
"I'm always accepting applications from women who would like to join the team and become a professional bridesmaid. Since starting out two years ago, I've had over 10,000 women apply. Learn more here."