Before you have wedding meltdown number — well, bajillion — call on Jen Glantz, the 34-year-old founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She’s standing by in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to help brides and grooms across the country.
Since leaving her gig as a copywriter at a tech startup in 2014, Glantz has been a full-time entrepreneur, and she’s certainly picked up some valuable career advice along the way.
In addition to launching the world’s first service where strangers can hire a professional bridesmaid, Glantz is also an author, including “Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire)” (Simon & Schuster) as well as the podcast host for “You’re Not Getting Any Younger” and content creator for JenGlantz.com.
So how’d she strike on the gold of creating a pro bridesmaid service?
“I was a bridesmaid for every friend I ever had in my early 20s. When distant friends started asking me to take on the role, my roommate at the time nicknamed me ‘The Professional Bridesmaid,’” Glantz said.
Then, a breakthrough in 2014.
“That’s when I took the idea to Craigslist, posted an ad offering my services as a hired bridesmaid for strangers. I received over 300 responses, built a website and booked my first client (Ashley from Maple Grove, Minnesota) all in 48 hours.”
So what does a professional bridesmaid do? Basically, Glantz and her team do all the things any bridesmaid would do, from walking down the aisle in a bridesmaid dress to giving toasts and making a last-minute run to the drug store for eyelash glue.
“Plus, we’re a support system for you before the wedding begins,” she said. “Often, clients want to hire us and keep it a secret. That’s when we put on a disguise, have a fake name and backstory, and really immerse ourselves in your life.”
The company also offers packages for couples, maids of honor and wedding day coordination. In total, Glantz has worked over 125 weddings. She’s also worked with dozens of freelance bridesmaids and has had more than 100,000 people apply for the role.
Glantz says what they do is very different from what a wedding planner does.
“We work with the couple (or just the bride or the groom) as their support system during the wedding adventure. We’re the best friend you always wished you had when you needed that friend the most,” she said, noting that she and her team have done everything from catching a wedding cake midair to breaking up heated arguments.
Writing vows, dress shopping, squashing drama — you name it, Glantz has done it. Bridesmaid for Hire even offers wedding vent sessions for $200 if you need a one-hour call to just get it all out there.
“In addition, if we’re there for your big day, our number one goal is to make sure you and your guests, are stress-free,” she said. “Hand us over your to-do list and your worries. We’re ready for it all!”
Glantz’s unique gig usually starts with Zoom calls with a bride-to-be to answer any questions, practice their backstory and address any anticipated challenges. She may try on bridesmaid dresses, write maid of honor speeches and film TikTok videos to help with audience engagement.
Come showtime, Glantz has an early morning wake-up before she greets the bride, does a coffee run, then helps manage the other bridesmaids, deals with issues as they arise, takes photos with the bridal party, dances at the reception, runs errands for the bride, gives the maid of honor speech and the like.
“Consider us your personal assistant, on-call therapist, social director — and peacekeeper,” she said.
All this fairy work will cost you, of course, but given the price of weddings, what’s another $2,499 — the starting price of her wedding helper package, which includes six prewedding phone sessions, virtual wedding tools, coordination with vendors, day-of timeline, six hours of wedding-day support and email support.
If jumping into entrepreneurial life sounds attractive to you, Glantz believes that all of the skills you’re acquiring at your current job, past odd jobs or even side hustles can serve you well.
“After I graduated college with a degree in English, I had no idea what to do next, so I just did…anything. I worked as a traveling consultant for a sorority, as a magazine assistant, as a p.r. associate and as a copywriter,” she recalled. “When I started Bridesmaid for Hire, I realized I was pulling skills from all of these jobs.”
Along the way, Glantz has also learned the importance of rejection firsthand. “Rejection is a step forward. Rather than take rejection personally, I always asked myself a series of questions: What can I fix about my ‘ask’ now, what can I start doing now to get better in the future, and with what can I follow-up to the ‘no response?’” she explained.
For those looking to break into the wedding industry, Glantz has some helpful guidelines.
Match your skills
“There are so many transferable skills you can pull into starting a business in the wedding industry,” Glantz said. Once you know your Top 10 skills, strengths or personality traits, you can start to see what value you bring, and how you can differentiate your business and services.
Find your competitive edge
“The world doesn’t need another wedding business, but it needs another wedding business that does something different, better and more modern,” she added. “Search for a handful of competitors out there and do an analysis of what they do well, what value they provide and how you can revamp their entire business plan.”
Get good at social media
One of the best free marketing tools in 2022 is the power of social media, especially Instagram and TikTok. “Invest in learning how to use these platforms and engage your audience on these platforms,” said Glantz. “It can help you generate free business.”