Jen Glantz kept being asked to be a bridesmaid over and over again. She had seen and heard it all: the not-so-funny best man speeches, family drama, dress malfunctions, the works! She also became all too familiar with frustrated and stressed brides and bridesmaids, and all the tension that comes along with that. But rather than throwing in the towel, Jen decided to do something about it.
1. Young Professional
In 2014, 26-year-old Floridian Jen Glantz was doing very well for herself. She had accomplished a double major with a degree in both English and journalism, and was gainfully employed as a script writer for videos, which were being bought by big name companies such as Disney and Target. It was a comfortable lifestyle, and an enriching one.
But despite her obvious successes, something kept happening to her in her personal life over and over again, out of her control. And she was about to react to it in a way that would completely and utterly change her luck — as well as her outlook on life.
2. Mighty With The Pen
Ever since she was a little girl, Jen had possessed a passion for writing, whether it was on a stray napkin or even on the walls of her childhood home. In her spare time as a working adult, she made sure to keep herself busy writing blogs or books.
It was this drive that was going to help her think outside the box when faced with an unusual life circumstance. Jen’s friends kept on getting married, and she herself was invited time and time again to participate as a bridesmaid. It would be an honor for most women, but for Jen it became way over the top. And eventually, it became the catalyst for something very unexpected.
3. Always A Bridesmaid
Jen ended up serving as a bridesmaid at four different weddings in one year. It didn’t stop there, though: by the summer of 2014, Jen attended a friend’s wedding as a bridesmaid — for the sixth time. All her friends had been getting engaged one by one, so she made new friends. But, as fate would have it, the same thing happened to them!
Her roommate couldn’t help but joke with her about it, and unknowingly set something huge in motion. Kidding around with her, she dubbed Jen ‘the professional bridesmaid’ as a result. Jen laughed with her, but in her head, the wheels were turning.
4. Speaking From Experience
Still, for all its inconveniences, constantly serving as a bridesmaid for her friends had taught Jen something valuable. All of her many experiences as a bridesmaid had given Jen a truly detailed and intimate insight into what’s really going on behind the scenes at weddings.
She now knew all the ins and outs of their production that the vast majority of guests don’t necessarily see. Through her many times as a bridesmaid, Jen noticed that there was one key role missing from the entire experience, something overlooked that could help improve the flow of the day and ease the bride’s stress.
5. A Niche Unfilled
While there are many key figures assigned with special tasks on the day of a bride’s wedding, Jen noticed that there was still one large niche that remained open. Although theoretically a wedding planner ought to have covered most needs, she had observed that they focused largely on decor and setup, the logistics of a wedding — not the bride’s own needs.
What’s more, her fellow bridesmaids were more often than not worrying about their own outfits and trying to look perfect for pictures. That meant the bride was, shockingly enough, often left quite alone, overwhelmed with stress and unable to share her emotions with someone. Jen knew how she could help.
6. A Genius Plan
Inspired by her roommate’s nickname for her, Jen wondered: what if there was another way to make a profit from participating in a wedding while simultaneously putting her skills to work? She could fill the perhaps unusual niche that she had identified, to work as a hired bridesmaid.
To do so would mean covering the bridal responsibilities that the real bridesmaids and the wedding planner weren’t fulfilling, which had caused them to fall between the cracks. Jen could help brides better enjoy their special day — and make a side job for herself in the meantime. So she did something her mother had always told her not to do.
7. Giant Steps
Jen was curious to see what kind of traction her idea might generate. So, testing the waters, she posted an ad on Craigslist for her services as a professional bridesmaid. Her years of working as a scriptwriter meant she effortlessly drafted a tongue-in-cheek post that was both funny and appealing.
Her past stints diving into the chaotic world of being a bridesmaid meant she had seen some rough, if comical, situations. Based on that, she offered to be there for brides whose girlfriends were too busy wining and dining, and presented herself as someone who knows precisely what she’s doing. Then, she went to bed — not imagining what was about to happen.
8. Craigslist Sensation
When Jen Glantz woke up the morning after posting the offer of her services as a professional bridesmaid, she went eagerly to open her inbox, curious to see if her Craigslist ad had generated any responses. After all, given the tone, there was the full likelihood that people had merely found it amusing and nothing more.
But what was awaiting Jen left her absolutely floored. She had expected at least a couple of responses, but to her surprise, more than 250 emails awaited her in her inbox. And if she had thought that was a lot, what would happen next would leave her head spinning.
9. Taking Off
It looked like Jen’s ingenious idea had truly struck a chord, and a massive amount of people were taking notice. What had begun as a humorous query was spreading rapidly like wildfire. By the end of the week after her initial Craigslist post, Jen had to sift through thousands of different messages that had completely inundated her inbox.
The problem was, however, that she couldn’t immediately launch herself into an entirely new profession. After all, she was gainfully employed already. But that wasn’t about to stop Jen from pursuing this novel idea. And what she was about to do would be like something straight out of a movie.
10. Taking It Mainstream
Jen was not dissatisfied with her job. She enjoyed the company of the people she was working with, and the work itself was stimulating and interesting. However, she couldn’t escape the continually gnawing feeling that it simply was not enough. Her bridesmaid idea could be precisely the break she needed.
Emboldened by the strong responses to her Craigslist ad, Jen reached out to her brother and discussed partnering to take her wild idea off of the drawing board and into the real world. Together, they founded a brand-new company. Bridesmaid for Hire was born. Now, it was time to start answering some of the requests.
11. First Gig
Even if being a bride herself was nowhere on the horizon for the time being, Jen Glantz had now positioned herself in a way to help those who were. In July 2014, Jen officially booked with her first client, a soon-to-be bride called Ashley who hailed from Minnesota.
In a mere matter of weeks after her original Craigslist post had generated so much traction, Jen was already facing an actual gig, with a real-life bride who needed her help. It was a crazy idea, and she went for it. Together, they began to work long-distance. And Ashley’s reason for reaching out was painful.
12. A Bride In Need
In Ashley’s case, it was not that there was a role that had to be filled that the bridesmaids and wedding planner couldn’t cover: it was even more urgent. Jen’s new client, Ashley, was in an unfortunate situation that had been dropped upon her just a few weeks before her wedding.
The process leading up to a wedding is often fraught with behind-the-scenes drama, and this case was no exception. Ashley had unfortunately needed to fire her maid of honor, leaving Ashley in need of plenty of support for her big day. That was precisely the service that Jen was ready to provide. But how would it be with a total stranger?
13. Ironing It Out
Jen had now taken her wild idea and fully committed to carrying it out. She was excited to begin her work, and now she had a woman depending on her to make sure the biggest and possibly most stressful day of her life would go smoothly. For starters, she would have to get a crash course on who her client was, getting to know her as well as she could.
Every week leading up to Ashley’s wedding, Ashley and Jen spoke on the phone to synchronize and make plans. After two months of preparation, Jen took time off from work and flew out to Minnesota to be with Ashley for her wedding. How would it work out?
14. First Success
To her joy and some surprise, Jen’s services as a professional bridesmaid were greatly appreciated. Ashley’s wedding went off without a hitch, confirming the idea that this was a business venture worth pursuing. Thrilled by the outcome, Jen opted to continue with it.
She began to outline different packages that she could offer for brides, allocating prices to each package deal. The prices ranged from $300 to $2,000, depending on how deep a level of involvement Jen would have to perform. Now, she began answering some of the other requests — although that would require some big changes on her part.
15. Make Way For The Bridesmaid
Because Jen was juggling her normal day job as a script writer, along with this new exciting side job as a professional bridesmaid, it meant a total shifting of her daily schedule. She now had to wake up at 6AM, plan the weddings until 9AM — and only then go to her day job and work a full day.
Jen would then return home in the evening between 6PM and 7PM, but she had no time to put her feet up and relax, because she launched herself right back into her wedding planning job until bedtime around midnight. It was a grueling schedule. Would she be able to keep up with it?
16. New Beginnings
Transforming her idea of being a professional bridesmaid into an actual job not only required focus and expertise from Jen, but also discipline. Many people would not be able to fall in line with this rough daily regimen, but not Jen. The opposite: she actually thought her new schedule was fantastic.
That special something above her normal routine that she had felt was lacking now seemed to be falling into place. It was the perfect balance between being in charge of her own affairs, and being in a structured environment working for her company. But with her new ambitions came a true downside she didn’t see coming.
17. The Company Takes Off
For the next half a year after Ashley’s wedding, Jen was hired for five different additional weddings. This meant an immense deal of planning, as well as sharpening her capacity for emotional sensitivity, and becoming a true expert at time management.
Naturally, as her new adventure took flight, Jen had to make great compromises in her personal life. While she learned to enjoy the experience of working as a professional bridesmaid, she saw less and less of her friends, and her weekends were practically nonexistent. But soon enough, something would happen to her that was totally out of her control.
18. Fork In The Road
As Jen expanded her side gig as a professional bridesmaid, she planned that eventually she would leave her regular job and transition into her new one. But life threw her a curve ball: in October 2015, Jen was let go from her day job.
There had been rumors going around that there would be layoffs, but she had never imagined that her own name would be included. It came as a total surprise, because her own work had not suffered as a result of her side job. Rather, she had put in extra effort so it wouldn’t interfere. As she stood outside the building of her former job, she made an important choice.
19. Life Changes
On the very morning she was let go from her job as a script writer, Jen made a key decision. Standing outside her former office, she declared she would never work for another boss. She would now be her own boss. Jen called her mom, who reassured her and told her this was the push she had needed.
Had she not been compelled to shift gears, Jen could have been stuck in a stagnant job without the ability to realize her potential. Bridesmaid for Hire was now going to be a full-time occupation. And eventually she’d write a tell-all book revealing her unusual journey. This didn’t mean Jen wouldn’t face other hardships along the way.
20. Full-Time Bridesmaid
Though it was an exciting new chance, the shift to being a full-time professional bridesmaid was nonetheless daunting. Jen had to decide how to restructure her days to fill the void her old job now left open. She was entirely her own boss, and had to be stricter about goals for assignments.
She missed having lunch and just plain hanging out with her former coworkers, and often spent lonesome days at home alone, planning weddings. Jen acquired over 30 different bridesmaid dresses. And the fruits of her labor were tremendous. But what kind of a woman would want to use her services?
21. Breaking Misconceptions
Thankfully, Jen was in no way lacking requests for wedding help — which continues to this day. Jen has traveled the country, offering her services as a professional bridesmaid. There is a misconception about her work: many people have dismissed her as a hire for ‘sad brides without friends.’
But the reality is quite different. Some women just don’t have close friends, and naturally it would be comforting to have someone at their side in this important moment. Additionally, some women just want a professional bridesmaid to help with all the behind the scenes minutia. And it all has an unexpectedly magical outcome.
22. Friends Forever?
While Jen treats this as a profession and is not there on the job explicitly to make friends, thanks to her character and just how immensely helpful she is for her brides, she does end up making friends with the majority of the brides. She even writes on her website that she arrives with the hope they’ll stay friends.
One of the best aspects of her business, setting it apart from the rest, is that she offers a vent session, one-on-one, for frustrated brides to let off steam. Because she’s an impartial third party, neither friend nor family, so many brides feel at ease letting it all out to her. And some of the things she’s heard are only for the brave.
23. What Would You Do?
Jen went into being a professional bridesmaid knowing full well the chaos that can swirl behind the scenes at any given wedding. But some of the situations she encountered were downright outrageous. One bride admitted to Jen that she hated her groom, moments before the service. Jen had to think quickly and make sure they talked it out — and the wedding ended up going on.
As if that wasn’t difficult enough, yet another bride confessed to Jen that she knew her groom was hiding the fact that he was gay. It’s the kind of information that would topple many people in her shoes, but Jen knows how to handle it all. However, what happens if her cover is blown?
24. Master Of Disguise
So inevitably the question has to be asked: what does Jen do if someone asks how she knows the bride? It’s a question she’s been asked so many times, and by now she has prepared a brief, simple response that usually satisfies most people: “We’re friends.” Few people want to press her for further information beyond that.
But most amusing of all, in some cases, is that even the fiancé himself has no idea what’s going on and who this friend of his bride-to-be is, whom he’s never met — let alone that she has been hired and is secretly working a job. After years of diverse and crazy experiences, Jen’s venture has made bank — serious bank.
25. The Bridesmaid Franchise
Jen wants to take her skills and make it into a full-blown international franchise. Over the years, she’s received over 10,000 requests from brides who want to hire her. She’s even flown to two different states in order to participate in two separate weddings in 24 hours. She published a second book, entitled Bridesmaid for Hire. From crash courses for new bridesmaids, to wedding planning, from virtual workshops to consulting — she can do it all.
And what about her own love life? Jen and her boyfriend Adam have packed up and hit the road, living in a new city each month and exploring their own journey together. For now, she’s taking it easy — the more she sees of the wedding industry, the less she wants one of her own!
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