The Real '27 Dresses': How Jen Glantz Became A Professional Bridesmaid
The role of a bridesmaid can feel like a full-time job -- a full-time job you pay for, that is.
Most of us endure it; we suck it up. We smile big, stick out our skinny arms and pose for the group shots. We conceal our frustration with heart emoji right up until the moment the bride says, “I do.”
This is all true for most bridesmaids, but most bridesmaids aren't Jen Glantz.
Recently featured on "The Elite Daily Show," Glantz, aka Bridesmaid For Hire, discovered her talent for holding it down as a bridesmaid early on. She wasn't just really good at being one member of the bride's posse, she was a pro.
Her skills may be accredited to her first job as a professional sorority girl -- yeah, that's a thing.
Of the post-college gig, she says,
I had to travel from college to college and work with sorority girls, so that kind of prepped me for the whole business.
It makes sense: Isn't being in a wedding party a lot like rushing a sorority?
Instead of getting hazed with late-night scavenger hunts (and other things I cannot reveal on behalf of Alpha Epsilon Phi's Beta Alpha chapter at Emerson College), however, bridesmaid hazing comes in the form of paying your dues.
Said dues include wearing an unflattering dress, spending half of your paycheck on penis party favors and throwing back more rounds of tequila shots than you ever need -- not to mention responding to every text message and e-mail from the Bridezilla, regardless of the hour.
It is called a “bridesmaid,” not a “brides-friend,” after all.
Jen was so great at being a bridesmaid, it got to the point where she was asked to be a bridesmaid not once, but twice, on the same day.
She found herself muttering, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” as she washed down her fourth slice of pizza with a bottle of Two Buck Chuck.
Her roommate (and pizza-gorging counterpart) joked with Jen about being so in-demand, calling her a “professional bridesmaid.”
Jen laughed it off at first, but then a lightbulb went off.
She turned to Craigslist to test-drive what she thought would be a money-maker, like most of us do in drunken, desperate times.
But, instead of doing something ridiculous like buying a life-size Jonathan Taylor Thomas cutout you completely forget about until it arrives at your apartment a week later (who does that?), Jen posted an ad: "Professional Bridesmaid."
Two days later, the ad went viral, and Jen had hundreds of responses from all over the world.
So began her journey to Bridesmaid For Hire.
Now, you may be wondering, "Who are these brides who hire bridesmaids? Have they no friends? Do they hate women?"
Actually, it's quite the opposite. Jen explains,
They tend to be brides that don't want to burden their friends with the time and money that goes into being a bridesmaid, and want professional help.
In other words, these women are angels among us.
The origin of bridesmaids dates back to when women were considered "property." The father of the bride would pay a dowry (money to essentially take his daughter off his hands) to the groom.
The money would be strapped onto the bride, underneath her white wedding gown. Because thieves were aware of the dowry, they would try to steal the bride.
This is where bridesmaids came in.
OG bridesmaids would dress like the bride, essentially acting as decoys to protect her from the thieves; they literally risked their lives for her.
So stop crying about how unflattering your peach dress is -- it could be worse.
While Jen has never been a decoy, she has had to handle a great deal of dirty work as a professional bridesmaid. She says,
I had to take off my strapless bra and give it to the mother of the bride once. I had to touch poison ivy for the sake of a picture. I did a wedding outdoors once and down the aisle there was animal droppings. I had to scoop up the droppings with my bare hands for the wedding. I'm still grossed out.
Jen provides an immeasurable service to the bride and the family, working up to 18 months before the wedding and helping with every wedding detail.
Not to be misguided, Bridesmaid For Hire is not a "rent a best friend” business. Jen is the bride's personal assistant, on-call therapist, social director and peacekeeper; she ensures everyone is having a good time and no punches are being thrown.
She also works with brides virtually, behind the scenes and, often, right at the altar as a true bridesmaid does.
Of course, it's not always easy; after all, weddings can be stressful. Of the struggles, Jen says,
You can't blame a bride, or mother of the bride, when they go a little bonkers. There's a lot of emotion, stress and pressure that's sprinkled on top of a wedding day. But that's what I'm hired for: I'm their human Xanax.
Sometimes, Jen's job is kept a secret from the bride's family. She explains,
But, sometimes, they do know and, of course, they look at me like, 'Why is she here? Why did she hire her?' When they realize I'm there to do the dirty work so they can get to the bar faster, they're often like, 'Oh my God, thank God she was hired, and thank God she is here.'
Jen's clientele base is steadily growing, even now that we're out of "wedding season."
She explains how she's become more selective of clients, saying,
If you e-mail me and say, 'I want five girls all 5'7” and skinny,' I'm going to say no. I'm not a modeling service.
One would think Jen's life is like the real "27 Dresses" and she's Katherine Heigl. To some extent, it is -- minus the hunky romantic interest.
When asked about the chances of meeting a great single guy at a wedding, Jen says,
Most of the guys I meet are 65-year-old drunk uncles who grab my hand and twirl me around on the dance floor. I don't think weddings are a wonderful place to meet guys or find love. They are a place to enjoy the open bar and the dance floor. I'd rather go to a wedding and score an extra piece of cake at the end of the night. But maybe that's why I'm still single!
I feel you, Jen. Most people at weddings are usually taken or weird -- judging by the one wedding I attended.
Still, Jen's mom (and number one supporter) is hopeful her daughter will meet “Mr. Forever” at a wedding.
I'm also optimistic for Jen. She's one of those people you feel like you've known forever when you talk to her -- which is either a sorority thing, or an inherent trait that explains why she's so good at her job.
Bridesmaid For Hire is ever-growing. Jen currently has a team of three professional bridesmaids and two interns -- a select five employees out of 5,000 people who have applied to work for her.
For more information on Jen Glantz and her work, check out BridesmaidForHire.com.
Download Verizon's go90 app for free to watch the full episode, 'Professional Bridesmaid,' on "The Elite Daily Show!"