As far as fleeting business ideas are concerned, it’s a golden one.
Since deciding to set up Bridesmaid For Hire on a whim three years ago, Jen Glantz has been inundated with requests from beleaguered brides.
She now charges from $1,200 (£900) a go, giving “virtual” support to brides-to-be before their big day, and has just released a book about her colourful vocation titled Always A Bridesmaid (For Hire).
As Stylist reported 18 months ago, Glantz began her business venture with a Craigslist advert, offering to do everything from holding up “the 18 layers of your dress so that you can pee with ease” to making sure “bridesmaid #4 buys her dress on time and doesn't show up 3 hours late the day of the wedding or paint her nails lime green”.
The 28-year-old Florida native decided to market her skills after being asked to be a bridesmaid twice in the space of 48 hours.
Landing upon a lucrative and untapped corner of the wedding market, business quickly boomed – so much so, that Glantz had full-time work after being made redundant from her 9 to 5 job as a copywriter in 2015.
She now charges £1,500 for a package that includes comprehensive pre-wedding help, hen party planning and walking down the aisle with the bride in question.
A host of smaller services include a tutorial video for bridesmaids (£27), a Skype session where maids of honour can get their burning questions answered (£272) and a bridesmaid speech-writing guide (starting from £136).
“I’m a mix of on-call therapist, virtual assistant, social director and peacekeeper,” Glantz tells the Telegraph, in a new interview. “I do the bridesmaids’ dirty work – and I love it.”
In her role as the go-to fixer, Glantz must sort all manner of wedding day quandaries. One memorable occasion even saw her give her strapless bra to the mother of the bride, who had forgotten her own.
“I wrapped duct tape around my chest,” she says. “I can’t claim it was very comfortable but we got through it.”
Glantz insists her services are not for brides who lack friends, but rather women who require extra support on their big day – or someone to coordinate and ensure the smooth running of everything.
Nevertheless, she often goes incognito for brides who don’t want other people to know she’s a bridesmaid for hire.
“Sometimes I can have two different names and two different stories [if I have two weddings] on the same weekend,” Glantz says.
As well as providing practical support, it’s unsurprising at a time when feelings are running high that Glantz is often called upon as a confidante and shoulder to cry on, too.
“I deal with cold feet all the time,” she says. “Some people realise right before they’re about to get married that it is to the wrong person, but others are just caught up with nerves. There’s so much pressure for it to be perfect that people feel all these emotions and some of them are misplaced.”
If paying for something that should come free via your loved ones seems extreme, Glantz’s website testimonials show just how valued she is as a professional bridesmaid.
“One of my Maids of Honor personally told me after the wedding how much pressure and stress it took off her being able to work with Jen,” writes one bride. “That meant a lot to me that the people I love the most got to enjoy the party. I was stress-free and happy, because my friends were stress-free and happy.”
“On the day of the wedding itself, Jen showed up before anyone else,” another happy client says. “She made sure the flowers were there and set up on time, she supervised the venue staff, and helped the harpist set up. Once we arrived, she was an invaluable asset. She made an ATM run when we realized we didn’t have enough tip money, she helped with clothing, hair and makeup, and she did it all with a refreshing, calm, composed and friendly demeanor.”
“Hiring Jen was one of the best wedding investments we made. I am so happy I was able to relax and enjoy my wedding – it was the most perfect day,” reads another review.
As for Glantz herself – it seems she’s not yet totally sold on the romantic aspect of weddings.
“Ninety per cent of the brides I work with wish they had eloped,” she tells the Telegraph. “Weddings are not the best time of your life. They’re the most chaotic. I want to have a very simple party with pizza and a band.”
Photos: Bridesmaid For Hire website/Jen Glantz