Brides, meet the secret weapon you never knew you needed — the bridesmaid for hire.
If wedding bells are ringing, Jen Glantz would love to be there. The New Yorker has an extraordinary full-time gig, running a business called Bridesmaid for Hire. After launching the company in 2014, Glantz has worked hundreds of weddings all over the country and received over 50,000 applications for an elite squad of “professional” bridesmaids, stationed all over the U.S.
In conversation with Fox News, the insider discussed how the coronavirus pandemic may transform the wedding industry forever, and shared her advice for couples planning nuptials during this hectic time. Plus, she's revealing the most common reasons people seek her help, plus the craziest request she’s ever gotten on the big day. (Hint: People get cold feet all the time!)
FOX NEWS: While 2020 has been a year unlike any other, people still want to say “I do.” How do you think the pandemic will change the wedding industry?
Jen Glantz: I think there will be a lot of good that comes from this, in three different categories: money, personalization and duration.
Weddings are infamous for their price tag, and I think couples post-pandemic will pay a little bit more attention to how much things cost and plan weddings on a much smaller budget, because I think the size and scale of weddings will look much different in the future.
I also think that weddings will be a bit more personalized. What I mean by that is maybe not conforming to every tradition, but making the party look and feel more like what the couple wants, and less like how a wedding would in a bridal magazine.
Weddings are [likely] going to become more than just one-day affairs, and I think that’s good, because you are celebrating two people joining their lives together. I think weddings are going to become weekends, more than just an eight-hour party.
FOX: As the pandemic continues, is it more popular for people to postpone their original wedding plans for a future date, or tie the knot now with a smaller ceremony?
Glantz: I think earlier this year, couples who were supposed to get married in 2020 had to make a very fast decision, and what they did was just automatically say, “We’re going to postpone.” So at first, there were a lot of postponements.
But because the coronavirus is so unknown, and for some, the idea of pushing it to 2021… to cancel it, has made people who were originally in the postponement category say, “OK, let’s just do a mini-wedding or an elopement or something smaller, now.”
I’ve seen that trend of postponing to eloping and I think that’s going to happen more and more, as people just want to get married.
FOX: What advice do you have for couples planning nuptials during this time?
Glantz: Go digital! Have a website, maybe an email newsletter where you can update your guests digitally. That way you don’t have to invest in new invitations and save-the-dates, especially with so much unknown.
Really try to review contracts with wedding vendors, where this is a refund policy or a postponement policy. Hold onto your money and try to sign contracts that have flexibility.
Finally, abandon all previous wedding plans you have! That isn’t to say, don’t have your dream wedding, but be open to it looking different, which I think is a good thing.
To be honest with you, [before the pandemic] people were planning weddings that just looked like everyone else’s, that they didn’t really want. Now, with so many changes happening, I think people are warming up to the idea of planning a different kind of wedding they never thought they wanted, but they end up being really happy with it. Keep an open mind, and maybe that open mind has your plans looking very different.
FOX: How can people be supportive guests as the pandemic continues?
Glantz: Remember that the couple is going through an immense amount of stress. Planning a wedding without a pandemic is stressful, but now, with the urge of having to postpone and the uncertainty – there’s a lot of stress.
As a guest, try to limit your communication and concerns with the couple. Try to only check in with them with positivity, with encouragement. If you’re close with the couple, maybe send them a letter, card or gift in the mail. I think a lot of people who are guests want to unload their frustration or concerns onto the couple, but the couple knows, and they’re trying to work with it. So as a guest, try to support with encouragement and positivity.
FOX: How would you define the mission of Bridesmaid for Hire?
Glantz: I would say that we are a support system. We are the personal assistant, we are the social director, the on-call therapist. We are doing the role that your good friend would do if you don’t have a good friend, or your good friends are just really busy.
FOX: How many employees do you have? Where are they?
Glantz: I’ve had 50,000 people apply to work for the company. It’s a job that a lot of people think they want to have. I have, at any time, between five and 10 people who will work weddings, stationed all over the country, and we travel. This year has been a little weird, but normally we would travel to weddings all over the country.
FOX: What are the duties of a bridesmaid-for-hire?
Glantz: We’ll do everything like making sure the bride has everything she needs, getting ready with her, making sure she feels confident in her dress, helping her with her vows, walking down the aisle with her, and making sure the party gets started, like starting off the dance floor. Also handling the emotions, like cold feet, or fights within the wedding party.
We also deal with pop-up problems like wedding crashers, and making sure that the people getting married have that support that they need.
It’s different than a wedding planner. We don’t set up the wedding, we don’t plan the flowers. It’s a people-oriented job, so we are there to support the people on what’s supposedly the biggest day of their life.
FOX: Why do people generally use your service?
Glatnz: There’s two main reasons. The first is that they don’t have any close friends, which I know sounds bad, but I read somewhere that 1 in 4 people don’t have a close friend. So they’ll contact us to just be there with them, to help them not feel alone. This has been popular in the pandemic, especially for brides or people who don’t have any close friends in the local city, or can’t get there in time. We’ve done socially distant weddings where we are the only people there as the friend.
We also work with people who have a lot of friends, but their friends are a lot to handle. And maybe they just are not the best friends to be bridesmaids. We will work with people who have six bridesmaids, but need somebody there to step in and really just make sure that things are going smoothly.
FOX: How many weddings have you worked?
Glantz: I have worked with over 100 different people getting married. As a business in total, we have worked over 200 weddings.
FOX: What’s the craziest request you’ve ever gotten?
Glantz: Oh my goodness, I’ve had so many. My favorite story is that I worked a wedding in Staten Island, and five minutes before the person was supposed to get married, she pulls me in a room and tells me she doesn’t like the groom and that she doesn’t want to do this. Cold feet is real, and I support people all the time who suddenly realize right before the wedding they don’t want to get married and they have no one else to admit that to.
They’re scared to tell a friend or family member because they’re scared to be judged. I’m in the position that I don’t care if you walk down the aisle or not, my job is to make sure you are supported. So that has been a really popular request.
I’ve also had to deal with wedding crashers, a missing groom, and a lot of things like that! If you think about it, there’s nobody in the wedding industry whose job it is to handle those situations.