First comes love, then the proposal, then the nightmare of wedding planning. But brides — and grooms — no longer need to bear the burden of planning on their own. Copy editor by day and professional bridesmaid by night, Jen Glantz is the “gal pal you never knew you needed.” Glantz turned her experience as a bridesmaid for her friends into a business venture with Bridesmaid for Hire.
Glantz, 26, first made headlines in July 2014 when she posted an ad on Craigslist for her services and received hundreds of responses from brides around the world. Since then she’s put two weddings under her belt and is swiftly booking up through 2017. She’s expanding so fast, in fact, that she’s looking to hire other bridesmaids to tackle more weddings.
With four packages ranging from $300 to $1,000, Glantz will help you check off your massive to-do list, be the bridesmaid by your side and even serve as an undercover bridesmaid for the maid of honor.
It certainly looks like Hollywood had the same idea with the Josh Gad and Kevin Hart comedy “The Wedding Ringer.” In it, Gad’s character hires Hart as the ultimate fake groomsman for his upcoming nuptials.
A native of Boca Raton, Florida, Glantz moved to New York three years ago and now works at an advertising tech startup. Her 2013 e-book “All My Friends Are Engaged” is a collection of Glantz’s dating disaster stories and advice for single women everywhere.
The Forward’s Martyna Starosta and Maia Efrem caught up with Glantz about stressed-out brides, the impact of social media on weddings and surviving the happiest day of your life.
Martyna Starosta: It seemed like you stepped into a niche that nobody had thought about. Why were people so responsive?
Jen Glantz: I think this idea hits such a big nerve for a couple of reasons. First, because there’s nothing else like it. Sure, there’s a wedding planner. [But] her job is to focus on things. She doesn’t have much time to focus on actual people and meeting the bride and her bridesmaids and maybe even the mother of the bride. I also think it generated a huge response because you can have the greatest friends in the entire world, but it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be excellent bridesmaids, and it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be able to provide the support emotionally and also physically that you might need as a bride.
Do you feel that you get more respect now as a professional bridesmaid than before?
As a professional bridesmaid now, sometimes you get a little bit less respect because these people are hiring you. They are paying you, so they feel as though they can dump all of their problems, all of their stress, all of their challenges on you. It is a very, very tough job, and I think oftentimes brides do demand a lot. My role is to step in and take away those little tasks that the bridesmaid might have to do. I’m there to do the dirty work so that you and your bridesmaids could actually have the time of your life.
How do you set boundaries with your brides?
Setting boundaries is a big part of figuring out the business; it’s something that I had to learn through a lot of trial and error. What I do now is, every package has the amount of phone calls that we have and we’ll chat on the phone about anything you want. It’s mostly about your to-do list and challenges and things of that nature. From then on, the rest of the week we can correspond through e-mail, and that makes it a lot easier to set boundaries.
What is a bride’s most stressful part of planning?
The most stressful thing is the amount of pressure that you feel. You find so much pressure on top of you to make that party amazing for all of your guests. Because of that, you simply don’t get the chance to actually enjoy it. I think leading up to your wedding as a bride you just feel [so much] stress that you hope and that you pray everything is going to be perfect.
Where does the wedding craziness come from? Why is it still such a big deal?
I think wedding craziness is at its peak because of social media and the Internet. We’re always comparing everything we do to what everyone else is doing. We always want it to be as good or better. Maybe before, 20 years ago, we didn’t have the Internet to compare and contrast, but now we do. A simple, tiny wedding that we used to dream of now becomes a couple hundred thousand dollar wedding that’s beyond our budget and beyond what we actually want, but that we think we want because the Internet and social media tells us that’s what’s in, and that’s what’s trending.
What is the advice that you give the most to your brides?
My advice for all brides is to close your eyes and remember when you were 10 years old, what was your ideal wedding. I promise you what you thought of when you were 10 or 11 years old is truly what you want and that’s what we’re going to plan, and that’s what we’re going to execute for you.
You said you advocate women being their own boss? Tell me more.
I am a big advocate for women being their own boss and for taking total control over their lives, and for doing what they want to do. Even if you have a wild idea inside of your head, do yourself a favor: Don’t tell anyone about it, pursue it and do it. Let people call you crazy, and let people tell you that it’s not going to work. Do something with it. It’ll be the most empowering and amazing feeling you will ever feel.
This interview has been edited for style and length.