What if we were to tell you that not everyone at a wedding is who they seem?
Jen Glantz makes it her business to fool attendees that she is a close friend of the wedding party. As founder and CEO of Bridesmaid for Hire, Glantz is the latest addition to a booming U.S. wedding industry that is expected to reach $75.6 billion over the past 5 years into 2019 and has over a million employees.
“I don't consider bridesmaid for hire to be an odd job,” the 31-year old, who has worked at weddings all across the country from Las Vegas to New York, told Yahoo Finance (video above). “I think it's something that should have existed years ago and it's going to continue to exist for many more years to come.”
If everything goes according to plan, Glantz will have convinced everyone attending that she is the bride or groom’s close friend from high school, grad school, an art class, or yoga class. As she masquerades around the wedding, Glantz makes it her prerogative to aid the bride or groom with dealing with the pressures of the occasion.
“There is honestly no more of a challenging day than the day you're getting married,” she said.
Becoming a bridesmaid
Back in 2012, Glantz found herself bridesmaiding wedding after wedding for various friends. One night, two of her close friends asked her to attend their wedding once again as their bridesmaid. The problem? They were getting married on the same day to different people.
“I thought to myself, ‘I've been a bridesmaid almost a dozen times now. This is crazy,’” said Glantz, who told Yahoo Finance that her roommate at the time jokingly said she had become a professional bridesmaid. “Which made me think, ‘If I could do this again and again and again from my friends, why couldn't I make this into a business?’”
Armed with the idea and her laptop, she posted her bridesmaiding services on Craigslist. The posting promised that she would walk down the aisle with any bride or groom, dance on the dance floor with awkward guests, and even help a bride pee in a wedding dress. Within 24 hours, the author of “All my Friends are Engaged” received hundreds of job offers and requests for her services.
Not long afterwards, she hopped on a plane to Maple Grove, Minnesota, to help a bride-to-be who had just fired her maid of honor.
“When I first started this business and the Craigslist ad went viral, I was so scared to tell my mom,” Glantz said. “But the moment I called her to tell her she was so excited.”
Keeping up the ruse
So far, Bridesmaid for Hire has entrenched itself as a financially strong niche business. Along with an initial in-person package that starts around $1,500, employers will pay for her lodging, travel, and dress. (Glantz noted that she has over 50 stored in garbage bags at home.)
Once at work, there are three essential steps Glantz follows with each bride or groom she works with. Step one: backstory. In order to avoid people knowing she is a paid friend among real friends, it is necessary for Glantz to insert herself in her employer’s past life. Next, Glantz needs to change her name.
“I don't want anyone to search for me, anyone to find me,” she said. “There is no social media for my fake persona.”
Finally, before the wedding, Glantz meets her employer and spends quality time with her so that they can establish a strong rapport to make the fake friendship a little more real. That will include knowing things like what their favorite colors are as well shopping for bridal dresses.
According to Glantz, there has been only one time when one of her bridesmaid operations was uncovered. One mother pulled out the old high school yearbook and could not find the alias Glantz provided nor her picture.
“The daughter confessed, but the problem was I didn't know that the mother knew,” she told Yahoo Finance, adding that the mother kept glaring at her throughout the wedding ceremony. “That situation was completely awkward, but luckily I've never had to see them again. I made it out in the clear.”
Producer Ignazio Monda created this video feature.