We all enjoy a good wedding but Jen Glantz loves them so much she’s decided to make a living out of other people’s special days – as the world’s first professional bridesmaid.
The 26-year-old came up with the idea after performing the duty at all her friends’ weddings.
She proved so good at it that she decided to offer up her services to strangers.
For a small fee, Jen promises to get guests dancing as well as help write the speeches - she’ll even lift the bride’s dress when she needs to go the loo.
And far from thinking it’s a crazy idea, brides-to-be all over the world are desperate to make Jen a part of their big day – even though they’ve never met her.
“I’ve always loved weddings and I love being a part of them,” says the New Yorker.
“My favourite thing is watching the bride go down the aisle. It’s the moment she’s been building up to over a mad year of planning, rehearsals, the bridal shower and the hen do.
“It’s such a lovely moment and it’s such a wonderful feeling to be part of that.”
She adds: “I think there’s something so special about two people promising to spend their lives together – I love witnessing that first hand.”
Jen started by advertising her services on classifieds website Craigslist and within a just a few hours she was inundated with messages.
“I said I could help carry the bride’s dress and lift it when she needs to do things like go to the bathroom,” explains Jen.
“My services also included filling the dance floor as well as planning the hen do and the bridal shower.
“Right after I posted the ad my inbox blew up and it was crazy.
“I received responses from women in the UK, Australia, Vietnam, Turkey and Israel.”
Jen admits she was taken aback by the huge demand.
“There were so many reasons for having a professional bridesmaid,” she explains.
“Some said their friends weren’t very good at helping to plan the big day, others said their best friends were too far away to come to their wedding.
“Some people just didn’t have any close friends.”
She adds: “I was pretty shocked – I thought people would think I was crazy but women seem to really like the idea.
“It’s the men who think I’m mad. They don’t really know what goes in to being a bridesmaid and what hard work it actually is but I hope this will educate them.”
Name your price
Jen, who has been a bridesmaid three times for friends and family, currently has two weddings booked in September this year with total strangers in New York who are paying her expenses – including travel and the dress.
But she has yet to set a price for a day of bridesmaid duties.
She says: “It’s all a matter of what the budget is and what the couple can pay me.
“I don’t think having a professional bridesmaid should necessarily be expensive and I want to be able to work with all sorts of budgets.”
As business booms, her surreal line of work has been compared to the rom-com 27 Dresses, in which actress Katherine Heigl plays a woman who acts as a bridesmaid 27 times.
“A lot of people say my life is very much like the film,” she says.
“My wardrobe is pretty full at the moment but I can see it being overrun with bridesmaid dresses in all colours and shapes.”
Catching the bouquet
Jen hopes that attending more weddings will increase her chance of finding Mr Right – much to the delight of her mum.
“I’m always trying to catch the bouquet,” she says. “I am quite shy with guys and I’ve never been close to going down the aisle myself.
“My mum says I’ll be able to meet eligible groomsmen at all these weddings and she’s thrilled.
“I really would like to find my own Mr Right – I hope it’s not a case of always the bridesmaid, never the bride.”
Video credit: Barcroft