I recently made a joke about how – as a writer often paid by the word – I should charge my loved ones per WhatsApp message. It was an unpopular idea, so I can tell you pretty definitively what the reaction would be like if I started invoicing for my bridesmaid skills. But that’s what Jen Glantz does. The 27-year-old New York native is a ‘professional bridesmaid’ and last week her 27 Dresses-themed life went viral. She attends weddings all over the US – recently two in 24 hours, 600 miles apart. Charging up to $1,000, she helps brides plan their day and then actively participates, walking them down the aisle, posing for photos, making toasts and – I’m guessing– flirting with drunk Uncle Des. She’s been involved in 30 weddings in the last year, which makes my head spin because I’m currently planning three hen dos and it’s like having a second job that starts at 6am (the time some of my WhatsApps start coming in, I kid you not). And I’ve already been to dos in Nottingham and Ibiza this summer. In fact, I’ve been a bridesmaid for five years in a row.
And you know what? It’s wonderful. I’m so grateful that I have amazing friends who want me to be part of their big day. But in among the wonderful is the total life-draining exhaustion.There’s the bride-nurturing: dress shopping, analysing themes on her Pinterest boards that, on closer inspection, date back to way before she met The One. Agreeing when they declare, ‘I know everyone says this, but you really can wear this bridesmaid dress again!’ Hen do planning: navigating hordes of women – many of whom you don’t know – booking hotels, flights, activities; constantly chasing said women for money; sending never-ending texts about whether 35 people can fit on a boat and whether a boat is a good idea since Lynn gets sooo drunk. On the day itself, I’ve done readings, speeches, been assigned awkward family members (shout out again to Uncle Des) and held countless dresses up over toilets. My friend Lyndsey even made me sing (we’re still not cool, Lynds). It is the biggest day of anyone’s life, and making sure you don’t ruin it is a lot of pressure.
But even though I get what Glantz is doing, and even though it seems like I just complained a lot, I still wouldn’t change things. Not in a million years. I’m so proud to have been a part of those big days and I’ve cry-screamed every time I’ve been asked. I know it’ll be worth the effort because being a bridesmaid is a lovely privilege. So if any of my brides are reading this, I’m forever grateful and you don’t have to pay me. But a tip might be nice, huh?