Jen Glantz began her business Bridesmaid For Hire in 2014 after posting an advertisement on Craigslist
When Jen Glantz is hired to be someone's bridesmaid, the 35-year-old does everything a close friend would do. She accompanies the bride dress shopping, plans the bachelorette party and even walks down the aisle on the big day. But the wedding is over, Glantz says goodbye for good.
Glantz began her business Bridesmaid For Hire in 2014. In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, she says the idea came about after her friends and acquaintances kept complimenting her on what a great bridesmaid she was. That's when the Boca Raton, Fl. native got an idea. "If I could do this for people I'm hardly friends with, why not try to do it for strangers?" She recalls thinking.
So, the New York City local posted an advertisement on Craigslist in June 2014 offering her services. To her surprise, it blew up. A few days later her bridesmaid business was up and running.
"There's honestly two reasons people hire me," says Glantz, who's been a bridesmaid in over 200 weddings. "The first is that some people just don't have friends. I know that sounds so weird and odd, but it's the truth. Loneliness is a huge problem right now, and I think people move away from friends and grow apart from them, and they have no one to support them on a big day in their life."
She continues: "The other people are people who have friends and have other bridesmaids, but their bridesmaids are a bit of a mess. They're not supportive. They're all over the place. They're causing drama and they want that professional person to step in and wrangle the troops."
"I think more and more people are using this type of service just because they either want support, they don't have that in their life or they don't want to deal with drama," she adds. "I mean, everybody knows that weddings equal drama, bridesmaids often equal drama and people are sick of that."
Glantz explains that 75% of the people who hire her do it secretly. For this, she'll work with the bride to create a backstory for herself. Oftentimes the bride won't even tell the person they're marrying.
She says: "I'll ask you questions about your life, based on your guest list, we figure out what area of your life won't be represented and how could I fit into that area. So if you have friends coming from high school I can't be a friend from school because they would know."
"So we'll try to find a gap in your life that there's nobody at your wedding who is represented by that gap," she continues. "For example, maybe you studied abroad and nobody in your life knows your study abroad friends. Maybe I could be one of those people."
After the wedding, says there are usually three things that happen between her and the bride. One, they mutually agree to go their separate ways. Two, they stay in touch. Or three, people try to be her friend, but she never wants to see them again. "Either something traumatic happened or weird happened. I'm like, OK the job's done goodbye," she says.
"It depends but I'd say more often than not, it's a mutual goodbye and we're just not friends after but that's because of so many factors. I fake my name and backstory. I can't be integrated into their real life after it's over."
When it comes to how much she charges, Glantz, who's married and became a mom last year, offers different packages on her website. The prices differ based on how many events the bride wants her to attend before the wedding.
She adds that everything is always paid for including travel, accommodations and dresses. Throughout the years, Glantz claims that she has collected hundreds of wedding dresses. Some of them she keeps, others she donates or gives away.
"It starts at $2,500 and goes up from there," she explains of her packages. "It depends on if you want me to go to the bachelorette party, how many hours you want me at the wedding and so on." She estimates that the most money she's ever made from one wedding was close to $10,000.
Since starting the business, Glantz has also expanded her services. She's had over 100,000 people apply to be a bridesmaid for hire on her website. She hires people on a per-wedding basis, based on what the client is looking for. She doesn't have any full-time employees.
At the moment she offers a tool on her website that can write maid of honor and vow speeches, which every week she says around 50 to 100 people use.
One of her most memorable moments Glantz recalls, was the time she hired for back-to-back weddings in one weekend in two different states.
The first wedding was in Detroit, Michigan. Right after the wedding afterparty at 3 a.m., she went back to her hotel, packed up without sleeping and went to the airport for a 6 a.m. flight for the next wedding in southern New Jersey.
"I landed in New Jersey and I had to take a train and the train caught on fire. It was just a mess," she says. "I ended up getting there right before they were about to do a first look. It was just the most stressful situation because I also can't call that bride and be like, 'Hey, I went to a wedding the night before.' This is my job. So it's very professional and you deal with these travel headaches all of the time, and it's just tough."
"And you can't be late either because the wedding's not about you. They're not going to hold the wedding for you, so you just have to do anything you possibly can to get there on time," she adds.
She continues: "People think this job is so great, they want to do it, I don't think they understand the stress, the mental puzzles that you have to have to just get through all of these different situations. You need to be extremely sharp and proactive and up for anything, if you think everything's going to go smoothly, it's not. And if you're up for all of that, then you'd make a great bridesmaid for hire."
But while being a bridesmaid for hire comes with its struggles, Glantz wouldn't trade the experience for anything.
"My favorite part is getting to be inside of a person's life during such an intimate and interesting time," she says. "I see things, I hear things that maybe nobody else in their world knows. People lean on me and tell me things and they don't tell anybody else. To be able to be that person for someone's life, especially during a crazy time in their life is so rewarding and fulfilling."
She continues: "On the other side, it's altered my view of love. I don't think love is romantic. I don't think weddings are romantic. I've seen people get married for things other than love. I've seen people cheat on their wedding day at their wedding. I've seen people back out at the wedding. I've seen all the things that you see in fiction stories lived out."
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.