Standing next to your BFF when she says "I do" at her wedding is a huge honor. But it's also a great responsibility. Those of you who've already been bridesmaids can attest to the fact that there's a lot of work and money (your own) involved. And sometimes things can get to a point where you're telling yourself that you didn't sign up for this—an endless email chain about a minor wedding detail, an outrageous dress style that will cost you a small fortune, or another bridesmaid who's stressing the rest of you out. The situations are endless, and Jen Glantz has lived through pretty much all of them.
Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid for Hire and author of Always a Bridesmaid for Hire ($13; amazon.com), decided to become a 'professional bridesmaid' after she noticed that at her friends' weddings, she was always behind the scenes helping the bride—because no one else was.
"If she had bridesmaids, they were busy getting ready. If she had a wedding planner or day-of coordinator, they were busy working with the venue and the vendors. I wanted to be the full-picture support person for the bride and bridal party before the wedding and on the day of," says Glantz.
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So in 2014, she made a business out of it and, since then, she's helped with the planning of every bridal party-related event you could think of—bachelorette parties (she hates that they've become very 'Kardashian-like,' which puts pressure on bridesmaids to take days off work and spend money on exotic trips), bridal showers ("they can get less stuffy"). You name it, she's done it.
That's why we spoke to her about the mistakes bridesmaids (and brides) sometimes do and how to avoid them.
1. Spending too much money
"Before you are a bridesmaid, set a budget and agree to spending just that amount. The average bridesmaid spends close to $1,200 on her role. That's outrageous. You should only spend money on what you think is necessary. So before saying yes to being a bridesmaid, sit down and chat with the bride about her expectations. Know exactly what you are agreeing to get yourself into money- and time-wise before taking on the duties. If you have any concerns about the amount of help you can provide during her wedding adventure, let her know ahead of time so that there aren't any surprises and your time as a bridesmaid can flow smoothly."
2. Buying a new dress
"Once the bride has picked out the style dress she'd like you to wear, try to search the style number online to see if you can buy it used or if there's a bridesmaid dress rental place that lets you rent the place for a discounted price. If you can find a similar style of the dress that can be rented—run it by the bride and her let know that a rental option exists. Perhaps then she'll re-evaluate the dress and let all of her bridesmaid rent them, knowing it'll save them money."
3. Not asking for a plus one
"If you are a bridesmaid and you don't know many people at the wedding, it is OK to ask for a plus one. The bride can ultimately say no, but it's worth a try asking if you can bring a date."
4. Making the day about you
"I worked a wedding last year where the bride was anything but a bridezilla but her bridesmaids were bridesmaidzillas. They took over the wedding day, as if it was their own, throwing temper tantrums over a loose curl in their updo or a wrinkle on their bridesmaid dress. They made the wedding start 30 minutes late because of breakdowns they were having where the bride and I had to bring them back to reality and not hijack the wedding with their hissy fits. Remember the wedding isn't about you—it's about being there for the bride—so let things go, and if you're not happy with it, address it without bringing down the entire bridal party around you."
5. Waiting Until the Last Minute to Buy a Gift
"The second you know the bride has a registry up, go on it and purchase the gifts you'd like to give. You'll have more options in every price range and also be able to scratch 'get the couple a gift' off your to-do list."