In the age of Pinterest, the pressure to put on the perfect wedding has never been higher. Jen Glantz is the Founder of Bridesmaid for Hire (which is exactly what it sounds like), and she knows better than anyone just how true that is.
“With modern weddings, a lot of brides feel this pressure to have this time-lined, streamlined, cookie-cutter-type event where everything needs to be like everybody elses’ [wedding],” Glantz tells Bustle. Glantz has built a business on being a professional bridesmaid, and she doesn’t see the trend of opulent, perfect weddings going anywhere anytime soon. “That’s just going to continue to get worse and worse and even more extravagant and before we know it... that purpose of love and marriage is going to get even more buried."
And that’s exactly where she comes in. Her company Bridesmaid for Hire, which started as a simple Craigslist ad, has grown into a full business that offers virtual consultations and in-person guidance and support for brides and bridal parties, anywhere from three to 18 months before a wedding. As Glantz commented, “At a certain age, all of our friends get engaged and we turn from best friend to bridesmaid — and we don’t really know what we’re doing. We just kind of go with the flow. We take on this role a lot in one period of time — people get engaged in waves.” So Glantz helps brides and bridal parties figure out what exactly goes into having a wedding beyond throwing the shower and choosing the venue — from keeping everyone up on their emails to helping with DIY crafts to making sure Aunt Lucy isn’t bringing all of the kids.
But she’s not Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner, nor is she Kevin Hart in The Wedding Ringer. For starters, according to Glantz, the movies tend to just show the fun parts and not the dirty work that really goes into having a happy wedding day. Secondly, she doesn’t run a friend-for-hire business. In her own words, she helps with "smaller tasks that tend to crowd your mind that, without organization, you’re going to wake up the week before your wedding and say, ‘Oh my goodness i have a million things to do.’ Thats what I try to avoid."
And it feels like every wedding needs to include a thousand hand-painted mason jars painted and personalized place cards for every guest, it’s no wonder brides and bridesmaids need a little extra help. In her line of business, Glantz has found that the stress and pressure surrounding weddings is all too often due to a lack of communication or simply a lack of understanding about what’s required of a bridal party. So here are some tips on how to alleviate a little bit of stress on the big day, whether you’re a future bride, groom, or part of someone’s wedding party
1. Being a bridesmaid shouldn't be a burden
Oftentimes when a friend asks you to be a part of their wedding, the first feeling is that it’s such an honor. But then it quickly changes into panic about expenses and time. "The best way you can be there for the bride is to help her out with things you’re good at. If you’re good at finance, why don’t you take the bride out to lunch and do a budget with her, or if you’re good with crafts, spend the afternoon at the craft store," Glantz suggests. "Those things alone are enough if you’re on the kind of budget where you don’t have the money to shell out on expensive gifts or lavish bachelorette parties."
2. Brides can throw tradition out the window
Every wedding you’ve been to has the bouquet toss, but you’d rather save that time for dancing. Or you think the garter removal is ridiculous. Or you don’t want to spend money on big floral centerpieces. It’s OK, Glantz says.
"Ask yourself what you really want at your wedding. Throw out the traditions that don’t mean anything to you. Start your own traditions that reflect your personality and your future husband’s personality," Glantz says.
For example, lots of modern brides are having people RSVP online through their wedding websites rather than sending out RSVP cards that guests have to mail back. Saving costs and making your own traditions? Sounds good to me.
3. If you're writing a speech, just be yourself
We’ve all heard some good wedding speeches and even more uncomfortably awkward ones. Glantz has had plenty of experience writing speeches for other maids of honor and for weddings of her own friends and family.
"[This] is your one chance to speak on behalf of somebody who means a lot to you, and the best way to do that is to use the personal details, use the memories and the stories that have really bonded your relationship," Glantz says. "That alone can form a whole speech and engage the audience and make a difference."
Glantz once did a Mad Libs speech and asked the audience to give me verbs, and nouns and adjectives. "Though it might not have been the most traditional speech in the world, it was very different and very memorable," she says. "The more different you can be in your speech, the better off you will be."
4. Let the groom get involved
It’s no secret that most of the wedding industry is focused on the bride. Not only does that set unrealistic expectations for the bride and her bridal party, it excludes her partner. Again, throw that notion out the window. Glantz says that guys do want to get involved, though they might feel intimidated.
As a bride, don’t stress about asking for help from your groom — involve him in decisions and remember this is his day too and the whole experience should be expression of the two of you," Glantz says. "For the wedding to be a truly happy environment, the groom has to have a say and be there to support the bride."
5. Remember why you're getting married
The wedding industry boom places more importance on the event rather than what getting married actually means...marriage. However, there are very simple ways you can focus your wedding on the love and commitment between you and your partner.
"I try to help brides get back to their basics, thinking about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it," Glantz says. "Who says that weddings have to be perfect? Why can’t they just be great? Or just be what they are? I think that's a huge misconception about weddings, which is a shame because it should be the most special day of your life and special doesn't have to mean perfect."
It seems simple enough, but anyone who plans a wedding knows that there are always more challenges, more checks to write, and more bumps in the road than you can ever anticipate. So ask for the help when you need it. Oh, and have some fun while you’re at it.
Learn more about Jen Glantz and Bridesmaid for Hire here:
Images: Courtesy of Jen Glantz (3), Courtesy of Steven Rosen Photography.