One Boca native turns chaos into opportunity
Written by Allison Lewis
The idiom “always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” couldn’t be truer for Boca Raton native Jennifer Glantz. After graduating from the University of Central Florida, Glantz lived with her parents in Boca while trying to find a job, finally landing at a PR firm in New York City.
“I am this person who loves to function under chaos,” Glantz said. “I had to create my own opportunity. I wasn’t satisfied sitting at a desk all day.”
It was during this time that Glantz found herself attending wave after wave of her young friends’ weddings back in South Florida.
“That’s when I saw at weddings people are extremely stressed out. They’re unhappy; they have so much emotion attached to the day. There was really nobody there to manage the emotion, manage the stress,” she said.
At her roommate’s half-joking suggestion that Glantz was a “professional bridesmaid,” a light bulb went off. A few nights later, Glantz posted an ad for herself on Craig’s List as a for-hire bridesmaid. The ad went viral, and Glantz received a stunning amount of responses. Her now two-and-a-half-year-old business, Bridesmaid for Hire, was born.
“I have this bizarre love for strangers and helping strangers through difficult times … The strength behind the idea was, ‘Let me be there to troubleshoot your wedding when things go wrong, because I know they will, and I’ve seen first-hand how they will.”
Today, Glantz gets hundreds of requests from brides that want to hire her. But she selects clients carefully.
“I am really picky based on what their [the bride’s] needs are, what they really want a bridesmaid for hire for…I want to make sure their story matches the morals of my business and that our personalities match as well because we do work together many months before the wedding.”
Glantz does almost anything imaginable for her clients. She writes toasts, plays therapist, assists with makeup, hair, shoes and dressing, calms parents, runs errands, coordinates with wait staff, makes sure the bride eats at the reception, and she can DJ last-minute if necessary (yes, this has happened). She has seen and dealt with every possible situation that one could think of and more. At a wedding in August, the scenario almost took the cake.
“Five minutes before [the wedding], the bride pulled me into a room, locked the door and tells me that she hates the groom and doesn’t want to get married. My whole body went into shock, and I realized this is probably the craziest thing I’ve ever dealt with on the job. I had to really think on my toes to figure out how to help her in that situation,” Glantz said.
She ended up pulling the bride and groom into a room for 10 minutes and letting them talk. When time was up, Glantz asked for a decision. The pair ended up walking down the isle with an understanding that they had problems to fix.
When it comes to weddings, Glantz said, “… the best thing you can remind yourself is that things are going to go wrong. Problems are going to happen. Your job is to get through the day and make it what it’s going to be. It’s not going to be perfect.”
This is where Glantz’s business comes into play. “My job is to get people to not be so stressed out and just enjoy the moment that they’re given at that time,” she said.
These days the New York-based business is taking off; she’s had more than 13,000 women apply to work for her in the past two and a half years and created a training program for women who want to start their own professional bridesmaid or wedding business.
When she isn’t attending weddings or speaking engagements, Glantz finds time to write. Her first book All My Friends Are Engaged was published in 2015. She released her second book Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire) on February 7, 2017. It’s an open, honest and comical retelling of her life and business.
“I wanted to write about … the struggles: the mistakes I made, the heartbreaks I had, to let people know they could relate to this adventure, they could relate to this journey,” Glantz said. “I wanted to be honest about my past to where I am now and prove to people that it really wasn’t easy but it’s doable as long as you don’t give up.”