The year Jen found herself at the top of the altar next to four friends as they said ‘I Do’, she had an inkling that she could turn bridesmaid duty into a career.
As a college graduate unsure of what line of work her passions lay in, on a whim she decided to post an ad on Craigslist offering her services.
“This year, I’ve been a bridesmaid four times,” she wrote. “That’s four different chiffon dresses, four different hen parties filled with tequila shots and guys in thongs twerking way too close to my face; four different pre-wedding pep talks to the bride…. so let me be there for you if you don’t have any other girlfriends.”
Over night, she was inundated with requests- from gay couples who wanted a female member of the bridal party, to women who had just moved to the city, and the ad subsequently went viral appearing everywhere from Elle Magazine to Buzzfeed.com
Jen was delighted to help plan the wedding showers and hen parties, collaborate on speeches, and ensure everything goes smoothly on the big day.
As someone who began planning her own wedding when she was seven years old (she is currently single) the copywriter has amassed considerable experience of ensuring the big event happens without any hiccups.
The 26-year-old New Yorker spoke exclusively to Independent Style about her niche job.
What is your best tip for brides when it comes to picking their bridesmaids?
Chose someone because you could not possibly imagine your wedding day without them standing inches away from the tail of your dress. Because they've been there for you during your ugly cries and your wild ideas - and it's only natural that they'll be there again for you as a bridesmaid. Choose them for only those reasons - not because you feel like you have to. No, don't do that!
What are your purse essentials for prospective maids of honour/bridesmaids?
Have your own bridesmaid super power. Maybe that's your calm demeanor or your ability to organize the chaos or your attention to details. Mine's humor and I use that to combat any and all stressful and anxious situations. If you can get someone to laugh - you can get them to do anything.
What has been your best moment at a wedding?
Hearing the story of how the brides and groom met. We live in such a hectic world - where we spend a lot of time alone, connected to technology. It always pumps my heart to hear how two people, through a series of delicately random events, fell into each other's arms. It shows how much of life is out of our control - that's something we often forget.
What has been your worst moment at a wedding?
When the DJ (or the band) gives the cue that this song will be the last song that they'll play! I'm always the one on the dance floor - as if I'm at a concert - screaming encore! Encore!
Have your experiences as a professional bridesmaid changed your perceptions about having your own “dream wedding”?
Of course! The more weddings I attend, the more I piece together exactly how I want my special day to look and feel. But in the end, it's not the color of your napkins or the flavor of your cake that you'll remember, it's the people. The people who paused the chaos of their lives to travel from where they are to where you are and celebrate this beautiful moment in your life with you. I can't wait to be that person for women around the world.
To learn more about Jen’s endeavours, including her best selling book ‘All My Friends Are Engaged’ which chronicles her dating disasters, visit her blog thethingsilearnedfrom.com.