What are the top reasons brides should consider hiring a professional bridesmaid?
It's a common misconception that you should hire a professional bridesmaid if you don't have any close friends. That's not always the case! There are a lot of times when brides will hire me and they already have 5 or 7 bridesmaids. They are looking for a person to come in and take care of their “wedding dirty work.” Hiring a pro allows their actual bridesmaids and family members to truly enjoy the day. They also hire me as their voice of reason. I'm the person they can call up at 9 PM to chat through wedding challenges and chaos. You know, the stuff that their friends are sick of hearing about!
Does a professional bridesmaid replace the need for a day-of-coordinator?
I offer a couple of different packages – a virtual package where I'm your bridal coach and consultant, a behind-the-scenes package where I'm partially your day-of coordinator and partially your go-to gal pal, and a down the aisle package, where I put on the dress and serve as your bridesmaid. So sometimes brides will hire me to be their professional bridesmaid and their day-of coordinator all at once.
Since you've been an outsider working so intimately with brides and their bridesmaids, do you have any advice for brides on how to ensure you don't ruin your friendships by being a bridezilla?
Don't go crazy with your bridal party requests. Remember that your bridesmaids are your friends and they are doing their best, but they don't always have the time, money or even energy to do all of the things you're asking – so be realistic with your “requirements” and remember to make things fun.
How would you advise a bridesmaid to address her friend, the bride, if she feels she's being unrealistic or has too high of expectations?
Do it as soon as you're starting to feel uncomfortable, the longer you wait, the more stress you'll put on the bride. If you don't think you can make the bachelorette party, you know you can't afford the bridesmaid dress, or you're just not happy with how the bride is treating you, don't be scared off by telling the bride. She's your friend and–in the end–you don't want to walk away from the wedding day resenting her or backing away from the friendship.
What's the craziest thing you've had to do as a Bridesmaid for Hire?
Let's see, I once gave my strapless bra to a mother of the bride who forgot hers. I've given a toast on the spot for a bride I just met that day. Oh, and I've even picked up animal droppings that were blocking an aisle so that the bride didn't get her dress ruined. That's not the half of it! There are tons of crazy stories inside my new book, Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire).
What are some of your top tips for saving on your costs as a bridesmaid?
1. Rent or buy a used bridesmaid dress. In the end, you'll only wear it for 8 hours and then stick it in the back of your closet.
2. Set travel alerts for flights and hotels to save money on getting to and from the wedding.
I saw you are trying to build an army of professional bridesmaids. Who would make a good fit to be a professional bridesmaid?
I always say that when you're picking your bridesmaids, choose wisely. Choose people who make you feel calm, or make you laugh. Choose people you know won't bring any drama along with them to your wedding day.
For more behind-the-scenes stories and insight into being a professional bridesmaid, pick up Jen's book, Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire), on bookshelves February 7th. You can also pre-order it on Amazon.