By Jen Glantz
Over the last 365 days, I've helped out over 30 brides. I've fluffed more veils than I can count on one hand, and danced both the Horah and The Electric Slide more times than I'd like to admit. No, I'm not the most popular woman on the East Side of Manhattan. I'm a professional bridesmaid, and I've helped dozens of strangers have the best days of their lives.
A few years ago, when all of my friends started getting engaged, I started making new, single friends. Friends who wouldn't mind piggybacking onto a Friday night of bar-hopping or a Sunday afternoon of endless chatting over scrambled eggs and avocado toast. Friends who didn't ask me why I was still single more often than they asked me how I was doing.
There was nothing wrong with my newly married or freshly engaged friends: They just had to-do lists that looked foreign to me. Their weekend plans included going shopping for the week at Whole Foods with their S.O.'s, while mine included binge-watching Orange Is the New Black on Netflix or mapping out the dance floors on the Lower East Side I wanted to take over on Saturday night. They no longer called me with adventurous plans to book backpacking trips to Costa Rica; instead they were more interested in saving money for things like mortgages or their baby's daycare bills.
Soon, though, these new, single friends of mine started showing up at brunch with twinkling diamond engagement rings and fairy-tale stories of how he'd popped the question while she was collecting shells on their trip to Tulum. I'd sit there and listen while nervously devouring blueberry muffin crumbs; I knew the question that was coming. I had already been asked -- by women ranging from my current BFF to someone I hadn't been close with since our junior year of college -- once, twice, no five times before:
"Will you be my bridesmaid?"
During the time when all these bridesmaid invitations were coming my way, I was a lot of things: a full-time copywriter, a struggling blogger, the kind of girl who couldn't make it past date number one without having an anxiety attack. Dating was not on my list of successes. But now, to add to that list, I was a perpetual bridesmaid -- and I was good at it. Suddenly, it hit me: If weddings were going to be such a big part of my life, why not get paid for it? Why not become a professional bridesmaid?