Jen Glantz has been in more than 40 weddings in the last two years. That’s a lot of weddings for anybody to attend, but Glantz’s attendance was a bit different than most. She was a bridesmaid at all 40 of those weddings, and she got paid for all of them.
Glantz made a living being a bridesmaid for hire, and she’s shared her story in a memoir, “Always A Bridesmaid (for Hire).”
She will be coming to South by Southwest on March 13, speaking at the SX Bookstore at the Austin Convention Center from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. What follows is a story that the Palm Beach Post wrote about Glantz before a book signing she did at a Barnes & Noble in Boca Raton, Fla. earlier this month.
The lyrics in a ballsy, brave and bad-ass P!nk song are the soundtrack to Jen Glantz’s life right now.
The 29-year-old from Boca Raton was told she should pursue a different profession because writing wasn’t her strong suit. She was asked why “a nobody” like her would be the perfect person to speak at a women’s business brunch. She was bullied for being the shy tomboy who chose books over boys.
Today, she gets paid to put on polyester dresses and walk down the aisle with complete strangers.
But that’s not all. Holding up 18 layers of pure dress so that a bride can use the restroom with ease, catching a bouquet like a champ then following that with an “OMG, I can’t believe this” speech and always participating in the obligatory cha-cha or electric slide are just some of the ways Glantz is the MVP of bridesmaids.
For the past two years, she has been in more than 40 weddings. In other words, she’s made a living being a bridesmaid. Most recently, she built an entire business around her new profession and wrote a book about what it means to be a bridesmaid-for-hire.
Talk about loud. Or better yet, genius.
This shy kid always knew she’d be successful. What she didn’t know was that witnessing couples fist fight all the way to the altar or finding a bride blackout drunk behind a couch on her wedding night would be part of her journey toward greatness.
With all those ceremonies under her belt, imagine the stories she can tell.
“I’ve seen people get married for other things — not love. I’ve seen people completely back out of their situation. But I’ve also seen people look at each other in a way that I’ve never seen before,” she said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post in February, just before taking to the podium at Barnes & Noble in Boca for a book reading..
And if you thought an angry, overwhelmed, hungry bride was the scariest thing anyone could experience at a wedding, you’re wrong. “Bridezilla” got nothin’ on a messy bridesmaid!
“I worked a wedding when the bridesmaids were doing everything they could to sabotage the day for the bride. One chose not to buy the bridesmaid dress and told the bride that day she was going to wear whatever she wanted,” she wrote in a blog post on EliteDaily.com.
Jen even had to deal with a bridesmaid who showed up an hour late for photos — this meant an extra hour of guests waiting for the wedding to start — because the bridesmaid wasn’t satisfied with her own hair.
She can’t make this stuff up.
Her crazy, one-of-a-kind career is a result of her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. She’s also pretty damn tough.
Four years ago, she packed her bags and moved to The Big Apple where she struggled with finding love, finding work and finding herself.
Fast forward through more failed dates than she can count on her fingers and toes, an 86-year-old bully-turned-BFF and too many NY-style slices of pizza for any South Floridian, and Jen is currently headlining her own book tour for “Always A Bridesmaid (for Hire).” A memoir.
At her book signings, she stands in front of a table with printed copies of Always A Bridesmaid (for Hire) and reads a chapter about Ray. Her best friend and business tutor whose intimidating demeanor and honest criticisms are the reasons she was able to launch her business and write a book in just two months.
At a signing in her hometown, Boca Raton, fans and old college buddies laughed when she got to the part about Ray slamming his hand on a library table, telling her to get out of his face. He was testing her commitment to achieving her business goals.
Her mother smiled when she read about that one time Ray told her she was so afraid of failing that she was setting herself up to stay still and achieve nothing. Something her mom tried to get through her head for years.
And her boyfriend Adam, a blue-eyed gentlemen from New Jersey, gazed at her through the screen of his iPhone 6 as he held it up to take a photo of Jen reading an excerpt from the book he watched her write.
He was a living, breathing, heart-eyed emoji.
Forgive the cliche, but there must be a Raise-your-glass kind of moral to this story. Or a few because that’s just how Jen Glantz in all her nerd-turned-cool would have it.
Embrace your uniqueness. Execute your ideas until you’re getting paid to be yourself. Carry on even after you fail miserably.
And finally, and most obviously: Never be that bridesmaid who makes the wedding all about you.