Jen Glantz’s self-revealing, comedic memoir, “Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire),” is more than just wedding cake sweets and drivel. She is a breath of fresh air, albeit unorthodox, in her approach to becoming an entrepreneur and companion for young adult women feeling their way in a complex world.
Jen moves to New York from Boca Raton to pursue her dream of writing. In addition to “misshaped” Sunday brunches on JDate, what she got were phone calls that began with “I’d be honored if you would be my bridesmaid.”
With too many assets invested in frilly dresses, Jen placed an ad on Craigslist offering her services as a professional bridesmaid, and the ad went viral. Her lifetime of adventure expanded into a consultancy business and ultimately a way to help others.
“The book is about finding one’s self,” said Glantz, who’s appearing at the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center on Nov. 14 in a special program at the Woodruff Arts Center. “It’s about my awkward, weird career, being lost, questioning and laughing along the way.”
Jaffe: So you literally go to different cities and appear in a stranger’s wedding?
Glantz: Yes, but it’s much more than that. I get to know the bride prior to the event and serve as a guidepost and stress reliever at the event. … Much more than me walking down the aisle, though I do that too.
Jaffe: Can you really make a living doing this (fees are in the range of $1,000 to $2,000) and maintain a residence in New York City?
Glantz: I have different jobs. In this modern world, like many, I multitask. I teach classes, write for websites, have a blog. I have written for or appeared on the “Today” Show, Glamour, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan and Huffington Post. My blog (The Things I Learned From) is about careers, getting laid off, moving to NYC, getting stronger, making mistakes. … With thousands of articles, I formed a platform which enabled me to approach publishers about doing a book.
Jaffe: Was it easy to get the backing of a publisher?
Glantz: Actually, yes. I had several from which to choose. This is my second book. The first was “All My Friends Are Engaged,” and I’m working on a third. My audience is 20- and 30-year-olds. Everyone is either going to a wedding or annoyed by weddings. I do my own writing. That’s my profession.
Jaffe: How do you help others?
Glantz: I have 20,000 applications of people wanting to work for me. I want to share how to get started and create your own businesses. I get most excited about benefiting others. Note that we are not a model service. I do not take requests to send a bridesmaid by hair color or height. This is about support.
Jaffe: Are Jewish weddings more stressful than others?
Glantz: Hmmm, sometimes it’s about traditions and those complexities, or pressure from parents to make them do things a certain way.
Jaffe: Do you have any advice for us Jewish mothers, as you talk about yours in the book?
Glantz: We know you are right. It’s hard to admit it sometimes. We know you are coming from the right place. Just walk us through it. We may make mistakes, but it should all gel in the right place eventually.
Jaffe: Have you found your Prince Charming after so many bad dates that you describe in the book?
Glantz: Yes, I have been dating the same man for two years. There’s a great story there. … I promised myself I would go on 14 blind dates (from JDate and apps), and it was a flop. But the 15th date worked like a charm.