Most of the customs in the ‘Traditional European wedding ceremony’ come from old practices that have been slightly modified over and over throughout the centuries. From the cake to the garter throw, these timeless traditions have been around so long that not many people even know the purpose of them anymore. We just do them because that’s what we do.
However, while traditions have been retained, the reception has become more elaborate over the past few decades, and many businesses thrive off assisting a young couple to create their perfect day. A lot of these products and services would have been provided by family members in the past, when a wedding reception would have been catered by all the aunts bringing their favourite dishes, and the dress might have been made by the bride’s mother or grandmother.
Today, we pay people to do things for us. Instead of everyone fighting over the right way to organise the event, we pay wedding co-ordinators to set the schedule and liaise with the vendors. Rather than asking a family to cook for a week in advance, we find a venue that is set up to cater for all the guests. From the flowers and bouquets; to hair and make-up, music, photos, accessories, and cake – if you want it, there is someone who will make it for you for a fee.
In this vein, I noted with interest the emergence of a new wedding business – the professional bridesmaid. Jen Glantz is the world’s first professional bridesmaid. Glantz started offering this service a few years ago and states that her job is to be a personal assistant and therapist to the bride. While wedding coordinators work with suppliers and the venue, Glantz works with the guests. She takes over all the hard work, allowing the bride and her friends to relax and enjoy the party. Jen will help with every stage of the wedding planning, from arranging bridal showers and bachelorette parties to ensuring that the gifts are safely delivered at the end of the night.
Her packages start at $1100, and go up to $2000 per wedding. She is planning to expand her business to create a pre-screened community of professional bridesmaids for hire, and also hopes to create a ‘Bridesmaid’s survival kit’ to get the wedding party through the toughest duties.
At first thought, this service seems to be unnecessary. I enjoyed every minute of bridesmaid duty, and was happy to help out where I could. But on the other hand, it is a lot of work and friends often don’t have the time and energy to completely meet the bride’s expectations – after all, they do still have work and their own lives to worry about. Perhaps hiring a professional is a new tradition that will stick around? Possibly a future conversation will include how bridesmaids’ services used to be a contribution by friends and family members until professional took over?