This 29-year-old turned her side hustle into a full-time job as a 'bridesmaid for hire'

Photo courtesy of Jen Glantz

The American wedding industry is a $53.4 billion business, with the average couple in the U.S. spending $35,329 on their big day.

Though the high-priced occasion is intended to create gauzy memories that last a lifetime, the months leading up to a wedding are often rife with stress and chaos. And that's where Jen Glantz steps in.

As the CEO of Bridesmaid for Hire, the 29-year-old makes a living as a professional bridesmaid to women who are in need of help on their big day.

"I realized there was really no one there for the bride," Glantz tells CNBC Make It. "The wedding planner was busy getting things together and her friends were off taking pics and getting their makeup done and no one was there when the bride was having an emotional breakdown."

The idea for the business sparked in 2012, when Glantz became the go-to bridesmaid for a lot of her friends and witnessed first-hand the unexpected blowups and meltdowns that take place behind the scenes.

Photo courtesy of Jen Glantz

"Jen, you have become a professional bridesmaid," Glantz says her roommate told her after she served as a bridesmaid four times in 2012 alone.

Though her roommate's comment was intended as a joke, Glantz says she eventually gave it serious thought, and wondered if there was potential to turn it into an actual business.

"After a few hours I found myself on a website my mother told me never to use, which was Craigslist, " says Glantz. "I posted an ad about being a 'bridesmaid for hire,' and within 48 hours I received a response from hundreds of brides from all over the world who wanted my services."

The University of Central Florida graduate knew she was on to something.

"Here I was, a poetry major in college who had found a need, and I ran with it," says Glantz. "I bought the domain, put together packages and started selling my services all within three days. That was in 2014."

Photo courtesy Jen Glantz

At the time, Glantz was still a full-time copywriter for a tech start-up in New York and was unsure of whether her unique side hustle could earn enough to replace her 9-to-5 job. But when a company lay-off forced her out of a day job, Glantz said she made a promise to herself that she would give entrepreneurship 100 percent of her focus.

"I decided that I never wanted to work for anyone again, and I was going to do what I had to do with this business to make it full-time," she says.

That's also when Glantz realized she needed to charge for her services — and that brides would willingly pay up.

Professional bridesmaid for hire?

"The first day I started the idea I thought it would be a free service, because I figured why can't I do this just to help people," she says. "I then realized it was a real service and I needed to be compensated for it."

Working with 20-35 clients per year, Glantz gets paid at least $2,000 for each bride she guides down the aisle. Now she has also expanded her services to include wedding coaching, bridesmaid crash courses, maid-of-honor packages and speech writing assistance for those who fear writer's block before the big day.

To date, the 29-year-old has helped put out just about every nuptial fire imaginable, from lending a strapless bra to a bride's mother, to playing bodyguard to a bride who was afraid her fired maid-of-honor would show up, to even helping a client end her engagement altogether.

Her one-of-a-kind gig also landed her a book deal. In "Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire), " Glantz explores her move to New York from Florida, her career, love life and what it's like playing such an intimate role in the major life events of complete strangers. She says that while hopes her book will show people that entrepreneurship isn't always as glamorous as it sounds, she also wants her journey to serve as inspiration for others to act now on whatever seemingly-crazy idea they may have.

"The best advice I can give is to start now, because you're never going to be perfect, you're never going to be smart enough or have enough money — so just start now," says Glantz.

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Photo courtesy of Jen Glantz
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