I'm a 'bridesmaid for hire' who gets paid to visit castles and islands for weddings — here's what it's like
- I've attended more than 100 weddings as a "bridesmaid for hire."
- The job can be exhausting, but it comes with perks like traveling to luxurious places.
After a year of working as a hired bridesmaid for strangers — either because they need organizational help on the inside or need someone to pose as a close friend — I started to realize that 90% of the job isn't so glamorous. Being a professional bridesmaid means being the go-to problem solver for messy situations (like wedding crashers or missing grooms), and by the end of the night, you find yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted.
But the job does come with perks that make the hard work worth it. Not only do clients cover my hair and makeup, but they also pay for my travel and accommodations. While some weddings are in cities I've traveled to before or more traditional venues (like hotel ballrooms or backyards), other weddings are at locations that I could never afford to go to on my own. Working this job has let me travel to some of the world's most luxurious places on someone else's dime.
Check out some of the fanciest places I've visited as a hired bridesmaid.
The first wedding I worked as a hired bridesmaid, I didn't ask the client to pay for a hotel and instead slept on a couch in her house. Not only was this weird (since it was the first time we'd ever met), but it was unprofessional.
If a client is paying me to do a service, they should also pay for proper accommodations. After that wedding, I included a line in future client's contracts saying hotel and accommodation costs would come out of their pocket. I'm not asking to be put up at a fancy hotel, just one near the wedding activities or venue.
Some wealthy clients have booked me rooms in hotels I always dreamed of staying at, from five star properties that celebrities have visited to hotel chains that cost $1,000 a night and come with unlimited room service, spa treatments, and a personal trainer.
Over the years, I've worked weddings at all different kinds of locations, from reception halls to clubhouses at golf courses. Perhaps one of the most unique and memorable venues I've ever worked at was a castle.
It was my first time working a wedding inside of a castle, and I was able to stay there for the weekend too, which made the experience so much better.
The couple getting married wasn't royalty, and the castle wasn't part of their lineage. They are just one of many wealthy couples who rent out restored castles as party venues and hotels for their wedding celebrations.
On a rare occasion, I find myself working with a couple who are planning a small and intimate wedding. Instead of inviting 200 people to a party inside a large ballroom, they want to invite 50 people and rent a private island.
One wedding I worked at was off the coast of Florida, where the couple rented the entire island for their guest list of 40 people to party and stay at for the weekend. It was such a unique experience to have a wedding on a private island with nobody else around (except for the island's staff). Not only did this feel like the ultimate secluded celebration, but the price tag definitely surpassed $200,000.
A Beverly Hills mansion
When I was living in Los Angeles, I found myself working a lot of weddings for very rich people all over the city. One couple's wedding was hosted at their $30 million mansion in Beverly Hills that was 18,000 square feet. It was the first time I'd ever been inside a house that expensive or big.
The property was immaculate, and the house was so large that it was easy to get lost inside. It was one of the only times in my life that I've gotten to spend a weekend inside a mansion.
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