Alyson Yee | Odd Jobs
Always the bridesmaid
Published: Monday, February 13, 2012
Updated: Monday, February 13, 2012 07:02
Here are some qualifications for a potential job that I think I might be able to meet: smile that lights up a room, referred to as the life of the party, ability to fake tears, busty body type (Oh, wait.). Before you scream about discrimination in hiring practices, this listing is for a stand−in bridesmaid, listed as one of CareerBuilder.com's most unusual jobs in a survey. Those specifications were taken from an actual ad, which humorously specified that the following people need not apply: WWE wrestlers, home wreckers and MILFs.
Judging from the number of Yahoo! Answers forum posts about the etiquette of filling a gap in the wedding party, Bridezillas who fire their bridesmaids are remarkably common. Imagine the drama surrounding a last−minute line−up change for any event (maybe the starting Maid of Honor was sidelined with an ACL injury), and then multiply this by hysterical mothers−in−law, photographers and a zillion friends who haven't seen you since high school, but who are at your wedding to judge you.
Cue the replacement bridesmaid. As a desperate bride posted in an actual ad on Craigslist: "So, my fiancé and I are getting married in June. He has 8 groomsmen lined up and I only have one bridesmaid. So, I need some girls who are attractive and around my age to stand up in my wedding. You can be single or taken. It doesn't matter. ... You just have to be hot. But, not hotter then me."
In addition, ads seeking stand−in bridesmaids often have dress sizes specified, presumably due to last−minute dropouts and resultant desperation. Rather than pare down the number of groomsmen or admit to being unpopular, some brides will stop at nothing to ensure perfect wedding photos.
Moonlighting as a stand−in bridesmaid could be a great option for college girls who tend to be close in age to young brides and are used to wearing semiformal attire and posing for pictures. Best of all, there doesn't seem to be a corner on the market — at least not in the Boston area. StandbyGirl.com advertises a stand−in bridesmaid named Vienna, who lists her height (with and without heels), dress size and passable age range along with her acting and hair modeling experience. Her website claims, "My identity can be as open or discreet as you wish it to be. This may or may not be a concern in regards to your invitations and/or wedding photos. I can also be as open or discreet about my role in your wedding/formal event. I am very mature, friendly and, most of all, RELIABLE. Maybe most important to you is knowing that I will take on the expectations you have of your other bridesmaids." Presumably, she can be discreet and a good enough actor to convince your guests she's known you your whole life and can even tell embarrassing stories come toast−time. Luckily for other aspiring fake bridesmaids, StandbyGirl.com is only willing to travel within a 200−mile radius of Houston (Texas, not the dorm).
It may seem like a niche position, but my guess is that, with a $40 billion American wedding industry, there are more openings for stand−in bridesmaids than you'd expect. Forget the wedding planner or the florist — the real hero of the day can be the fill−in bridesmaid who ensures that no groomsman goes unescorted in the all−important pictures. She can be remembered for years to come in the video footage and the album. Just think of all the stories people can tell their kids about growing up with their Best Man and their Maid of Honor and their hired stranger!
Let's face it, who wouldn't want to get paid to attend a party? They'll even have to pay for your dress.
Alyson Yee is a senior majoring in biology and French. She can be reached at Alyson.Yee@tufts.edu.