weddings

A $9,000 fee and 4 weddings in 2 days: The life of a professional bridesmaid.

Professional bridesmaid. I know, right? So many questions.

Who knew there was such a thing. But turns out not only does the service exist, it’s a popular (and lucrative) one, too.

Sydney woman Kerstyn Walsh, 29, attends about 30 to 40 weddings in a year, thanks to the business she created Hire a Bridesmaid‘, which now employs another four full-time staffers. As a professional bridesmaid, her booking record, she tells Mamamia, is four weddings in two days.

Here’s our chat with Kerstyn…

How did you become a professional bridesmaid?

Totally by accident. I was a real estate agent for a really long time and then I wasn’t happy in that job anymore and I thought, “There’s got to be something else.”

A friend of mine who I went to school with asked me to be the MC at her wedding. She invited me down the night before the wedding, and she had left her lingerie at home so I said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll go get it for you!’ So I drove back to Sydney and then I came back the next day.

Then, on the day, I was serving drinks for all the bridesmaids and I was hanging out with everyone and I just thought, ‘Oh My God, this is what I am meant to do.’

what is a professional bridesmaid
Image: Supplied. Photographer: Cinestory Films USA.

What made you think that the job of a professional bridesmaid was necessary?

What made me think this is so important is not just evening out numbers for the bridal party, but also having that person that just gets you and has your back on your day 100 per cent. Or, also, some of my clients are from overseas and they don't have anyone here for them.

You shouldn't have to stress on your wedding day. A professional is someone who's not going to feel bad about doing jobs on your wedding day, because it is literally their job. Whereas an actual bridesmaid might want to drink 50 wines and have a great time.

How much does the service cost?

Our full wedding service package, including if you want a bridesmaid on the day and how much is involved, can be up to $9,000 - that's all-inclusive.

It depends on if they're booking me 12 months out or six months out and how much help they actually need.

If they just literally needed me to turn up in the dress on the day itself, and do nothing beforehand, it would be $2,000, plus the cost of me being there, so travel and dresses.

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what is a professional bridesmaid
Image: Supplied.

When people ask how you know the bride and groom, do you make up a story?

That's tricky - it's a case-by-case basis.

Sometimes the bride will say, 'We've developed a friendship anyway.' Which is so true, you spend nine to 12 months with someone planning their wedding, so you do develop a relationship. And so I will just pick bits from that.

They don't need to know, 'I'm being paid this amount of money to be here today.' So I'll say, 'We're new friends, we started when the wedding planning process started and I've helped her through all of that and we've become quite close in that time.'

You don't need to go into too much detail. It's really important to develop a story that the couple are comfortable with.

what is a professional bridesmaid
Image: Supplied. Photographer: Luke Fletcher.

Do you organise the hens party?

Sure do! Sometimes I do that in conjunction with the real bridesmaids, which is tricky because having so many different opinions can be hard.

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I often say 90 per cent of my job is being tactical with people - you know, managing expectations.

Sometimes I'll get in touch with the bridesmaids and say, "You guys come up with the plan, tell me what you think the bride will want, and I will do all the work so you just have to turn up on the day." And they love that.

We chase up RSVPs and, on the day, if there are decorations, we do that. We do everything.

Have you ever had disagreements with real friends in the bridal party?

Of course I have. But I'm a non-confrontational person and, again, I'm tactical.

I understand that it's got nothing to do with me. Sometimes it's got something to do with the fact that they hate how their hair was done but that's what the bride wanted. Or the bride asked for me to help her with their dress in the bathroom, and the Maid of Honour will say, "No, I should be doing that." Just silly little things.

It's nature, and it's totally fine by me.

what is a professional bridesmaid
Image: Supplied. Photography: Cameron Mackie.

Are you ever forced to wear a dress you hate?

Of course, but a good bridesmaid never complains about her dress and always does what she's told.

It's just the way it is, but the good friends go, "I'm doing this for you."

What is the most unusual thing that you've been asked to do?

Oh, there's so many. During weddings in the bush, many times I've cleaned poo off brides' shoes with baby wipes when they've trodden in deer or horse poo while they're out taking photos.

How often do you work with a bride that you don't get along with?

I don't find there's really anyone I don't get along with. But there have been times where people have surprised me, because weddings can be a stressful situation. Sometimes they're totally cool as a cucumber during the lead up until the day of, and then it's as though it's the end of the world.

What's the one tip you'd give to all bridesmaids out there?

Remember who's wedding it is. And the bride's decision is final.

Don't complain about your dress if you can, particularly if the bride and groom are paying for those things.

Would you hire a professional bridesmaid? Tell us in the comments below.

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