If you want to know the truth, I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.
Which is not to say that I’m not glad it did.
I just wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t ready for any of it.
For the emails to pile up in my inbox two, three, four days after I posted the ad on Craigslist, until Gmail shut down my account, permanently, due to suspected spam.
For the strangers (I probably never would have had the chance to bump into during this lifetime) who began inviting me to be a part of the most meaningful and emotional time in their lives.
For the TV anchors and the magazine reporters and the radio show hosts who suddenly cozied up beside me and asked to hear bits and pieces of my story, while I tried to steer any and all attention away from the stress sweat pouring out of my glands and onto my Forever21 dresses.
For finding odd ways to balance starting this new adventure with a full-time job and full-time bills and full-time relationships. For learning that balancing all of the above sometimes (always) leaves you tiptoeing around the verge of a mid-sidewalk anxiety attack. For also learning that no matter how many cups of chai tea or hours you stay awake starring at the computer or the “I’m sorry’s” you start to hand out to the people you love the most, it’s perfectly okay to admit that you can’t handle it all, all of the time.
I’ve told this story before, but the truth is I posted the ad for one daringly simple reason: I had a really lousy Friday night. I found myself in front of a couple of women who made me feel worthless. Who made me feel like I was a complete and utter nobody. And maybe I truly was. But it didn’t really matter because I walked out of that meeting, at a coffee shop on 9th avenue, and walked all the way home.
The truth is, I walked all the way home huffing and puffing and furious at myself for allowing people to make me feel this way.
I wasn’t worthless. I had dreams. I had ideas. I had a vision for something that people might find totally and completely bonkers, yet also wonderful at the same time.
The day the ad went viral, I made my first phone call to my older brother.
Before I could even finish my jumbled sentences, he turned on his computer and voluntarily joined team “Let’s Figure this Crazy Idea Out.”
I want you to know, he was the very first person who believed in Bridesmaid for Hire. He has been there with me, no matter what. Through tireless brainstorm sessions and stressful phone calls. Through decisions that a pro-con list can’t even handle. Through every single one of my emotional breakdowns and stubborn moments (that last longer than they should). Through the growing pains of figuring out how to start a business and the ity bity unpretty details that become suffocating to figure out.
I spent almost two years working in PR. I never liked anything about that job, but it taught me everything that I needed to know in order to make Bridesmaid for Hire go viral and stay relevant in the news month after month.
So while at first, some the media stations were reaching out, the giant ones were not. I found myself calling and emailing and LinkedIn messaging producers and reporters until they would finally write something, anything, back to me. And then I would call and email and LinkedIn message, again, until they would speak to me for 2 minutes on the phone.
The TODAY Show, at first, said no way. They invited me on twice and kicked me off the morning before. But for some reason, I wouldn’t let this go. 8-months later, I was finally eyeing Matt Lauer in person and hugging Hoda hello.
I found Ashley, the first bride I ever worked with, late one night when my brother and I were working on sorting through the emails that made their way into our inbox.
Her first email to me talked about the challenges of her upcoming wedding and the lack of overall support from the people in her life. I spent three months working with Ashley before her wedding and was there with her, in Minnesota, on her wedding day. Ashley taught me the true meaning of loyalty and selflessness. She’s the kind of person who gives and gives and loves and loves on such an incredibly deep level. I cherished every phone call, pasta dinner date, and walk around town that we shared. I’m forever grateful for her being the very first person to hire me and allow me to enter her wedding adventure.
One night, 7-months in, I called my brother crying. I felt overwhelmed with the decisions I had to make and the behind-the-scenes of a brand-new business and just life in general.
I googled “free business tutoring in NYC” and that’s how I met the man who changed my life. Ray. He’s 83 and I spend every other Saturday across from him inside of the library. The first time I met Ray, he kicked me out of his office. He established that If I wanted to work with him I had to do one thing, and one thing only: fail.
Every single day of my life. At first, this was the craziest thing I had ever heard. Possibly even more crazy than my idea of being a professional bridesmaid for strangers. But then, every week, when I walked in the door to meet Ray with my list of failures from the past 7 days, I began to understand one thing. Failure is what makes us closer to success.
If we don’t try, if we don’t set out to do something bold and uncertain, we’re wasting every ounce of our lives.
I’m writing this, to you, from my couch, as my heart is racing and my fingers are dancing around the keyboard, trying to find a way to tell you that while this adventure has been a lot of things (life-changing, exhausting, emotional, fairy-tale like), it has truly been a non-stop challenge that has tested every single ounce of my 5″6 self.
I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, but I am forever grateful that It did.
All my love, Bridesmaid for Hire.
The adventure continues!
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