Tiffany is like any typical bridesmaid. She cried at the bridal dress fitting, necked shots during the hen-do, and has been counting down to The Big Day™ for weeks. When the morning of the wedding comes, she’ll be the one calming the bride’s nerves; curling the mother-in-law’s hair, and creating an environment worthy of a wedding.
But then, she’s not like any other bridesmaid at all. Because Tiffany is being paid to be there.
With the average wedding costing an eye-watering £27,000, it’s hardly surprising that newly-weds-to-be want everything to be perfect. Which is where Tiffany comes in. The professional bridesmaid makes a living from going undercover at weddings, to ensure things go off without a hitch.
“I’m a bit like a secret wedding planner but solely for the bride,” she tells Cosmopolitan UK. “Brides hire me to help them secure the wedding of their dreams – from finding their perfect wedding dress, to nailing the hen party. If a bride is unsure her bridesmaids will fulfil their duties, she’ll come to me.
“99% of the time, brides want the fact they’ve hired me to be kept a secret – even from the groom. So the first time we meet, we concoct a backstory of our friendship, to convince people we’ve known each other for years. Typically, we’ll say we met travelling and that I’ve been living in a different country.
“From there, I have to learn everything about the bride – and I mean everything. From her first boyfriend to where she went to school, as well as intimate family dynamics. I end up having massive files on the brides – it can feel like working for MI5! Remembering multiple stories can be challenging, but my cover has never been blown – although one bride did drunkenly announce my true identity to the whole wedding, which her dad was shocked by.”
The amount of time Tiffany spends with the bride before the big day varies – on one occasion, they had only met twice, while on another, they had more than fifty meetings. Despite her commitment to forming a believable backstory, other members of the bridal party have been doubtful of her.
“Maids of honour get the most suspicious,” Tiffany admits. “I’ve been bombarded with questions about the bride a couple of times, but thankfully have always done my homework. On one occasion, we were planning the hen-do, and the head bridesmaid was pushing for strippers and inflatable penises. The bride had made it clear to me that she wanted something incredibly elegant, so when I suggested something different, I could tell the maid of honour was thinking, ‘Who is this girl?’
“The craziest request I’ve had from a bride was when she asked me to spy on her groom’s stag-do and flew me out to Ibiza. For the whole weekend I followed them to different bars and reported back to her (FYI he was very well behaved). In the end, she told him what she had done and sadly they didn’t go through with the wedding.”
On the actual wedding day, Tiffany does everything she can to make things run smoothly – from the minute the bride wakes up, to when she leaves with her new husband. “I get ready with the bride and other bridesmaids, and always bring a special kit for emergencies – paracetamol, phone chargers, blister plasters and so on! Bin liners are key when I help the bride to the toilet; I’ll cut a hole in the bottom and then she steps into it and it lifts up her whole dress, so she can sit on the loo without it falling in.”
The undercover bridesmaid’s duties go beyond the bride, though. “I’ve had to pep talk rowdy family members, and keep an eye on how much people are drinking. One bride even asked me to intervene in the best man’s speech, because she was so worried about it being inappropriate.
“I always join in for the wedding toast, but I’ll never get drunk on the job in fear of letting my true identity slip. I’m very good at ‘accidentally’ leaving my glass somewhere, slinging shots over my shoulder or pouring drinks into flowerbeds. That said, I will stay until the very end of the night (or weekend if it’s a longer affair); when the bride and groom leave as a married couple, I know they no longer need my help.”
The best bit about her job, Tiffany says, is getting to enjoy multiple weddings a year, eating delicious cake, and wearing beautiful dresses. “Moneywise it can be good too; I charge brides anywhere between £40 to £100 per hour and sometimes even more if I’m doing a whole wedding. I've been an undercover bridesmaid nine times, and I’m now real friends with a lot of my clients.
“In total, I’ve helped 100 brides. I’ve arranged engagement parties, gone bridesmaid dress shopping, helped pick out wedding dresses, arranged honeymoons and even choreographed first dances. I also do ‘bridezilla vent sessions’ where brides can send me videos of themselves having a bridezilla moment and then I’ll send them a video back offering advice on the situation.
“I already have nine weddings lined up for next year. Currently, I’m working with a bride who wants me to dye my hair brunette so that I’ll match her other bridesmaids because she thinks it’ll look better in the photos. As a professional bridesmaid, of course I’ll do it – there’s no point saying you’ll make someone’s life easier if you won’t.”
Check out Tiffany's website, The Undercover Bride
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