Kerstyn Walsh, 29, said she was working as a real estate agent in 2015, when she decided to become a ‘professional bridesmaid’
Kerstyn fell into the role after she was made the host for her friend Anna’s wedding and ended up coordinating many of the vendors and guests on the big day.
From brides who want to remove the organisational burden from their loved ones, to brides who simply don’t have enough friends, Kerstyn is available to stand in for up to $8,000 a ceremony.
Within weeks, she handed in her notice and set up her own business, Hire A Bridesmaid.
Kerstyn volunteered her services to several of her friends who were getting married that year for free to kick-start her business.
‘But word spread towards the end of 2015, and it wasn’t long before I was attending two or three weddings in a weekend and between 30 and 40 a year,’ she said.
Kerstyn estimates she has since been a bridesmaid at more than 150 ceremonies and has a closet of more than 70 dresses she has saved from ceremonies. She charges somewhere between $1,000 for on-the-day coordination and $8,000 for the average full bridesmaid package.
Kerstyn said women often employ her to do the running around so their closest friends and family can relax and take in the wedding day.
‘Brides often need someone who is willing to do all the jobs – whether it’s consult with the vendors or fix the speakers for the DJ,’ she said.
‘They want their friends and family to be fully present for the wedding, while I can help with chores.’Other times, she said that it’s simply a matter of numbers. Sometimes I’ve been hired when there are five groomsmen, but only four bridesmaids,’ she said.
Kerstyn said she typically meets with a bride several months out from the big day – in regular ‘bridal therapy’ sessions where she learns about their personality and what they want from their wedding.
Among her 150 weddings, there have been many highlights for Kerstyn, and a few disasters too. Kerstyn said once a bride didn’t show up for 45 minutes while other weddings have run out of alcohol.
‘There have also been countless times when the speakers haven’t worked and I’ve quickly had to help the DJs sort out the sound system,’ Kerstyn said.