Here’s the questions I’ve been struggling with lately:

In an increasingly casual world in which traditions are updated or discarded, we risk downplaying the significance of formal events and occasions… so… by succumbing to this drive to informality, are we doing a disservice to our brides?

And in doing so, do we risk losing relevance as an industry, participating in our own demise?

Most of us…designers, retailers, media… support reinforcing the formal aspect of weddings… not just because it’s good for business, but because each of us through the creative and fabrication process strives to provide the apparel and accessories that help the bride shine in the spotlight of a very personal and culturally significant event.

But though our brides tell us they are planning a “formal” wedding, many seem not to fully understand what that means in terms of their style choices for their wedding party… nor how these choices impact their presence at the ceremony and in the photos and videos of the event.

A big part of looking her best, of thoroughly enjoying the moment… her moment…is the complementing or contrasting cast with which she surrounds herself.

It is, of course, bridesmaids and men’s dressing that is the most jarring, as too often maids are encouraged to wear a variety of different styles, sometimes within a general color range, and grooms and groomsmen wear suits instead of the more formal tuxedo.

Granted these are the most demanding of the categories, requiring ever more attention and subtlety (with at times declining returns)…however I do think we give up an interaction that clearly defines us as knowledgeable advisors when we refrain from gently educating the bride as to what “formal” looks like.