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What does the sudden closure of Dapper and Dashing say about wedding trends?

Published Friday, Aug. 11th, 2023


Photo: Jason Briscoe / Unsplash

A national network of formalwear brands called Dapper and Dashing closed suddenly this week – shuttering storefronts in nearly a dozen states overnight and leaving hundreds of couples, wedding guests, and employees in the lurch.

 

These popular stores included Savvi Formalwear Store and Anya Bridal Store in Atlanta and across Georgia (via 11Alive), Tip Top Tux and Dream Dress Express in Iowa (via KTIV.com), a dozen American Commodore Tuxedo locations in Ohio, two dozen locations in Texas, and one in Colorado (via Akron Beacon Journal).

 

According to the Dapper and Dashing website, which was still up at the time of writing, there are also locations in Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, which have likely closed. 

 

What do these sudden closures say about wedding trends and the fate of the wedding industry? 

 

Well, the cause of the Dapper and Dashing’s closure hasn’t been announced yet. But it’s not the first wedding-wear retailer to fail suddenly and dramatically in recent months… and there seem to be a few possibilities for the trend. 

 

Local papers are littered with similar headlines: The Princess Bridal Boutique, in Houston, Texas, closed suddenly in July, leaving dozens of brides scrambling for a wedding dress (via abc13). Maplewood Bridal in New Jersey closed suddenly in March; London and Lace closed overnight in Asheville, North Carolina, in June;  La Raine’s Bridal Boutique closed in Atlanta in May; Mestad’s Bridal and Formal Wear in Rochester, New York, closed in February after 43 years in business; and the list goes on and on. 

 

Even mega-retailer David’s Bridal, with 195 stores, almost shut down earlier this year, barely escaping closure by declaring bankruptcy and seeking another company to take over the business (via Reuters)

 

 

Close up as two grooms prepare for a wedding ceremony, a groom places a flower on the other's jacket

Photo:  Mélanie Villeneuve / Unsplash

 

 

A widespread wedding industry trend 

 

The problem appears to be widespread, and it would be impossible to point to any single factor as the cause. Instead, it’s probably the result of several compounding factors, and a few new wedding trends.

 

A few wedding trends are probably responsible:

 

  • More couples are choosing nontraditional weddings and wedding attire and themed costumes
  • More couples are eloping 
  • Wedding parties are getting smaller, with fewer attendants in need of formal wear
  • Courthouse weddings, 'sign and go' ceremonies, and micro-weddings are on the rise
  • More brides are choosing black dresses and other alternative colors 
  • More marriers are choosing gender neutral or gender nonconforming attire
  • Vintage and DIY fashions are BIG right now
  • Budgets are tight! 
  • COVID-19 pandemic closures and creativity 

 

One of the most important causes behind this shift is probably the pandemic – and not just because of economic losses due to precautions in 2020 and 2021. 

 

During the pandemic, couples were encouraged to think outside the box. Weddings got smaller, more intimate, and more untraditional. Bold color choices and themed weddings became popular, and carefree ‘sign and go’ ceremonies replaced large formal weddings. 

 

For many younger couples, the past few years have provided the freedom to choose a wedding they want – including the freedom to ditch the stuffy tuxedos and thousand-dollar dresses of weddings past. 

 

If wedding retailers (and venues, vendors, and officiants) want to thrive in the years to come, it’s likely they’ll need to adapt to meet the needs of a more diverse, less gendered, and creative group of marriers. 

 

Here are a few resources to help you stay successful in 2023, 2024, and beyond!

 

 

 


 

Read Next: 

 

Wedding officiant holds up a phone to take a selfie of himself and two newlyweds he just married

Learn the value of a great online portfolio and digital presence when marketing your wedding officiant business with 6 business and marketing tips from Officiant Sherri Crawford. Read the full article here.

 


 

 

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Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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