Business is Booming: Tuxedo industry struggling to keep products on the shelf

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CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The pandemic seemed to put a bit of a damper on everything last year.  Weddings were postponed, and a number of formal and black-tie events were scaled down.  This year, though, it’s been an almost complete 180, but trying to find what you need for those events right now is tough, according to many we spoke with–from brides-to-be to tailors and wedding planners.

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“I kinda knew that we were planning a wedding in the middle of a really crazy time,” said Brookelyn Riley, a bride-to-be from Concord, who will be getting married next month.  “We’ve had it easier, though, than other people during the pandemic, because they’ve had to change their date two or three times.”

Riley’s engagement is a short one–six months, and she has taken over the planning of the wedding herself–something that is a monumental task for any bride.  But she has luck and good timing on her side, and a non-traditional date for a wedding–September 11th.  Riley said she picked the date because, despite the significance of the date, it was one of the few availabilities she had for the wedding she wanted.

For many, though, they’re finding that everything is in high demand–everything from wedding dates and times to venues, florists, custom cardstock for wedding invitations, and even wedding attire.

“Our fabrics were from Italy and England,” said Walid Nassar with Myers Park Tailors.  “They were closed for about nine months before we could start getting the fabric back in our stores.”

There are a number of complicated and dynamic reasons for the high demand and what is right now being seen as a shortage for ‘all things formal’.  Firstly, retailers and planners noted that the pandemic delayed everything.  With those delays came pushing back the manufacturing of physical materials usually associated with weddings–including clothing–that have led to a shortage of items people may need or want for a wedding, whether rented or bought.

However, with some delaying their weddings until this year, it’s led to a glut of couples wanting to walk down the aisle.

“This weekend, we had our groom and father of the bride have no bow ties,” said Alexandra Stephens with Sincerely Jane Events, a wedding and event planning service.  Stephens noted the two were eventually able to get bow ties.

Stephens said anyone planning a wedding or any type of formal event before the end of 2021 needs to have realistic expectations.  And even if those events are postponed, those new bookings could extend into 2022 and 2023.

“We are adding to our team because we want to take on more weddings,” said Stephens.  “We don’t want to turn people down.”

Riley has maintained her realism throughout her wedding planning process.  She said she’s been realistic, and also concentrating on using local businesses in the Concord/Kannapolis area to get her wedding just right.

“People of their word and could help me out in this crazy time…that’s who I went with.  That was really important to me,” she said.

One of those realistic expectations planners are also talking about is the Delta variant.  Right now, they say they’re seeing no real effect on the business from that, but the lingering effects of the pandemic may have to be factored into any big plans down the road.

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