By Paul Pannone
eWedNewz continues our investigation of data and information driving the wedding business, plagued by a decreasing number of traditional events and an increasing number of vendors fighting for survival. Included in the over supply of vendors are wedding planners and self-proclaimed experts. More and more these experts decree information based on opinion– not fact– reaching epidemic proportions, according to proven experts.
Experts in the field of wedding planning are often sought after by clients expecting them to have general knowledge of every aspect of planning a perfect day. But when they don’t have the answer, some fill with opinions and tips created to sound like they have an authoritative voice.
For nearly a year members of the Wedding Water Cooler have discussed the topic, citing dozens of cases where self-proclaimed experts spout information that is far from credible and sometimes laughable.
Planner members of the Wedding Water Cooler say they yield to true experts in their field, often turning to their vendors for updated, specific information instead of interjecting what they believe is current reality or even worse, opinion.
“It’s hard to argue with another member of the “tribe”; every background has one. It makes matters worse when you don’t allow for those (experts) to answer questions for research. Besides the “fake trends” and “society beliefs” are only an opinion. I deal with it everyday,” according to Celebrity Planner, Samantha Goldberg.
Goldberg supports communication with vendor-experts she says are in the trenches, dealing with product-specific topics. After 22 years, Goldberg told eWedNewz she starting 2012 with a new outlook, updating her persona with information based on fact, rather than opinionated fiction.
But how far does accreditation go and does any amount supersede the everyday experiences of a real expert? Some members of the WWC agree classes, seminar and degrees get you into the game and allow general planners to have a working knowledge of what their vendors are talking about. But none say anyone’s opinion is Gospel or changes the very essence of the product or how it is delivered.
Deborah McCoy says she’s always been a friend to the formal wear business but doesn’t see tuxedos used before 5PM.
One case last week involved an accredited planner, Deborah McCoy. McCoy’s experience speaks for itself and she even offers classes to teach others how to become a wedding planner for as little as $199 dollars down and $49 dollars a month.
As part of her services, McCoy e blasts daily tips to her subscribers made up of all sectors of wedding professionals, include formal wear experts. Last week, McCoy sent out the follow a bit of information:
Most weddings are semi-formal and may take place at any time of day: morning, afternoon, or evening. Tuxes, however, are never worn by bridal-party members or guests until after 5 p.m.
Members of the formal wear business forwarded the tip to eWedNewz wanted to know what we think. We posted the statement in Wedding Water Cooler and immediately started getting reactions from fashion experts that, for years, have complained about interns working at major bridal publications and opinionated, self-proclaimed “experts” that spout off information without any merit.
The most vocal comments came from Jim Duhe, who has openly blasted wrong opinions and harmful information. Duhe reached out to McCoy and offered a refresher course in the use of Daytime formal and semi-formal men’s formal wear. Duhe’s knowledge about the men’s tuxedo category is as good or better than any expert we’ve met. At the end of his exchange with McCoy he concluded;
“There’s no question that Debra must know something about bridal gowns. You can’t own a store for 15 years and learn nothing. She must also know something about flowers. She’s been in that business for six years. However, you don’t become an expert chef by enjoying a good meal.”
eWedNewz reached out to McCoy to see exactly what her statement was based on. In our discussion she skirted several direct questions and tried to give us a 101 etiquette course on the proper use of cutaway, strollers, stripe pants and ascots– a topic I mastered in 1984. eWedNewz asked whether she based her statement on a study or poll and if so, what are the particulars. Who did she poll and how many people responded. She had no answer. She did mention reading articles that included the published findings of Conde’ Nast– the very source of information Duhe discredits.
In the discussion, she softened her stance to the point where a follow-up email would have ended the exchange. Instead, McCoy would not sign off on what we discussed and wanted to revisit some of the key points we already went over– four times– in a telephone interview.
After suggesting we were getting the runaround, McCoy left a voice messaging curiously interjecting my Italian heritage but not clearly stating why she did. Her voice message seemed strained and overly stated but still gave no legitimate reason she downplayed the use of tuxedos before 5PM.
eWedNewz took the statement to the people on Face Book and several hundred members of the formal wear business. Here are some of the (printable) responses we got back;
“Are these people INSANE! Day or Evening Weddings or for that matter all weddings should be Black Tie or at least cocktail attire. Let’s get people dressed back up again. Sick of going out on a Saturday night to a nice dinner in a fancy Restaurant to have someone sitting next to me in a polo shirt and jeans. Give me a break! Come on MAN! REALLY……. These people need a good kick in the ass.These are weddings. The most important day of someones life. Respect and dress the part, unless your wedding is on a farm, in a barn.We are now seeing destination weddings taking tuxedo’s away to an Island, just because they want to look back on the wedding picture and know it was a wedding and not a Tommy Bahama sun dance. Many Thanks From a real Formalwear Expert not a chain or mall store where they have NO CLUE!”
President, Tuxedo House
Furman’s reply and opinion is far to the left of McCoy’s but shows the passion– pro tuxedo use– necessary to balance off the discussion.
Anthony Commisso, owner of Tuxego in Latham, NY responded;
“Did I miss an edict that gave this anonymous person the divine reign over formal wear etiquette? Next they’ll be rewriting the Gospels. I’m not implying that a bride and groom do not have the option of how they want their wedding to look and feel. The appropriate times and attire have been defined for a century.
Larger members of the formal wear community also responded. Dennis Schmidt, owner of Milroy’s in Iowa said;
“Gentlemen should wear Tuxedos to an event where the women are in formal attire. It is that simple. Timing usually doesn’t matter because again she (Bride and Bridesmaids) are in formal gown(s) and usually (like in a wedding) it will continue throughout the evening.”
Gary Davis of national wholesaler, Jim’s Formal wear writes;
“This is a very old and traditional concept of not wearing tuxedos before 5 pm (I thought it was after 6.) However, the appropriate time to wear a tuxedo has changed with the times like everything else. At the time this may have been the norm. You wore a Cutaway or Stroller for the daytime ceremony and then changed into a tuxedo for the evening functions (like Prince William did at his.) However today, who has the time or the money to rent or buy appropriate clothing for different times of the day?
Most brides can’t afford to buy two dresses, one for the day and another for the evening, so why should the men be expected to? As elaborate as the bridal and bridesmaid dresses are today, it is totally inappropriate for the groom
and his party to wear anything less than a tuxedo, regardless of the time of day or the location! To do so should be an insult to the bride. It is more about the man dressing appropriately for the occasion and matching the formality of the bridal wardrobe.
Whether in the church or on the beach, in the morning or middle of the day, when the bride has her long dreamed of
formal wedding dress, the groom should be dressed to accent.
I would also compare it to the young couples going to their homecomings or proms where the girl has purchased a beautiful dress, but the guy shows up in a shirt and Khaki’s! There is always a reason to not dress appropriately, but that is demeaning to the bride or special someone when they spend so much time and money to look their best for one of the most memorable events in their lives.”
Mr. Davis is one of the tuxedo business’ most respected authority on men’s formal wear, spanning decades of experience and three generations of dedicated service to the industry. His view intersects with others including wedding analyst, Christine Boulton. Her general knowledge of the wedding business is second to none but her specific area of expertise originated in the wedding cake business. Boulton has fought against fairy dust and decrees given by unqualified sources. Here is what she had to say:
“It would seem to me that anytime the ladies are in formal attire, the men should be as well. Period. On the topic of experts: If you want an experts opinion, go to an expert in that field. If it’s about cake, ask a pastry chef. If it’s about flowers, ask a florist….food, ask a chef or a caterer…. accommodations, ask a hotelier….transportation, call a limousine company.
Part of the problem with content being the driving force for SEO these days is that everybody is scrambling to get content on the web. They don’t give a rat’s ass if the content is valid, just if it has the right keywords in it. I think you get my drift.”
Since eWedNewz began investigating the story, several Wedding Water Cooler members said they’ve subscribed to McCoy’s feed. Others aware of the story said they’ve been looking for new information to emerge. Days after the exchanges, the following email from McCoy dated January 6th, 2011, about men’s formal wear was made public;
Formal weddings: Should you decide to host a formal wedding, you will put the words “Black Tie” on either the right-hand or left-hand side of the invitation at the bottom. (This is known as a “corner copy”.) “Black Tie” tells guests that the wedding is formal and that formal wear is required of all guests–no exceptions!
Happy Wedding Planning All!
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