Ideas & Advice

Say Yes To The Dress Asia hosts: "Asian brides are more reserved and don't like to offend"

Image consultant Daphne Iking and fashion designer Jovian Mandagie on what to expect from the upcoming Asian edition of the popular US reality show, tips for Asian brides and shopping mistakes to avoid.

TLC's hit reality show Say Yes To The Dress is making its way to Southeast Asia! 

A pop-up boutique stocked with wedding dresses from around Asia takes over the American edition's Kleinfield Bridal to help 18 brides get the gown of their dreams  Hosted by TV presenter and image consultant Daphne Iking, a well-known face in the Malaysian entertainment industry, as well as Jovian Mandagie, one of Malaysia's top fashion designers, the pair help brides navigate the emotional ups and downs of nailing the perfect dress, while highlighting the unique cultures of Southeast Asia (from Indian Lenghas to Malay Kebayas and a Chinese Cheongsam). They tell us more: 


Say Yes To The Dress is a big show in the U.S.! How is the Asian edition different?

Daphne: I think it’s the stories. I think viewers will be able to relate very well to the stories of Asian brides on our show. You would definitely know a bride like those appearing in our show – it could be yourself or it could be someone you know! ‘Oh my god, yes, I know that bride. She is exactly like so and so because she has a mother-in- law who has done this so and so.’

Every story is also set in a very Asian context and culture. For example, I think as Asians we don’t like to offend people, we tend to be reserved with our comments. Even though sometimes we want to bitch aloud about our unhappiness or frustrations, we don’t do that. We don’t disrespect our elders. That’s just wrong. So it's also interesting to see how these brides-to-be get their points across. For instance, brides who are very reserved and want to articulate their opinions to their strong-minded mother-in- laws - we see how they manipulate the situation to get their way without offending anyone.

Jovian: I think ‘Say Yes to the Dress Asia’ is going to be very colourful because Asians love colour! You can also expect interesting and different designs, themes and dress silhouettes. Asian brides prefer to wear something that is more subtle and conservative, nothing too revealing or sexy. And the dress detailing is way, way more colourful and intricate as compared to the styles from the US.


Any tips for brides when they go dress shopping?

Jovian: I think number one is do your research. Always make sure that you come in with the pictures or references of what you want to wear, so that it will help us to find and create the right dress for you. When you have too many options, indecision sets in!

Number two - make sure your dream dress fits your budget and is comfortable to wear so you can smile and enjoy all your big day the festivities. If you plan to bring someone along to shop for your dress, bring your best friend: they know best what looks good on you and will be honest with their comments. Mothers tend to come with lot of restrictions: for example maybe something that looks nice on you will might be too sexy for her etc. Best friends tend to honest and true to you. 

Daphne: I think one of the mistakes you can make when going dress hunting is to try on too many dresses and get all confused. Do your research, know what you want and then edit your preferences to seven or eight dresses. Anything more than that and you may have to go to different stores and salons to try more dresses. My sister tried on so many dresses that she became crazy, really literally crazy, and the experience mentally broke her down. So I think a big mistake for brides is that they want to try on many dresses but in the end the experience will just confuse them. Also it’s important to try on the dress you like and view it in natural daylight, because some of the store interiors can be very dim and the dress can look very different. If the boutique’s a bit dark or dim, or they are using some special lights, check out the dress for yourself under natural lighting. I also agree with Jovian that you should pick someone that you actually trust when you go dress shopping. I know a bride who brought along her very bitchy colleague because she said this lady is so bitchy, I know she is going to be honest with me. But all she wanted to do was just just bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch! Everything was wrong! So that wasn’t very constructive.

And the same goes for someone who is just too nice, where the person is like, ‘Yeah, that looks nice, and yeah that looks good to me too,’ So that doesn’t help either. Go with someone whose  opinion you really, really trust - and that usually is your best friend. 


What tips do you have when it comes to deciding on the perfect gown? 
Jovian: Number one, before you start shopping, or before you even meet your fashion designer, you have to start with the research. Bring along ideas and preferences that will help you focus on what you like rather than having so many confusing possibilities. You also need to consider the wedding venue, the time and other little details that will help you decide on the right dress.

Daphne: I think a lot of brides forget to set aside a budget for accessories to match the dress and complete your bridal look - the veil, shoes, lingerie, jewellery etc. And I think that’s something brides need to remember when they shop for the dress, to make sure that they’ve got a budget for accessories as well as alterations. And always make sure you wear the right lingerie when you’re going in for your fitting. Wear a nude strapless bra that is smooth, not one of those lacy bumpy ones. And slip on nice seamless panties or a G-string if you’re comfortable with that.

And make sure you’re in good spirits before you go shopping! I always have a meal before shopping because then I won’t be so grumpy - I get cranky when I don’t get my food!



And finally, Jovian, you had designed dresses for many brides.  What's your most memorable experience?
Jovian: I had a client, Umie Aida, who is an actress from Malaysia and I really enjoyed designing her dress because it was for her ceremony in Mecca, in front of the Kaaba, so it was very memorable. It was a very intimate and serene occasion and an emotional experience for us to be there, in front of the holy Kaaba. The dress I made for her was actually quite a simple one - a caftan style made of silk and beautiful trims that I got from Paris. It was a truly memorable experience.

Say Yes To The Dress Asia premeries 24th November 2017, 9pm, on TLC.