18 brides, each on one mission to find the wedding dress. Throw in the pressure for family and friends’ approval… you can imagine where the story is heading. All this captured, for the first time, on TLC’s newly announced Say Yes To The Dress Asia.
Following this news, dynamic duo Jovian Mandagie and Daphne Iking were soon unveiled by the entertainment and lifestyle portal as the show’s hosts. Luminaries in their respective field – Jovian as a celebrated fashion designer, and Daphne, a seasoned presenter and host – the two could not be a better fit, joining brides and their loved ones as they seek out their dream dress.
Unlike the western editions, the Asian one banks on the diverse ethnicities and races of the brides. Each episode features customised gowns from handpicked designers and bridal houses to suit the different brides and their preferences. But that’s only the beginning of the drama.
At a recent tour of the set, we arrived just in time to catch Daphne and Jovian guiding a bride and her entourage through the unveiling of a gown. Between takes, we spent a few minutes catching up with the hosts to discover some interesting facts about Say Yes To The Dress Asia.
It’s their first reality show together, as friends.
Daphne (D): I consider this as one of the biggest gigs in my career so I’m definitely excited. Plus I get to work with Jovian!
Jovian (J): Hosting this show is a dream come true. When I got called a few months back, I jumped for joy. It was an intense casting period involving multiple auditions with potential hosts, before we were eventually paired off. Daphne and I have been friends for the past 10 years – I actually made her wedding dress!
Scenes are real, unscripted, and spontaneous.
D: The good thing about this reality show is it’s all real, it’s what’s happening in real time. There was one episode that was emotional for the bride and myself; we could relate to each other, having recently lost a parent to cancer. I broke down with her and the cameras rolled on. I’d like to think I’m making a friend out of these brides, and show the emotions that take place. I’m glad they let it be part of the story.
J: My main challenge was to make sure I’m being real to myself and the brides, that what’s taped is me as a designer. Solving problems for brides is my day job.
Their idea of the perfect wedding dress is…
D: I’ve experienced one elaborate wedding and one simpler one, but at the end of the day, the main factors are comfort, then budget.
J: When you’re confident and feel good about it. When a bride puts on a perfect dress, she will feel it and know it when she sees herself in the mirror. Also, understand what you need and make sure it’s suitable for the wedding theme. We infuse a lot of ethnicities here, Malay, Indian and Chinese. We are showing the world Asian traditions.
D: Unlike the western versions that are more outspoken, here we see how our Asian culture is more sensitive. It’s interesting to see behind-the-scenes interviews and what they want to say so as not to offend each other. That’s where the drama comes in.
There’s a story behind every ‘yes’.
D: It’s not just about the dress, it’s also about the stories behind it. Viewers can easily relate to some of these brides and their experiences. Brides-to-be will discover a conclusion to a similar problem they’re facing, how to handle a problem gracefully.
J: Seeing families united over the whole process of finding the right dress is a touching experience. And then friendship, how its values go into deciding the bride’s perfect dress. It drives a different perspective to the show.
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