Manipulating to get their dream gowns

Daphne Iking and Jovian Mandagie host Say Yes To The Dress Asia, the Asian version of the popular American reality television series.
Daphne Iking and Jovian Mandagie host Say Yes To The Dress Asia, the Asian version of the popular American reality television series.PHOTO: TLC SOUTHEAST ASIA

Say Yes To The Dress Asia host says the brides strategise so as not to offend family or friends when their dress choices differ

The brides on Say Yes To The Dress Asia, the Asian version of the popular American reality television series, tend to be less vocal than their American counterparts.

But that is not to say the Asian show is any less juicy or dramatic.

As Daphne Iking, one of the show's hosts, tells The Straits Times, the Asian brides featured on the show still get their point across, albeit in a roundabout manner.

The 39-year-old Malaysian says: "Asian brides are a little more reserved. They know what they want, but when it comes to saying it out loud to their entourage - and it's a very opinionated entourage - they're going, 'How do I say this to my mother-in-law? What am I going to say?'

"They don't want to offend. But they will manipulate the situation or strategise with someone else to say it for them."

Like the American original, the Asian series, which is airing on TLC (StarHub TV Channel 427 and Singtel TV Channel 254), features brides on the hunt for their dream wedding gowns.

Given that they can have differing opinions over dress choices from their family or friends, conflict can ensue.

There was a bride named Khalida, for example, who had trouble rejecting her Iranian mother-in-law's wedding gown design.

Iking's co-host on the show, Malaysian fashion designer Jovian Mandagie, recalls: "It was really awkward. Khalida's mother-in-law came in to surprise her with a dress that she had sewn herself.

"So there was so much pressure on Khalida to say yes to her mother-in-law's dress, or to proceed shopping with us. The one prepared by her mother-in-law was not what she wanted and it was very difficult for her to say no."

Things were made even harder by the mother-in-law's poker face.

Iking says: "We didn't know how she felt because her face was always just sweet. We couldn't tell whether she was happy or sad."

Besides the different temperaments, Mandagie, 31, points out another major difference between the Asian and American versions - the colour of the gowns.

He says: "In the US, wedding dresses are usually all white.

"But in Asia, wedding dresses come in so many beautiful colours. That reflects a lot of the different Asian cultures too. We had so much fun picking out all these lovely coloured dresses for the brides."

Ultimately, no matter what the dress looks like, it is still all about choosing the one that the bride is in love with, say the hosts.

Just make sure she does not leave everything to the last minute.

Iking says: "People always say, 'I'll wait, I'll wait', because they're so busy dealing with other things like the venue and the theme. But that's when they start panicking.

"So allocate enough time to pick your dress. It is your wedding dress, after all."

• Say Yes To The Dress Asia airs on TLC (StarHub TV Channel 427 and Singtel TV Channel 254) on Fridays at 9pm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2017, with the headline 'Manipulating to get their dream gowns'. Print Edition | Subscribe