'Say Yes to the Dress Arabia' host Khalil Zein is always on the bride's side

What viewers can expect from the upcoming reality series


Ambica Sachin

Published: Mon 7 Feb 2022, 6:30 PM

As every bride worth her red tinged Louboutins knows, finding the perfect partner to walk down that aisle is not half as challenging as zeroing down on that perfect dress to commemorate the special occasion.

The hunt for that wow dress has turned many an easygoing woman into a fire breathing bridezilla.

And for the first time in the region, Say Yes to The Dress Arabia, is offering a behind the scenes look at brides from the region, from various cultural backgrounds, who will go through the trials and tribulations of picking up their wedding dress, with a camera in tow.

Ahead of the Middle Eastern debut of the show (Starzplay) based on the popular American reality series from 2007, we catch up with Lebanese celebrity stylist, Khalil Zein, (Nancy Ajram, Maya Diab and Rahma Riad are among his clients), who is the host with the most demanding job of all - to assist 20 odd brides as they go about the emotional task of picking a suitable dress to get married in.

Filmed at bridal boutique Hazar Haute Countre in Dubai, the reality series sees Zein offering up his sage advice to the brides who along with their family and friends are on the quest to find the special dress that fits their budget as well the image in their head.

Dressing one bride itself is a monumental task! How did you manage 20 of them for this show?

When you are confident and persuasive nothing is hard. There are several factors to consider when helping find the perfect dress, like their budget, theme, outdoor or indoor wedding and then I work according to what is suitable.

Across cultures, generations, and ages, what is the common factor brides have when it comes to choosing their wedding dress?

They all want a dress that makes them feel unique and beautiful. No matter what generation, culture, or age, all brides want to feel and look like a princess on their special day.

You have dressed many celebs from across the region, including Haifa Wehbe and Nancy Ajram. What is the one thing you look for when you sign on a client?

I look at their character; every celebrity I’ve dressed has their own identity, personality, and style. I need to understand the client’s character to see if she can pull off the look we are styling. It also depends on the event, if it’s a red carpet, a casual event, or a shoot, it all varies. For example, Haifa Wehbe and Myriam Fares who I styled recently, each have their own identity and style, so you can’t style and dress them the same. So, accordingly, character and personality are the top factor I look at when I sign a client.

You are part of a woman’s most cherished moment in her life - as such what do you bring to the table to make the day extra special?

This is one of the most important days and every bride wants to feel beautiful in her wedding dress. I hope to help brides feel beautiful and special on this day.

Dressing a bride comes with its fair share of drama, theatrics and some pretty low points as well we are sure. How do you handle it all?

All brides are stressed before their wedding, and you get a bridezilla now and then! I handle it by reassuring the bride, being supportive, and uplifting her. It’s important to let the bride know that you are on her side!

Tell us one instance when a bride/celeb’s diva like tantrums made you wish you weren’t part of the business!

This happens all the time! I work with many celebs and stars and some are harder to work with than others. But throughout the years I learned that patience is key. If I’m working with a crazy bride or celeb it’s important to stay calm and collected. Business is business!

How has the idea of the wedding dress changed over the years and what are brides looking for today?

From formal covered dresses to strapless princess dresses, bridal wear changed a lot throughout the years. Every woman has an attitude, you need to look at the bride’s personality and choose a dress that fits her character. Some brides like to look very daring and over the top, others go for a simpler look.

However, after Covid and everything that happened in the last few years, brides are looking for simpler, cleaner looks. Brides are no longer going to the extreme; they are going for something simpler and safer. Weddings nowadays are a lot smaller, so the dress needs to fit the simple theme, but in our Arab world we prefer big gowns with more details.

Say Yes to The Dress Arabia premieres on Friday, 
February 11, on streaming platform STARZPLAY in 
partnership with Discovery.

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