Assistant ed Amy Shearer chats to David Emanuel about presenting 'Say Yes to the Dress', shopping for The One, and designing Princess Diana's iconic wedding dress

What do you do when you meet bridal royalty? Get a photograph, of course…

Who do you think of when you think of bridal designers? Chances are, even if you don’t know your bouquets from your buttonholes or your Bardot from your beaded bodices, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll have heard of bridal royalty, David Emanuel.

The Welsh bridal industry stalwart is, of course, famed for designing none other than Princess Diana’s wedding dress – a now iconic gown made of ivory silk, pure taffeta and antique lace – that was seen by over 700 million people worldwide as she headed into St Paul’s Cathedral in London in 1981.

Since then, the designer (who is basically wedding royalty himself!) has helped hundreds of brides ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ on TLC, and I was lucky enough to meet the man himself at the Harrogate Bridal Week trade show where he was offering his expertise in partnership with fellow TV host and bridal designer Christine Dando of Dando London.

With over 40-years(!) passing since all eyes were on the beloved Diana as she made her way down the aisle, it’s fair to say that someone who has been in the beautiful world of brides for that length of time will have picked up a tip or ten about all things bridal fashion.

Is this arguably the most iconic wedding dress in the world? I’d say yes… (Photo via BBC/PA Media)

So naturally, when I came face-to-face with the industry icon, I had to get the inside scoop to share with Tie the Knot Scotland readers (and a selfie, obvvo)…

Where do you begin when it comes to shopping for your wedding dress, David? 

“When a bride is looking for her dream dress, it is only natural to feel nervous or anxious – it’s a huge moment and you want to make sure what you choose makes you leave feeling absolutely on top of the world.

You need to have people on hand to give you good advice and be totally objective, a consultant is there to help you. I’d also suggest taking no more than three people to your appointment such as your mum, mother-in-law and best friend.

It should (and will be) a blissful journey so just relax into it, I promise that you will always find the gown for you.”

What things do you need to consider when shopping for your dress?

“Well firstly it is always important to set out your budget. There would be nothing worse than falling in love with a gown when trying it ‘on for fun’ but then not being able to afford it – that’s not nice for anyone.

It is also worth outlining where you will be getting married, is it in a garden? A castle? Keeping this in mind when shopping should help you in the right direction.”

How do you even know what dresses to start looking at?

“Keeping an open mind is very important as what you might think you want could end up not being the one for you. Looking at your own wardrobe is a good starting point – what do you feel comfortable in? Is there a particular neckline or shape that you tend to stick to or go towards?

Doing your research is also helpful as having a starting point is a good way to make the most of your appointment.

Doing all of these things will help everything go smoothly, and ensure there are no tears before bedtime!”

When should you start shopping or looking for your dream dress? 

“You want to make sure you are calm and not panicked, so don’t leave anything too late.

There can be long lead times when ordering a dress from a designer, and you want to also ensure you have time at the other end if any small alterations.

So to ensure you have the experience you want and deserve make sure you don’t leave things to the last minute. There’s no fun in the experience when you’re only worried about getting the gown on time!”

What’s your favourite thing about bridal appointments?

“I love nothing more than that moment where you find someone ‘their dress’ – seeing the relief, joy and happiness on someone’s face is so satisfying.

It’s rewarding to know you have been part of someone’s journey and managed to get them something that makes them feel incredible.

That’s what it is all about.”

Is there any one particular style or dress that you love?

“Each season something different catches my eye – things are always evolving and changing in the bridal world which is what makes it so beautiful and special.

I love coming to trade shows like Harrogate as you’re always surprised and excited about what is on offer.”

What an honour to have created Princess Diana’s dress – and for us to interview the man behind the design! (Photo: @historic_imagery on Instagram)

And finally, on behalf of Princess Diana fans everywhere, what was she really like to work with?

“It is no word of a lie that she was as genuinely kind, sweet and special as everyone thinks she is.

She was a joy to work with, it was divine being able to not only work with her on her wedding dress, but on countless other occasions too.

Designing a dress for the biggest wedding in the world at that point still means the world to me. She of course had to look like a princess, and that she did.”

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