I was in the same situation couple of months ago. You will need a UAE visa because of the immigration holding transit area is out of bounds for people who are not travelling.
On the bright side, applying for a 96-hour UAE transit visa is easy and quick from Emirates Airlines' Manage Booking portal if you are travelling with them. You don't even need to submit your passport for the visa if you are travelling with Emirates. I received a PDF bar-code visa in less than a day after applying.
If you are not travelling with Emirates, you should try the traditional way of applying for a UAE visa.