With a new series of Married at First Sight UK on our screens, many people are wondering whether it’s actually legally binding, aka. a “real” marriage.
For some, the prospect of getting hitched to someone you’ve never met or even seen before is a baffling prospect. But for others, it’s a leap of faith worth taking for the chance to find a perfectly-matched partner for life. Either way, that’s the premise of Married at First Sight. It’s the latest must-watch reality television show to air recently, following the release of hotly anticipated dramas like HBO’s The White Lotus and Nine Perfect Strangers earlier this month.
So how much have the Married at First Sight couples really committed to each other? Plus, everything else you need to know about the new series.
Is Married at First Sight UK legally binding?
No, the marriages on Married at First Sight UK are not legally binding.
A spokesperson for the show told Metro.co.uk recently, “Following the Australian format, rather than legal marriages, the couples will make a lifelong commitment to one another at a glamorous ceremony, overseen by a wedding celebrant, that includes guests, bridal gowns, dancing, speeches and cake.”
But this comes as a surprise to most fans of the show as it’s only the Australian and UK versions that don’t include legally binding marriages.
Executive producer of MAFS US, Chris Coelen, spoke to The Wrap and confirmed that the contestants in the American series sign a marriage license after filming their ceremony.
However, he said, “There is a prenup that is built-in. It’s a very short, brief prenup. It basically says what they walk into [the marriage with], is what they walk out of the marriage with.”
So far, none of the contestants from either series of MAFS UK have stayed together after getting married.
Who pays for the wedding on Married at First Sight?
It’s not clear who exactly pays for the wedding but there are monetary allowances from the production company for certain elements of the celebration.
Clark James was a contestant on the show in 2016. He told Cosmopolitan UK, “There’s a small budget for the wedding dress, and stag-dos. But there’s no financial gain from going on the show.
“There’s budget for things – her wedding dress, a small budget for the suits. There’s some money for hen-do and stag-dos, but it was mainly out of my pocket. I think they put money towards travel or something. But there was genuinely no monetary gain. Lots of people think, ‘No one would do that for free’, but actually I spent quite a lot of money on the process.”
And what about the divorce? There’s money for that, too. Clark said that couples “have to let the producers know” when they want a divorce as the budget is already set aside for it.
“The money was already in place when they put the bid in for the programme,” he added.
Although the actual divorce is an easy process, contestants have to be married for one year before they can apply for a divorce.
How many couples are still married on Married at First Sight?
There is one couple from the previous series of MAFS UK who is still married.
Owen and Michelle from season 5 of the show are still together. They have a joint Instagram account and everything!
The couple live in Sheffield now, following Michelle’s move up north to be with her husband after the end of the show in October last year.
As well as sharing photos of themselves with friends and family, Owen and Michelle have revealed that they keep in contact with some of the other contestants. Two of those also still together are Ally and Paul, who were matched by the experts for the show but their wedding never happened due to Covid-19.
Ally and Paul are now engaged and share updates of their life on the Instagram account @unseen_couple. They announced they were expecting a baby in February and their daughter, Penelope, was born in June.
Unfortunately, there’s no word on whether any couples from this new season of MAFS are still together. Contestants have undoubtedly been warned to keep tight-lipped about whether they’re still married, to avoid any unwanted spoilers for the show.
When was the new series filmed?
Married at First Sight UK began filming for the new series in April 2021.
One month after the government first lifted lockdown restrictions, new dating expert Mel Schilling flew from Australia to the UK under working allowances to meet the contestants and start the filing process.
She said at the time, “We have just begun filming the brand new series of Married at First Sight UK and oh my god, it is going to be incredible.
“They all have their own very unique story to tell and I cannot wait for all to fall in love with them.”
The couples likely got married a few weeks after the kick-off date and flew off on their honeymoons shortly after that.
What channel is Married at First Sight UK on?
The sixth series of Married at First Sight UK is broadcast on E4 and it’s available to watch on Channel 4 catch up.
The first episode of the series was on August 30 at 6pm.
Married at First Sight UK airs every Monday and Thursday, with the final episode airing on Monday October 5.
With only one episode down, fans have already expressed their excitement over the coming series. Hoping for a dramatic series, one viewer wrote on Twitter, “Married At First Sight UK better give me the chaos and drama that I received from the Australian version. The Australian one carried me through the winter lockdown single-handedly.”
While reality contestants from other shows weighed in with their thoughts…
And others showed their love for the new format of the show. As well as not actually being legally married, the couples will meet up with each other every week for dinner and at every party, viewers will get to watch the couples decide right then and there whether to stay together or break up.
Where are the wedding venues on Married at First Sight UK 2021?
Previously, couples have tied the knot at Eastwell Manor in Ashford, Kent.
The beautiful building is a former Royal residence as part of The Garden of England, Kent. Today the manor is home to Champneys Spa hotel.
A quick look at their Instagram account will tell you that it’s been the location for plenty of weddings over the years, not just those filmed as part of the show.
Packages for spring/summer weddings at the venue start at £11,950 while their “Fairy Tale Winter Wedding” package comes in at £8,750 respectively. The couples on the show don’t pay for their own wedding, though, and they receive an all-expenses-paid honeymoon after the ceremony.
However, we can’t be 100% certain that this is where MAFS UK’s 2021 series will take place as the show hasn’t aired this episode yet. We’ll know more on Thursday September 2 when the show airs the first weddings.