One of the most remarkable “reality” shows on television today, at first glance people are bound to be surprised by Married at First Sight’s core concept. After all, even though millions of people take part in arranged marriages each year, there is something very different about being set up by strangers and going through that process in front of the world.
During the early stages of any Married at First Sight season, viewers get to meet the new cast members, see them get married, and watch their friends and family react. After all of that and their honeymoons take place, the couples head home and they start getting into the nitty-gritty of their new lives which is when some of the show’s rules become more obvious. Still, viewers can never know all of the instructions MaFS cast members are given just by watching the show alone. With that in mind, it is time to look at this list of 15 things Married at First Sight couples are told to do and five things they have to avoid.
In order for a rule to be considered for this list, it first and foremost has to be something that the people who appear on Married at First Sight have to follow. Of course, we haven’t appeared on the show so we’re relying on public reports about what it is like to be cast in the show.
20 Things to Avoid: Trying To Conceal Your Legal And Financial Past
When it comes to the people who want to be a part of Married at First Sight, one thing they should keep in mind is that most aspects of their lives are going to be examined. For example, if you have a troublesome legal or financial history there is a very good chance that the show is going to find out about it.
In fact, one of the show’s experts, Rachel DeAlto told ET, "Each candidate goes through a very thorough background check to determine if they have significant debts or any sort of criminal record."
Of course, nobody is perfect and it seems that the show failed to realize that Season Seven's participant Mia Bally had some troubling legal problems in her past.
19 Told To Do: Complete Tasks Given Out By Experts
When most people envision what it would be like to get married to someone they’d never met before, their mind likely tries to grasp the idea of spending their life with a stranger. However, another major issue is that things could easily get very awkward in the short term.
Probably for that reason, on the show we occasionally see the experts assign the participants various tasks that are meant to get them talking about large and small aspects of their life. Easily the most notable example of this, the couples typically are given a fishbowl that is filled with written questions that they need to tackle together.
18 Things To Avoid: Searching For Your Fellow Castmates On Social Media During Filming
As anyone who has felt stressed out before a big job interview or date can likely tell you, spending days worrying about how something like that is going to go can be downright exhausting. With that in mind, we can only imagine how easy it would be to feel totally freaked out in the days leading up to marrying someone you’ve never met before.
Unfortunately for the people who participate in Married at First Sight, if they think they might be able to learn about their spouse-to-be after a thorough social media search they are out of luck. This is the case because producers keep the participants' social media accounts hidden in the lead-up to the show.
17 Told To Do: Spend Loads Of Time With Their Spouse
During an episode of Married at First Sight, almost every scene consists of the various couples in each other’s company. In fact, the only real exceptions are the talking head interviews, occasional gatherings with friends, and in recent seasons the brides and grooms getting together from time to time.
Still, looks can be deceiving and if you assumed that the couples get a lot of time apart off camera that really isn’t the case, aside from when they go to work. Asked about this during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session, Season Three participant Neil Bowlus wrote: “We spent about 95% of our time together. We would work and them come home (whichever home that was at the time) to each other and spend time together.”
16 Told To Do: Come Back To Tape A Reunion Months Later
If you are anything like us, you enjoy Married at First Sight overall but there is one episode that you find by far the most interesting: the reunion special. After all, it is fascinating to see how the participants' feelings either change or stay the same after they get a chance to really reflect on their experience without cameras around.
However, if you really think about it, for any of the participants that had a negative experience on the show, it must feel terrible to get dragged back into it for the reunion taping. Sadly for them, Americans that agree to star in MaFS are contractually obligated to take part in the reunion.
15 Told To Do: Pass Several Interviews
Earlier in this list, we looked at the fact that the Married at First Sight cast is put through the wringer in terms of their financial and legal past. Far from content with that information alone, the show’s producers also want to know everything they can about the mental makeup of the people that they may cast.
Speaking about that with E! News, the CEO of the show’s production company, Chris Coelen, and expert Dr. Pepper Schwartz revealed that cast members go through "very in-depth psychological and background evaluations." In fact, during the end stages of the casting process, Dr. Schwartz even visits the homes of potential participants.
14 Told To Do: Speak Endlessly About Your Relationship
If you are the type of person who likes to examine your romantic relationships and talk about your feelings, then maybe starring in Married at First Sight is for you. This is the case because the show’s cast members are tasked with endlessly talking about their relationship on camera. After all, the brides and grooms spend a lot of time talking to their new spouse about how things are going and then they are extensively interviewed about their experience.
On top of all that, according to one participant named Clark, if cast members say something about their relationship privately, they may be asked to repeat it on camera.
13 Things To Avoid: Packing Your Wedding With Guests
When it comes to getting married, one of the best pieces of advice that any of us can take is to try and have fun with it. Still, there is no doubt that some decisions can be pretty stressful. Probably the hardest part of putting together a typical wedding is deciding who you invite and who you leave out. It can feel like walking through land mines since you don’t want to offend anyone.
For the Married at First Sight brides and grooms, their options are a lot more limited than your average couple. This is the case because each participant is only allowed to invite a maximum of 20 people.
12 Told To Do: Pick Your Wedding Setup From Pre-Approved Options
From one entry about wedding planning to another, this time around we are going to look at the overall setup of the Married at First Sight nuptials. If you are a loyal MaFS fan, you may have already noticed that a lot of the ceremonies look very much alike. As you may have figured out by now, that is not a coincidence as the people involved have very little control over their wedding.
In fact, aside from what they wear, the grooms really have zero control over it all. On the other hand, the brides do have a little bit of a say in things but they are only given three wedding packages that they are allowed to choose from.
11 Told To Do: Actually Get Legally Married
In this day and age, when a "reality" show is a success in one country there is a very good chance that producers from around the world want to get in on the act. For example, you may not realize it but Married at First Sight started in Denmark before it was adapted for American audiences. On top of that, there are other versions of the show in Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Finland, Norway, Belgium, New Zealand, Israel, Poland, The Netherlands, and Brazil.
In some of those countries, the couples involved are married in name only since their weddings aren’t legally binding. However, in America, every couple you see actually got married at first sight from a legal point of view.
10 Told To Do: Interact With The Other Couples
Another aspect of the show that is different depending on which country's version you're watching is whether or not couples must spend a large amount of time with each other. For example, Australian MaFS couples all live in the same building and on a weekly basis, they have dinner together and then recommit to the process in front of one another on a different day.
On the other hand, US MaFS couples only saw each other at the reunion during the early seasons. More recently, the American show’s producers have had the brides and grooms come together for drinks occasionally.
9 Things To Avoid: Revealing Details Of The Production To The Public
Even though many “reality” shows are sold to the public like they are similar to a documentary, the fact of the matter is that they can be highly manipulated by producers. In fact, this list proves the fact that the people who are in charge of producing Married at First Sight have a lot of control over what the show’s viewers see and what the cast experience.
Of course, knowing that could ruin the show’s mystique for some viewers so the people in charge want to keep that under wraps as best they can. For that reason, the show’s cast is instructed to keep many aspects of their time on the show a secret.
8 Told To Do: Sign A Non-Disclosure Agreement
At first blush, you may think that this entry and the previous one are somewhat redundant since they are about the same thing, forcing the show’s cast to stay silent about aspects of their experience. However, this entry actually is really informative since it goes to show just how serious the people who are in charge of MaFs are about viewers knowing very little about what goes on behind the scenes.
Not only do US Married at First Sight producers force their cast to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement but they are wide-ranging and long-lasting. Addressing this during his Reddit AMA, Neil Bowlus revealed the agreements cover “the outcome and then details about production” and added, “I do not believe the NDA expires.”
7 Told To Do: Take Part In Media Appearances
From the outside looking in, it may seem like being a celebrity is all glitz and glamour. Unfortunately, the reality is that there are some aspects of that life that can be very tiresome, including taking part in endless interviews. After all, being asked the same question over and over again can be downright frustrating.
Unfortunately for the stars of Married at First Sight, prior to their season airing and during it, they are obligated to take part in one interview after another. Worse yet, given that they are “reality” stars, the questions they are asked can be extremely personal and feel quite intrusive.
6 Told To Do: Live With Your New Spouse
Throughout human history, many couples have only opted to live together once they’d already tied the knot. However, in this day and age, there are many pairings who envision themselves walking down the aisle one day and see moving in together as an opportunity to test how well suited to marriage they truly are.
Of course, the Married at First Sight couples aren’t able to go down that route but they are expected to move in with one another once they return from their honeymoon. Still, one couple failed to do this. Season Two’s Sean Varricchio insisted on continuing to live on his own and blamed his decision on the demands of his job.
5 Told To Do: Sign A Prenuptial Agreement
Earlier on in this list we looked at the fact that the Married at First Sight cast has to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement with producers in order to be a part of the show. If you assumed that was the only contract that is put in front of them, however, then you are wrong.
Instead, everyone involved also agrees to a pretty simple Prenuptial Agreement before they pledge their lives to one another. Speaking about this to The Wrap, the CEO of the show’s production company, Chris Coelen, said: “It’s a very short, brief prenup. It basically says what they walk in to [the marriage with], is what they walk out of the marriage with.”
4 Told To Do: Take Part In Reshoots
Right off the hop, we want to make it abundantly clear that this entry is solely based on something that a cast member of the Australian version of the show says took place. Opting to write about the show in a blog post that was far from complimentary, Season Two’s Simone Lee Brennan claimed that producers sometimes make the cast reshoot scenes.
More specifically, she wrote that during her wedding she “walked down the aisle four times, said [her] vows three times, and [they] kissed at the altar twice.” We can only imagine that the show’s producers were very unhappy that she wrote this.
3 Things To Avoid: Spoil Their Final Decision
Even though every season of Married at First Sight is made up of many episodes, at the end of the day they all revolve around one thing: decision day. After all, as viewers watch the various couples seemingly fall for one another or develop hard feelings, in the background one question looms large: Are they going to stay together?
As a result, if the show’s fans knew for sure what each couple would decide ahead of time they may stop tuning in. That is why it is of the utmost importance that the show’s cast refrains from revealing how their season is going to end to the general public ahead of time.
2 Told To Do: Be Filmed 10 Hours Daily For Eight Weeks Straight
Due to a desire for privacy, when many of us have a problem with our significant other while we are in public we hold our tongue until it is just the two of us. With that in mind, it may be hard to understand why the MaFS couples are willing to take part in huge fights while the cameras are rolling.
This can easily be explained by how the cameras follow the couples around so much that it would be almost impossible for them to hold in all their emotions. After all, the stars of Married at First Sight are followed by a film crew 10 hours every day for eight weeks straight!
1 Told To Do: Appear On TV For Almost No Money
If there is one thing this list should have made abundantly clear by now it is that starring in Married at First Sight takes over almost every aspect of your life during the filming process. With that information in mind and the fact that many of the show’s stars are already well-established professionals, you may think they get paid a pretty penny.
Unfortunately for them, that definitely isn’t the case. In fact, even Chris Coelen, the CEO of the show's production company has admitted how pitiful their paychecks are. Asked how much the cast get paid during his interview with The Wrap, Coelen didn’t mince words when he said: “honestly, almost nothing.”
Sources: The Wrap, E News! ET, Reddit