I had a front row seat at a Married at First Sight wedding and it was wild… here’s what you DON’T see on camera | The Sun

WATCHING the mother of the bride scramble to save her daughter’s dress from going up in flames at the altar, I can’t help wondering if this might be a bad omen.

I’m not a doomsday kind of person, but this isn’t your usual big day – this is a Married At First Sight wedding!

Like millions of Brits, every autumn I’m glued to the drama dished up on the E4 show as complete strangers throw a grenade into their lives by agreeing to marry a complete stranger.

For some it’s a match made in heaven; for others it’s a first class ticket to chaos. And for viewers it’s utterly addictive.

But what’s it really like attending a MAFS wedding? Do the couple really not meet before? And is it all a big set-up?

After getting a front row seat to the action I can safely say it’s as surreal and bonkers behind the scenes as it seems on camera…



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The wedding I attended was between Erica, a 25-year-old dance teacher from Scotland, and Jordan, 26, a personal trainer from Sheffield. 

Dubbed ‘the intruders’, they are one of four new couples who fans met in Thursday night's episode.

Behind the scenes it’s like a military operation keeping the couple apart so that the first time they clap eyes on each other is genuinely at the bottom of the aisle.

Crew members plot their every move through crackling walkie-talkies to make sure they don't cross paths, doors are locked and windows are blacked out in case anyone’s tempted to try and get a sneak peek at proceedings.

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Jordan looks like England ace Jack GrealishCredit: Simon Johns / CPL / Channel 4
Katie captured this piece of the action on her phoneCredit: Supplied

As I’m ushered into the bride’s room before the ceremony I’m under strict orders not to reveal even the tiniest morsel of information I have about the man she’s about to marry.

Erica is as nervous as you’d expect but seems excited in equal measures.

“It doesn't actually feel real,” she says. “And I don't think it will feel real until I’ve walked down the aisle, until I see him and we look at each other and then we're like, 'Oh my God, we're doing this'."

Over in Jordan’s room the groom – who’s the spitting image of England ace Jack Grealish – admits that despite feeling calm in the build up, emotions had got the better of him overnight.

So what sort of woman is he hoping he’s about to meet?

"The personality of an angel and the body of a goddess!” he laughs. “They're either stitching me up or they've actually found someone like that, who knows?”

After a brief chat there’s a knock at the door. It’s time!

Hidden cameras

Pulling up at the grand Elvetham Hotel in Hampshire, I was expecting to feel like I’d walked onto a TV set, with cameras in your face and crew fidgeting in every direction.

But it felt like a real wedding. The chapel, decked out in autumn flowers and candle lit jars, added bucket loads of romance.

And the cameras, in all four corners of the room, were cleverly hidden behind elaborate floral displays so once in our seats you quickly forget you’re being filmed and get sucked into the excitement of the day.

As it was a TV wedding I had my suspicions that while the front rows might be filled with their nearest and dearest, the rest of the guest list was probably made up of actors who look good on camera and help fill the room. Wrong! 

I was pleasantly surprised everyone there was connected to the couple, from friends to relatives, all of whom had given up their time to lend their support to this wacky day.

Before the ceremony they were gathered anxiously in little groups and held in separate rooms depending on who they knew.

Just like the bride and groom they’re kept separate by production so their reaction to meeting each other is captured the moment they take their seats in the chapel.

Tense atmosphere

After wishing Jordan luck I join the rest of the guests filing into the chapel.

There’s a nervous chatter as they wait for the couple to arrive, the tense atmosphere heightened by the fact there’s no music or background noise.

Jordan walks in with a swagger I didn’t quite anticipate and the room erupts into a round of applause, much to the horror of the director who tells the group: “We’re not at a concert, let’s do that again!”

With a quieter entrance in the bag, Jordan cooly introduces himself to all the strangers in the room, working out who’s his new mother-in-law and instantly winning over Erica’s bridesmaids as chatter of “He’s really fit, she’s going to fancy him” ripples from their row.

When it gets to his family, all he’s worried about is the football score. 

Turns out they’re all big Sheffield United fans and he’s desperate to find out how the team is doing – and is noticeably calmer after someone slips him the score.

No interruptions

Any rumours the ceremonies are staged were put to bed when it got underway.

As soon as Erica makes her entrance there’s absolutely no interruption from the director, camera operators or sound crew hidden in the corners of the room.

The only mishap was Erica sweeping her lavish dress across a candlelit jar on the floor, prompting her mum to rush to stop the dress going up in smoke.

Disaster averted, for a brief moment you forget you’re watching a TV wedding – that is, until they’ve exchanged vows and the ceremony is done.

The minute they walk back up the aisle they’re pounced on by two crew members who quickly separate the newlyweds.

They’re disappointed at not being able to chat but the show’s bosses want to capture their honest, initial impressions of each other first.

Jordan’s told they need to do some close up shots of his ring but when he goes to remove it, it’s stuck, and a panicked producer cries out for any kind of lotion to get it off.

Jordan jokes: “It’s obviously meant to be because that’s not coming off!"

Four-hour wait

As the guests are whisked off to a lavish room where the champagne starts flowing, I slip out a side door with the crew who all wait patiently while the couple are filmed separately giving a rundown of their feelings.

For Erica and Jordan it’s 30 minutes before they actually get to be together after their vows, at which point they're led into the gardens for their wedding photos.

The crew are twitching on the sidelines – it seems Erica’s savaged him, his vows were too long, she’s not a fan of his diamond earring, his “bowl cut” hair, or the fact he kept putting his hands in his pockets.

But sparks fly and they can’t stop talking as the photographer wrangles them into position.

As he snaps away talk turns to hobbies, Erica’s birthday coming up on their honeymoon, and Jordan confesses he didn’t invite any of his close mates to the wedding because they’re “idiots who would get drunk".

The couple are asked if they’re happy to share a kiss for the photos and there’s no faking it as they move in for a Love Island style snog that leaves the crew blushing.

Coming up for air, Erica jokes: “We’re pros!” 

For the rest of the wedding party the day is long; having waited hours for the ceremony to even start and then another four hours afterwards while the couple were being filmed, they finally sit down for dinner.

No music

Just like a normal wedding the alcohol flows and the food is what you’d expect – the only difference is, there’s absolutely no music.

Instead hidden microphones pick up the chatter as everyone gossips about the day and gives their verdict on whether they think Erica and Jordan are a match.

Guests are left to their own devices as cameras in the corners of the room focus in on key conversations and follow the bride and groom working the room.

Like the ceremony there’s no interference from production once dinner arrives – but don’t expect a wild, late-night booze up.

After filming their first dance the evening comes to an end as the couple say their goodbyes and guests are shown the door.

But the day isn’t over, despite an early morning wake-up call planned to take them on their mystery honeymoon.

Instead of heading straight to the bridal suite, Erica and Jordan are whisked off for more filming in the grounds where a romantic set has been created for them to relax in and discuss their day.

The exhausted crew, who have been on their feet all day, can’t help but smile watching the couple share another kiss.

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Erica’s dress might have almost caught fire but I can’t help thinking that something deeper and more meaningful was ignited between these two lovebirds.

Watch this space! 

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