Are the Married At First Sight weddings legally binding and who pays for the ceremony?

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Dating reality show MAFS has taken the UK by storm as viewers get to watch a group of singletons matched up by experts before marrying a total stranger. However, the question everyone is asking is whether the Married at First Sight weddings are legally binding?

The answer is no. Unlike Married at First Sight US, the ceremonies in the UK version of the show are not legally binding. The couples instead make verbal commitments to one another.

Cast member Nikita Jasmine, who was recently removed from the show for ‘an unacceptable level of aggression,’ elaborated on this more: "No it’s not a legally binding contract, it’s a social experiment," she said.

A spokesman for the MAFS show said: "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."

Who pays for the ceremony?

As the series unfolds, viewers have watched the couples ‘tie the knot’ in some luxurious wedding venues. But who pays for the ceremony? According to former contestant Clark Sherwood, who appeared on the 2019 version of MAFS, couples are given money to cover some of the wedding costs but must pay for the extras themselves.

"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," he said.

British radiator manufacturer Steirad have looked at MAFS filming locations and worked with local wedding suppliers to calculate the cost for hosting a wedding at Elizabethan stately home, North Mymms Park and King Henry V11’s former royal residence, Ashridge House.

A wedding at North Mymms cost £15,850 for a 100-person wedding compared to a £24,850 for Ashridge House. This is mainly due to the cost of the venue itself.

Couples wanting a wedding at Ashridge House must pay £19,500 whereas one at North Mymms Park costs £8,500. The price includes tables and chairs and a pavilion for the evening reception. However, it is a dry-hire venue, so it will cost around £2,000 more if you want catering, which is included in the Ashridge price.

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How many people applied for the current series?

More than 1500 people applied for the current series of MAFS. Producers revealed that they chose them from "an initial pool of over 1500 applicants". Those taking part were "carefully assessed by a panel of experts in the field of psychology, social & evolutionary anthropology and theology."

Michelle and Owen from Series 5 of Married At First Sight revealed that they had to go to a ‘single’s day’ after applying.

"Then if they think they have a good match for you, the experts do some more digging, they spoke to my family and friends (the even called Owen’s ex-girlfriend," Michelle revealed.

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