This year’s season of Married At First Sight is officially in full swing and a majority of the season 11 couples have now walked down the aisle and tied the knot with a complete stranger.
While we know the ceremonies are thankfully not legally binding, Yahoo Lifestyle spoke to a wedding celebrant who has appeared on the reality show twice about just how real the big day is.
Beverly Simmons-Hurtado, who was the celebrant for Olivia Frazer and Jackson Lonie’s wedding in season nine and Josh White and Melissa Sheppard’s wedding in season 10, shared plenty of juicy details about the strict rules celebrants must follow, how much she knew about the couples beforehand, and whether she thought they were a good match.
How did you become a celebrant on MAFS?
“Originally I was approached for season eight and was meant to be a celebrant for one of those weddings but that fell through,” she reveals. “Then for season nine, a producer rang me as I was on the list of celebrants from season eight.
“I didn’t have to apply and sadly won’t be appearing on season 11, but I would love to do it again.”
What would you say to fans who believe MAFS weddings are 'fake'?
“I can genuinely say that it isn't fake,” she says. “The groom physically would face me on the day and the bride would walk down the aisle, and that is the real first time that they would have met. The nervous reaction that the groom does is because he's been waiting there for a very long time for the bride to arrive, meaning that he could hear her family speak or her friends speak and his family and friends are gearing him up and making him extra nervous.
“The other issue for me is a little bit hard because I do love a chat, and I can't really speak to the groom. Most of the time they ask me questions and all I really need to do is nod and smile, which is obviously nerve-wracking when someone's standing there without any reaction.”
How much do you know about the bride and groom before you meet them at the altar?
“I have zero idea who my bride and groom is,” she admits. “No idea who it is, no idea what they would look like, what their nationality is. I do have a name, but that doesn't mean anything to me because I obviously don't know what they look like.”
Are you given a script to read or can you add your own personal touch?
“What I have had an opportunity to do is actually create my own script and send it to the producer, and they generally don't do any edits to the script that I make,” she details.
“So my ceremony that I've always drafted and sent to the producers is a very stock standard ceremony that I would have done already. It's a little bit hard to add your personal touches when you don't really have any insight on who they are or what they like doing.”
What were your honest thoughts on the two couples you helped tie the knot?
“I’ll be very honest. In season nine with Olivia and Jackson, when I did their ceremony I actually came out of there thinking, ‘Oh my god, these two will make it and they will last and they will stay’,” she shares.
“When they first met there was that initial spark and you could see that they actually did like each other, so I was a little bit disappointed when that didn't last. I thought I had this in the bag that this couple would last forever and I would be the celebrant to make sure that they actually lasted for a long time, but sadly that didn’t work.
“With season 10, Melissa and Josh, Josh was such a lovely guy and I found him absolutely gorgeous. He seemed really genuine and he seemed really nervous waiting for Melissa to walk down that aisle. I also loved his family, they felt like they were actually really genuinely supporting him throughout the process of him waiting.
“Melissa came down the aisle looking absolutely gorgeous and she’s obviously a little bit more flamboyant and extroverted, and Josh was very introverted. I didn't think, to be honest, that was a great match. And what happened on the show actually conveyed what I thought anyways.”
What surprised you most about the behind-the-scenes of MAFS?
“When they first meet that is truly the first time they’ve ever met but of course, it’s like anything else, there's obviously retake after retake after retake,” she explains. “But I guess that's the norm in any TV show or anything like that.
“I truly enjoyed being a celebrant on MAFS, I truly enjoyed being part of the show, and I really wish couples were able to find their true love on the show. It's really hit and miss and there are only a few couples who have finished the show together or met someone else as a life partner within the show that they weren't really matched with. I hope this show actually continues to build true love and couples really get married - if that was the real reason that they were there.”