A new group of couples are about to say ‘I Do’ on Married at First Sight. Season 12 of the Lifetime reality series premieres Jan. 13 with a special three-hour episode. Viewers will follow 10 Atlanta-area singles as they take the plunge and marry a complete stranger, sight unseen. But when you’re getting married to someone you don’t know, who pays for the wedding?
‘Married at First Sight’ weddings are real
By now, Married at First Sight fans know that the weddings you see on TV aren’t just for show. The couples really do get married (at least on the U.S. and U.K. versions of the show — the Australian version just features a commitment ceremony for legal reasons).
As for who pays for the wedding, the bride’s dress, and the honeymoon, that’s not entirely clear. But a person who appeared on the U.K. version of the show confirmed that producers provided some money for wedding expenses, but not much.
“There’s [a] budget for things — her wedding dress, a small budget for the suits,” Clark from season 2 told Cosmopolitan U.K. “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.”
‘Married at First Sight’ does pay if a couple gets divorce
One thing we do know about Married at First Sight is that if things don’t work out with a couple — and they often don’t — producers will help cover the cost of a divorce.
“There is not any money specifically built in for divorce costs, no,” executive producer Chris Coelen told The Wrap in 2015. “We will contribute within a certain period of time if they get divorced. We will help them cover the costs of an attorney if they choose to do that. I don’t know what the amount is. It’s nominal.”
Fans will have to wait and see if divorce is in the cards for this season’s couples: Clara and Ryan; Briana and Vincent; Paige and Chris; Haley and Jacob; and Virginia and Erik.
How much are ‘Married at First Sight’ couples paid for being on the show?
In his interview with The Wrap, Coelen confirmed that people are paid “almost nothing” for appearing on the show. According to a 2015 report from Ashley’s Reality Roundup, cast members earned $1,500 per episode. In a January 2021 Instagram post, the mafsfan account claimed people on the show were paid $1,000 per episode. Season 11 had 17 episodes, which means that this season’s participants could have earned $17,000 for being on the show.
Married at First Sight Season 12 premieres Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
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