Some people think true love conquers all. Those people are not on this show. On the Season 3 premiere of Married at First Sight, six singles opted to stop searching for a great romance on their own and let four experts use data points and logical reasoning to pair them off instead. Together, sociologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz, clinical psychologist Dr. Joseph Cilona, sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff, and spiritual advisor Greg Epstein wasted no time getting down to business to find the chosen few from a pool of over 20,000. (That's right: 20,000 people signed up for the chance to be married off to a stranger.)
After a quick refresher that these couples would be entering into legally binding marriages that could only end with "divorce or death," the experts matched Neil Bowlus, 31, with Samantha Role, 30; David Norton, 29, with Ashley Doherty, 30; and Tres Russell, 27, with Vanessa Nelson, also 27. Here's what happened next.
Neil Bowlus and Samantha Role
The experts described laboratory compliance specialist Neil and bank manager Samantha as "funny and quirky," and paired them because they're "both really bright," "well educated,” and "have mixed backgrounds." Schwartz was additionally impressed that Neil didn't put up a fight when she asked him to shave his lumberjack beard for the sake of his love life (hipster boys, take note!), as well as with the fact that he maintained a good enough friendship with his ex-girlfriend that she took the time to speak to the sociologist about what kind of woman she thought Neil needed.
Neil's mom was shocked but relatively supportive — though it's probably worth noting that Neil's grandmother had an arranged marriage herself, so this concept wasn't new to his family. Samantha's mom, however, was crushed and burst into tears upon hearing the plans. "It's supposed to be more romantic," she lamented to her daughter, who insisted she's never been a traditionalist, so this leap of faith made sense.
Both Neil's and Samantha's friends were completely on board, however, and the future bride and groom enjoyed action-packed bachelorette and bachelor parties in advance of the big day. When that day did finally come, they exchanged sweet, crafty gifts that solidified the matchmakers' intuitions. Neil sent Samantha a big and little spoon set, and she sent him a handcrafted painting. It seemed like this union was off to a great start.
David Norton and Ashley Doherty
Everyone on the panel thought Ashley's generous heart would be a perfect match for software account executive David. "Ashley can be a little guarded and need a little bit on extra oomph, and David can definitely be that," Cilona asserted. Upon finding out they'd each been matched with someone, David and Ashley both burst into laughter.
But when David told his friends of his plans, it was no laughing matter. To say they were unimpressed would have been an understatement, leading David to question whether he was making the biggest mistake of his life. Fortunately, his mom had his back. "Give it a shot," she urged, and David headed out to go buy a wedding band.
Meanwhile, Ashley struggled to find a wedding dress (though ultimately, she succeeded). With those tasks off the to-do list, David and Ashley celebrated their respective bachelor and bachelorette parties. For some inexplicable reason, though, Ashley's closest friends completely misread the bride-to-be and booked two male strippers for the soiree, which Ashley was not okay with at all. "I like to carry myself with a certain level of class and that, for me, doesn't align with that," she quipped before stomping out of the room. (In contrast, David seemed to enjoy every booze-filled moment of his bachelor bash.)
The morning of their wedding, Ashley — a full-time nursing student — was busy doing homework as her bridal party flitted about the suite. They tried to get her to put away the books, but didn't really succeed, though she was clearly touched when David sent a note to Ashley's mom and stepfather promising both of them that he was completely committed to this marriage.
For her part, Ashley sent David a watch as a pre wedding gift with the note, "The best time is yet to come." We'll have to wait to find out if that's true or not since this was the last glimpse we got of this couple in the premiere.
Tres Russell and Vanessa Nelson
The experts were drawn to Tres' desire to do better than he felt his parents did and Vanessa's bubbly personality. "I honestly think Tres and Vanessa will be among the best couples we've ever matched," Schwartz declared. "I think they will find each other very attractive and even more, they will find each other admirable." Levkoff was quick to add, "They're both sexually adventurous, but they also talk about wanting to focus on emotional intimacy."
Upon learning they'd each been given a match, their reactions were polar opposites. Tres, a luxury car salesman, was speechless, but Vanessa had a bundle of questions. "I'm really excited to know what he looks like. What he talks like. What he smells like!" she gushed. "I want to know everything about him!"
Both of their families had reservations about taking such drastic action, but agreed to support the future Mr. and Mrs. anyway. Wedding preparations went off pretty much without a hitch, though they had different ideas about the night that would follow. Tres was hoping to consummate their union posthaste, but Vanessa definitely wasn't down for that. (Sorry, Tres!)
When Tres and Vanessa did finally come face-to-face at the altar, however, they both clearly liked what they saw. "She is definitely beautiful," the groom said, while Vanessa noted that she "was very pleased."
All seemed to be going swimmingly until it was time for Vanessa to say her vows and Tres said he needed a minute. Cue dramatic pause — and you'll have to tune in next week to find out how their wedding ceremony ended.
Tell Us: What are your first impressions of this season's newlyweds?
Married at First Sight airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on FYI.
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