It's all or nothing! On Married at First Sight's season 4 premiere on Tuesday, July 26, six brave singles were about to become three brave couples. Each pair was matched with the help of sociologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz, life coach Rachel DeAlto and marriage counselor Pastor Calvin Roberson. The experts mined beautiful Miami, Florida, to come up with the pairs, who were all thrilled (and scared) to learn they'd been matched.
But a lot can go wrong between kicking around the idea to marry a complete stranger and actually going through with it. So who are these souls searching for love — and do they have a good chance of finding it?
Nick and Sonia
Nick, 32, is a vacation rental manager (probably a good business to be in for a denizen of the Sunshine State). In a voiceover, he described his aunt and uncle's ideal marriage, three decades in the making, and how it was cut short when she died in a car accident recently. This tragedy got Nick thinking about his priorities, and made him realize love was at the top of his list.
Sonia, meanwhile, is a 33-year-old social worker. Describing herself as "quirky" and "caring," she declared that building a family and having children was a "high priority" in her life, despite the fact that her own parents were divorced.
According to DeAlto, these two were a possibly perfect pair thanks to similar energy, education and ambition. And while Nick's mom had her reservations when he broke the news that he would be marrying a complete stranger in two weeks' time, she quickly came around — much like Sonia's dad. These two definitely seemed to have potential.
Derek and Heather
Heather, a 32-year-old flight attendant, readily admitted that she has a "huge fear of rejection," but still dreamed of a marriage like her parents have. (They'd been together 35 years.) Her groom-to-be, Derek, is a 35-year-old account executive who formerly served in the military. Unlike Heather, Derek grew up without a father figure, though he argued that this hole in his life only motivated him further to be an "awesome husband." Dr. Schwartz said the experts matched these two because they were both intelligent, with similar thinking patterns and good temperaments.
Like Nick and Sonia's parents, both Heather and Derek's parents took the news in stride. "You usually make good decisions," Derek's mom noted. "If you're happy, that will be OK."
Lillian and Tom
The youngest of the bunch, 24-year-old realtor Lillian referred to herself as very "touchy-feely." Describing her relationship with her family, however, she noted that she had not spoken to her father since his last birthday. Her soon-to-be husband, Tom, 27, operated a yacht interior construction business, and made sure to highlight his love of surfing, which he described as everything from "church" to a source of "stress relief." Tom, however, admitted that as of late he had been "over-clubbing" (i.e. spending too much time at clubs) and "over-dating." Tom explained that he was seeking a "connection" through marriage.
Pastor Roberson described Tom as "creative" and Lillian as "very loving," and predicted that their entrepreneurial streaks would help to "motivate each other." In an upbeat but emotional phone call, Tom asked his brother to be his best man. (His brother seemed to think this whole experiment was insane, but agreed anyway.) Meanwhile, Lillian was relieved that her sister — whose marriage Lillian clearly wants to emulate — was in full support of her decision.
Saying Yes to the Dress(es)
Each bride's personality came out a bit more as she shopped for her wedding dress. Sonia gravitated toward a "Cinderella dress" to complement her "Cinderella story," though she also admitted she really hoped that when her husband first laid eyes on her, he would think she was hot. For her part, Heather headed straight toward a low-cut halter style that oozed old Hollywood glam (and showed off her cleavage), and Lillian opted for a strapless lace style free from any pearls — because pearls on anything wedding-related are a bad omen in Nicaragua. (Just make a mental note of that detail for later.)
The Night Before
In an effort to create a sense of normalcy in this very abnormal approach to marriage, the night before their weddings was reserved for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Some were more notable than others, but main takeaways included the fact that Nick didn't want to go to a strip club (despite his friends' hopes otherwise), and Sonia opted for a drag queen show. Everyone else had pretty standard bashes that involved lots of booze, dancing and cheering about how it was their last night of freedom.
When the parties ended, reality set in. To say that the six singles were suddenly nervous would have been quite the understatement. Almost across the board, they seemed completely terrified while laying in bed, thinking about the fact that the next day they would each marry a complete stranger
The next morning arrived, and everyone began preparing to walk down the aisle. In an attempt to set the right tone for the day, each person got a gift for his or her spouse-to-be. While all of the gifts were thoughtful, one didn't go over quite as planned. In an effort to get his future better-half something "traditional," Tom had gifted Lillian a necklace dotted with pearls. Pearls, you may recall, are considered bad luck for a wedding in Lillian's culture, and she immediately began stressing about what to do. At her mother's urging, she opted to wear her own necklace and save Tom's gift for another day, but she was very concerned this decision would hurt his feelings.
In another part of town, Heather — suddenly overcome with the seriousness of the situation — broke down in tears. "I just need a minute," she mumbled as she tried to escape the cameras. Ultimately, it looked like her father was able to talk her off the ledge, but the nerves were clearly catching up to her.
Nick gave Sonia a thoughtful gift basket filled with various things (like champagne!) to make her day that much better, and Sonia gave Nick a bottle of Scotch. "Why didn't she just say whiskey?" Nick's mom barked, prompting other people to tell her she wasn't in a position to critique Nick's bride (but this might be a sign of things to come).
Everyone looked as if they were going to push through the nerves and get down the aisle. That's when Lillian arrived outside for her wedding ceremony, and a thunderstorm hit. As she watched the rain pour down over her friends and family, Lillian wondered if this was all one big mistake. No word yet on whether rain, like pearls, was a bad omen or not.
Tell Us: What do you think of this season's couples?
Married at First Sight airs on FYI Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
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