First comes marriage, then comes everything else! Married at First Sight’s latest participants have made it through the six-week social experiment — marrying complete strangers at their weddings — and two season four cast members, Tom Wilson and Sonia Granados, open up about their respective experiences.
Before the season four premiere on Tuesday, July 26, both Tom and Sonia stopped by The Knot‘s headquarters in NYC, where they opened up about their controversial decisions to enter blind marriages.
Sonia, a social worker, says she’s repeatedly had her heart broken by exes. “My picker’s not good,” she jokes. She recalls the defining moment that led her to MAFS. Shortly after her ex-boyfriend called her from Hawaii to tell her that he had met someone else, she decided to go to the casting call for Married at First Sight. Sonia, who’s paired with Nick Pendergrast, tells The Knot that she’s been a fan of the FYI series since its first season.
Tom, on the other hand, says he wasn’t aware of the show until he was approached to participate. When he was contacted via social media, he felt he had nothing to lose. The participant, who’s matched with Lillian Vilchez, says that while the process is “craziness,” MAFS was a better option than dating in Miami, which he describes as “awful.”
The reality contestant endured a tough breakup a year and a half ago, and wasn’t aware of how difficult dating would be in the city. “I’m a very straight-forward kind of guy,” Tom says. “I don’t beat around the bush. If I find someone attractive, I go right up to them and I say, ‘I saw you from here. You were really gorgeous. Are you single? Can I talk to you?'”
Sadly, his strategy didn’t pay off. He explains that single guys who go out with friends are automatically labeled “creepy” in his Florida town. If a group of guys goes out, women dub them a “wolf pack,” and he wants no part in the culture. Tom reveals that people living in Miami are “very superficial.” He explains that there’s “a lot of gold-digging – especially in Miami, so it doesn’t make things easy at all.”
On the latest season, over 33,000 Americans applied to participate — and potentially find true love — on MAFS. Out of those applicants, six singles were chosen to be spotlighted, and Sonia and Tom tell The Knot why they believe they made the cut.
“My openness and just that I’m ready for love and to fall in love,” Sonia muses, who says all she wanted was to find her “happily ever after and be with someone forever.”
Tom, meanwhile, believes he was chosen because he’s “a very unique individual.” He adds: “I’m not like anybody else. I feel like it takes a certain special someone to be matched and to be proud of who they are … Knowing what I’ve been through and how hard I’ve tried, they saw that I was a good candidate for marriage.”
After finding out that they had been matched, the singles had two weeks to prepare for their weddings. During that time, they chose wedding attire and rings, and they had to tell their loved ones the news. “My friends thought that I was the craziest person in the world,” Sonia tells The Knot with a laugh. Despite her friends’ reservations, Sonia knew she was making the right decision. She felt a “calmness” throughout the Married at First Sight process.
When Tom made the announcement that he’d be marrying a stranger, his family was understandably shocked — but it didn’t take long for most of his loved ones to come around. “They know my lifestyle. I take life as it comes, and if I see an opportunity, I’m gonna take it,” Tom shares.
Though his family members weren’t initially on board, Tom didn’t let their opinion affect him. “This isn’t about you,” he adds. “This is about me, and what I need in my life… Not just what I want.”
Sonia’s biggest concern going into the experiment was the uncertainty and possibility of failure. After watching previous Married at First Sight seasons, she knew the outcome was unpredictable. When Tom learned that the majority of Married at First Sight marriages ended in separation, he immediately thought, “They didn’t try hard enough.” He received some valuable advice prior to getting married.
“Marriage is a university you’re never gonna graduate from,” Tom explains. “And each new semester is gonna be a whole new set of classes. There’s no medal at the end, so just realize that going into this.”
The experiment brought many challenges for both Tom and Sonia. Tom found it difficult not being able to share what he was going through with his loved ones. He wanted to vent to friends, but he couldn’t due to Married at First Sight‘s rules. The newlywed explains that the inability to communicate about his relationship created “more turmoil in [his] life.”
“A big challenge for me is being self-conscious on camera,” Sonia admits. She is concerned how she will be perceived by Married at First Sight viewers.
When asked how impressed Sonia was with her husband on their wedding day, she gives her match an “eight or nine” out of a possible ten.
Sonia got a peek of who she thought was her future husband before she walked down the aisle – but she was pleasantly surprised when she found out the man she caught a glimpse of wound up being the wedding officiant.
“He was like 50 years old, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I wanna kill everyone here,” Sonia laughs. When she did meet her Married at First Sight match, she noticed his shoes and thought, “He has style!”
Seeing his bride for the very first time set Tom’s mind at ease. He shares that his first thought when he saw Lillian was, “This could work.”
Tom believes that guys and gals who are “out there” will relate to his Married at First Sight journey. Sonia tells us the person that has “gone out there and done everything and failed at all that and just wants love” will understand her story.
“It’s definitely changed my life in a really good way,” Sonia says of the Married at First Sight experiment. “I’m excited, and I feel lucky to have been chosen to go through this process.”
Tom is also thankful for the experience. “I’m very grateful to be chosen,” he shares. “It is such a special thing to be part of this process.
Before we let Tom and Sonia go, we asked them one last question: “If Married at First Sight had a warning label, what would it say?”
“Pour lots of love,” Sonia responds. “Always make sure that [you’re] being caring and sensitive to your partner’s needs.”
“Beware of wife,” Tom tells The Knot. “Be cautious. You’re married; you’re not dating anymore.”
Tune in to Married at First Sight on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FYI.