Married at First Sight participant Danielle Degroot’s life has changed drastically over the past few months. The Chicago native met her husband, Cody Knapek, for the very first time on their wedding day. Now, their newlywed experience is playing out on TV, and Degroot admits that it’s difficult.
“It was a struggle,” the registered dietician, 30, tells The Knot of the filming process. “There’s nothing normal about being filmed, and that’s on top of the already huge abnormality of marrying a stranger.”
Throughout the experiment, Degroot was keenly aware that viewers might judge her. “It can weigh on you,” she explains. “It’s really uncomfortable to watch myself on TV. I’m trying to adjust, even to just listening to my own voice and seeing my mannerisms. But it’s definitely humbling and a great opportunity for growth.”
Thankfully, the chemistry between Degroot and her husband was instant, but on past Married at First Sight seasons, lack of attraction has been an issue. “I was worried!” Degroot admits. “I think it’s natural to worry when you know literally nothing about the person. It was definitely a relief that he’s a good-looking guy, but not the most important thing by any means.”
Degroot explains that she and Knapek, along with their season 5 castmates, took the process seriously. “We definitely have a group of very open-minded people who also value commitment. Cody and I definitely value commitment,” she tells The Knot.
Once the show’s experts match the participants, they are given only two short weeks to plan their weddings. Despite the short timeframe, Degroot loved her rustic-themed nuptials. “The colors and vibes were perfect,” she tells The Knot. “But, mostly I wanted everyone to have a good time and we all did!”
One element Degroot was particularly fond of was her wedding dress–a stunning lace gown with a plunging neckline by Robert Bullock sourced from local Chicago bridal boutique Weddings 826. The bride paired her outfit with sparkly accessories from Nina Shoes. “Wedding dress shopping was surprisingly fun for a girl who hadn’t even been engaged!” she shares. “I really didn’t try on that many dresses–maybe six–and the dress I chose was so different; I fell for it. I am obsessed with the back of it, specifically. And the lace was fitted, but flowy and went along with my rustic wedding theme.”
Aside from the stress of marrying a stranger and watching her marriage unfold on television, Degroot is thankful to have been selected for the process. “I’ve grown so much, met amazing people, and had amazing experiences,” she concludes to The Knot. “The most rewarding experience so far has been that I’ve opened up my heart more. It’s an adventure.”
Married at First Sight airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime.