There are so many great firsts that take place on Lifetime’s hit series, Married at First Sight, but for executive producer Eric Detwiler, his favorite “first” is as traditional as they come.
“I love the moment when the couples meet at the altar,” he tells The Knot of his favorite part of the show. “In Married at First Sight, that moment is amplified and seeing the sense of anticipation and hope about the future on the couples’ faces before the wedding begins always give me goosebumps. As producers, we always find ourselves holding our breaths and praying for the resounding, ‘I do!’”
The series, which kicked off its sixth season earlier this month, follows the popular formula that has made the series such a must-watch: three couples who meet for the first time on their wedding day live together and learn about each other over the course of eight weeks, at which point, they can decide whether to stay married or get divorced.
The three couples in the current season include Molly Duff and Jonathan Francetic, Shawniece Jackson and Jephte Pierre, and Jaclyn Schwartzberg and Ryan Buckley.
In season six, Detwiler says, there were some familiar—and some new!—challenges that he and his team faced in trying to give the three couples the most memorable wedding day possible.
“Confirming the guest list is always a challenge, especially when some family members, like Jephte’s mother, aren’t 100 percent on-board with the concept of Married at First Sight,” he says. Other challenges, on the other hand, are a little more light-hearted.
“Getting a fire truck hired to deliver Ryan to his wedding was a fun challenge,” he adds. “As a firefighter, Ryan wanted to arrive in style and we were excited to make that happen for him. It was a great visual for the show and got Ryan off to a good start.”
The couples’ weddings were shot at the Battery Wharf Hotel in Boston, an important detail given that the show’s parameters require some specific needs.
“Going into the weddings this season, we knew we needed a versatile space that we could adapt for each of our couples,” Detwiler says. “We needed a fantastic DJ to help get the party moving, which in the case of Shawniece inspired a one of a kind dance for her new husband Jephte. We also needed to come up with three unique ways of sending off our couples to their wedding night suite. I thought the way Jonathan and Molly’s friends and family lined up to send them off with bubbles looked great!”
Asked about any additional details he can share about the behind-the-scenes fun that takes place on-set, Detwiler says there were some poignant toasts that didn’t quite make the cut.
“We don’t ever have enough time in the show to share all of the great moments from each wedding on Married at First Sight,” he says. “This season there were some especially touching toasts that were shared, including one from Jonathan’s best friend Megan, who was actually his ‘Best Woman’ in his wedding party. She praised them for taking a leap of faith, which I can’t agree more with!”
As someone who has seen so many couples go through the rigors of meeting for the first time, getting married and then working to make the marriage a successful one, Detwiler says he has come to the conclusion that Married at First Sight couples are really no different from ones who meet in real life. “The keys to a successful marriage on Married at First Sight are the same keys in a traditional marriage,” he says. “The newly-married couples need to be honest with each other, they need to communicate with each other, and they need to learn to compromise in their new life with their new spouse.”
Below, read more about all the vendors and designers behind this season of Married at First Sight.
Detwiler explains that the crew zeroed in on Boston’s Battery Wharf Hotel because it provided a gorgeous outdoor space and view of the harbor that made for “a perfect backdrop for the couples to exchange their vows.” “Boston is a character in the show,” he says. The luxury hotel also provided the perfect amenities needed for the show, including hotel rooms for the guests, catering and an indoor venue for the reception.
For the series’ three weddings this season, producers called on the help of Kate Giannetti to coordinate everything from the flowers to the decorations to the look and feel of each couple’s individual ceremonies.
Duff, Jackson and Schwartzberg’s gowns each reflected the brides’ unique styles. Duff’s was a dress by Madeline Gardner, Schwartzberg’s was a Madison James design and Jackson opted for a gown by Maggie Sottero. All three rented their gowns from Alexandra’s Boutique.
For blooms on the couples’ big day, the Married at First Sight team worked with Boston Event Divas.
What’s a wedding without a proper wedding cake? Boston’s JT Cakes (I Dream of Jeanne Cakes) offered their services for the Lifetime reality series.