Viewers tuning into Married At First Sight have several behind-the-scenes questions, including how the weddings are set up and who pays for them. Since 2014, the MAFS experts have matched dozens of couples based on their personalities, goals, ambitions, hobbies, and more. Duos who agree to be married to a complete stranger first meet at the altar. After Lifetime’s eight-week experiment, which shows the couples enjoying their honeymoon and first weeks as newlyweds, each MAFS season ends with Decision Day, where each couple must decide whether they will remain married or get a divorce.
Although each MAFS episode is interesting and drama-filled, viewers tend to enjoy two particular scenes most: Wedding Day and Decision Day. This of course applies to MAFS season 15, which kicked off July 6 with five new couples. Although only one marriage was shown during the three-hour premiere, fans tuning in watched the ten individuals tell their friends and family about their upcoming marriage, celebrate their bachelor and bachelorette parties, and pick out their wedding-day garments and rings. With so much going into a standard wedding (and costs usually upward of thousands of dollars), MAFS viewers have long-wondered who pays for each wedding. Does Lifetime cover their special day, or do the duos cover costs with their own wallets?
According to multiple sources, it’s a little bit of both, although MAFS does cover the majority of costs. MAFS season 13’s Johnny Lam, for example, told The List in 2021 that he agreed to appear on the show because his wedding would be paid for by the network. Johnny, who married (and eventually divorced) Bao Huong Hoang, explained that Lifetime’s monetary contribution helps “appeal to the practical, logical side of you,” and entices participants to go through with the experiment. Besides the wedding itself, each season of MAFS also has a specific budget set aside for attire, rings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and each duo’s honeymoon, although that doesn’t mean that the participants receive everything for free.
While most participants featured on the American version of MAFS haven’t gone into the series’ financial details aside from Johnny, Clark Sherwood from MAFS UK season 2 revealed to Cosmopolitan UK, “There’s no financial gain from going on the show. There’s budget for things – her wedding dress, a small budget for the suits. There’s some money for hen-do and stag-dos [bachelorette and bachelor parties], but it was mainly out of my pocket.” This slightly differs from MAFS in the United States, where Women’s Health stated that each couples’ honeymoon trip is all-inclusive, with the catch being that they have no say in where they travel to. In addition, participants on MAFS receive a stipend for appearing on the show, but are not personally financially compensated beyond that.
MAFS is known for the dramatics and conflicts that arise from arranged marriages, and MAFS season 15, which is set in San Diego, appears to be no exception. Although only Alexis and Justin’s marriage has been showcased so far, next Wednesday’s episode will continue to follow the newlyweds and the other four couples. While it costs some money to appear on MAFS, Lifetime is nice enough to cover most expenses, including the wedding, where they meet each other for the very first time.