Are The Married At First Sight Australia Weddings Legal?

26 February 2024, 18:45

MAFS Australia has a new cast for 2024
MAFS Australia has a new cast for 2024. Picture: Channel Nine

By Tiasha Debray

With a new season on our screens in the UK, we desperately need to know; Are the weddings in MAFS Australia legal and binding? Just how real is the show?

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There’s something in the chaos of watching strangers meet and immediately get married that really gets our blood pumping. So when it was announced that the 2024 season of Married At First Sight Australia would be airing in the UK, there were parties on the street!

With the return of Australia’s three experts on the show, Alessandra Rampolla, John Aiken and of course, our beloved, Mel Schilling, the show will kick off with the first batch of couples expertly paired with one another and then married off in elaborate wedding celebrations.

And with every wedding on each season of MAFS brings the ultimate question over whether these weddings are legal, an important question especially given how much drama these new relationships bring.

Are the Married At First Sight Australia weddings legally binding? Just how ‘real’ is this reality show?

The MAFS marriages are dramatic - and fans want to know if they're legal
The MAFS marriages are dramatic - and fans want to know if they're legal. Picture: Channel Nine

Do Married At First Sight Australia couples get legally married?

Thankfully, we can tell you that the weddings on Australian MAFS are not legally binding.

A spokesperson for Channel Nine, where the show is broadcast in Australia, confirmed this in an interview with Now To Love, "In order to comply with the Australian Marriage Act (1961) which requires one month and one day notification, a marriage in law was not conducted."

"Each participant embarked on a commitment ceremony with a wedding celebrant with all due intention to commit fully to this union for the duration of the experiment. At the end of the experiment, they are given the option to continue with the relationship or go their separate ways."

So there you have it, on the Australian version of MAFS, none of the weddings are actually legally recognised, which means there’s no need for divorce if the couples break up… and considering how many couples seem to break up, this feels like a good thing.

But while the marriages are legit, don’t let that affect your perception of the show. The experts really emphasise that the contestants should act like they are in a legally binding agreement with their significant other, and take the experiment as seriously as they can.

A spokesperson confirmed that the weddings in MAFS Australia are not legally binding.
A spokesperson confirmed that the weddings in MAFS Australia are not legally binding. Picture: Channel Nine

Is Married at First Sight Australia real?

Now you know the marriages aren’t actually legally binding, we’re sure you’re questioning just how ‘real’ this reality show is, well Married At First Sight is as real as a produced reality show can be.

The show maintains that it is definitely an ‘unscripted’ television show, despite it sometimes feeling otherwise.

In the past, contestants of MAFS Australia have talked about how, whilst unscripted, the producers have input in how contestants phrase certain things.

Former cast member Olivia Frazer from the 2022 season of the show spoke about how producers asked contestants to rephrase sentences back at them, in an Instagram Q&A that she hosted, "You have to repeat back the questions producers ask you, which is why it sometimes sounds scripted."

Watch the latest teaser for MAFS

This sort of request seems reasonable from an editing standpoint, however what really puts the show’s legitimacy into question is how many ex-contestants, such as Billy Vincent, Susie Bradley, Mike Gunner, Sam Ball and Dino Hira, had a background in acting before joining the show.

Were they brought in as ‘actors’ or were they interested in joining the show to build a profile for themselves as actors?

Our gut says it’s probably the latter and if they were still open to the experience of finding love, the show remains real enough.

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