Married at First Sight

Married at First Sight NZ's Dan and Yuki: 'We're more in love than ever'

''Doing long distance, it felt like we were dating, but now we're living together, we actually feel like husband and wife. It's good to wake up to Yuki every day.''

By Sebastian van der Zwan
T hey tied the knot only minutes after meeting on Married at First Sight New Zealand, and Dan McLaughlan and Yuki Sato continued their whirlwind romance by booking a second honeymoon as soon as the show finished – just four weeks after laying eyes on each other.
"In hindsight, it was a pretty bold move, but we knew we had something good and there were some cheap flights to Fiji, so we thought we should keep it going," explains Wellington electrician Dan.
With the lovebirds enduring four months of long-distance dating between then and their departure, the holiday could've been a disaster, but when Woman's Day joins the pair for beachside cocktails at the DoubleTree Resort on Fiji's Sonaisali Island, it's clear they made the right decision.
"We're still together!" laughs Yuki, 32, a Japanese-born hairdresser who's lived in Christchurch since she was 15. "This is my first time in Fiji and I love it. It's been very romantic."
Nodding, her husband, 31, adds, "It's been amazing to sit on the beach, relax and do nothing. We've just chilled, drank, talked and got to know each other. Before this, every time we've been together, we've been under a pressure cooker – either on the show or just trying to cram as much as we can into a weekend. But now we've taken time out of our crazy lives to concentrate on us and work out who we are as a couple."
The pair's first honeymoon, three days in Bali, played out in front of MAFS audiences. "There was nothing wrong with it," Dan says. "But I'd barely known her for 24 hours at that stage, and then there were all these other couples and cameras in our faces. It wasn't the best way to meet someone."
Yuki adds, "I liked the cameras and the couples, but we just never had time to talk."
However, there's been plenty of chat during their week in Fiji, which also included a few days at luxurious, adults-only Tokoriki Island Resort.
Over dinner with our team, the couple even have their first fight – a jokey argument about Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston! For the record, Dan is outraged when Yuki says the Maleficent actress is "beautiful and does so much for the world", countering, "Jen is way better and she was on Friends!"
But the main topic of conversation is their relationship. While Yuki admits she could've uttered "the L word" very early on, she wanted her hubby to say it first – and he finally did on his Christmas visit to Christchurch. What a gift!
Grinning, he recalls, "I woke up that morning, saw the smile on her face and realised I definitely had those feelings for her. I said it and she said it straight back. It was really cool."
However, it's Yuki's relocation to Wellington that dominates discussion – a move that comes soon after their return from Fiji, with Dan flying to Christchurch to drive his wife, her beloved dog Zara and all her stuff to the capital.
Catching up with us shortly after moving into their light-filled Brooklyn flat, Dan says, "Doing long distance, it felt like we were dating, but now we're living together, we actually feel like husband
and wife. It's good to wake up to Yuki every day. It's set what we've done in the past six months into stone."
Nodding, Yuki adds, "It's a new chapter. A fresh start! It's a huge move for me and it was really hard packing up. I did freak out a little.
"The hardest part was when I got seasick over the Cook Strait. Not good! I was in the bathroom for two hours. But everything else has been fine and I'm excited to start a new life."
Yuki's been busy buying homeware, rearranging things and pottering in the garden. Dan says, "She's making it feel more like home every day. I put the furniture in places I thought she'd like, but then I came home from work one day to find everything somewhere else and our bed in another room. Yuki had completely different ideas – and she's always right!"
"Well, quite often I'm right," she giggles. "It's hard because we had our two separate lives and we've had to merge them."
Fortunately, despite a rocky start while the MAFS cameras were rolling, Zara and Dan are getting on famously, with the fluffy Japanese spitz swiftly adopting the sparkie as her new dad.
Dan laughs, "She went nuts at first, but then she relaxed and now every time Zara walks in the room, she comes to me for a pat instead of Yuki. She makes it feel more like a family home."
"I've lost my baby!" groans Yuki playfully, but while she may no longer be top dog, there's no denying she's the boss in the kitchen, where she enjoys whipping up meals, like her favourite gyoza dumplings, and all of Dan's work lunches.
Blushing, he tells, "As a tradesman, I would usually just buy a pie and a can of Coke, but now she's been making my lunch every day. I've eaten more veges than I have in the past four years. I'll be skinny for our next beach shoot! But it's just nice to open my lunch and know that Yuki's been thinking of me."
Now a self-described "part-time housewife", the hairdresser is enjoying Wellington's warmer weather and she doesn't miss her adopted hometown as she still flies into Christchurch for three days most weeks to work in her old salon.
However, Yuki was heartbroken by the recent terrorist attack, saying, "That's my neighbourhood. I drove past there all the time. All my friends are OK, but there are friends of friends … I never thought that could happen. I'm devastated, but it was amazing to see the community all come together."
She and Dan have watched a few episodes of MAFS Australia, but Yuki says, "It feels like another show. The couples are next level!"
Dan adds, "They're an interesting bunch. A couple of them clearly just care about Instagram likes and there are obviously some characters they've picked to create a stir. It's not the same experience we had. We worked really hard for what we got and they're turning the show into s*."
As far as he and Yuki are concerned, their time on the Three series is in the past.
Dan tells, "It's part of us and it's something to tell the kids, but it's time to move on. It was just a reality show, but now we're out the other side, trying to get back to normal old Yuki and Dan. I still can't believe we're husband and wife. Yuki's all I ever wanted."

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