‘It’s a bit different, eh’ – First couples wed on Married at First Sight NZ

Families weigh in as new brides and grooms Lacey and Luke and Claire and Dom meet - and marry.
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After becoming a ratings winner in Australia, the UK and the US, the show reality TV fans have been waiting for finally arrived in New Zealand last night and things got a little awkward.

The so-called ‘extreme social experiment’ sees 12 white, middle-class New Zealanders being paired off with complete strangers based on compatibility and other tests done by psychologists.

Episode one of Married at First Sight NZ opened with the experts telling us that although there are more ways than ever to meet someone, today there are more people single in New Zealand than ever before. The answer for those still looking for love? Marry a stranger.

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Before our Kiwi singles meet their match, they first mix and mingle with the other brides and grooms at their respective hen and stag parties.

Across town, the very sedate start to the stag night sees the men chat about why they came on the show. Dom, the oldest groom at 58, says he’s here to find “lurve”, that after two previous marriages he’s “made all the mistakes and I know what to do now.”

We then get to the first two couples paired by the experts. They match Lacey, a 30-year-old, driven and “big-hearted” business consultant with Luke, a 34-year-old former competitive surfer who now works as a warehouse manager.

The reason for the match? He would balance out her drive and Lacey would give introverted Luke the boost he needs.

When it comes to dating, Luke says he has “no game at all. I’m terrible… I’m probably just scared of rejection. I like things just naturally occurring which is why this is different for me because this is definitely not naturally occurring… This is a completely set up mega super date.”

The second couple they match is retired police officer Dom, 58, and Claire, 51, a function coordinator, who are both from Palmerston North.

Claire, first got married at 22, but her marriage ended four years ago when her former husband left her. She’s got three children and her daughter Rebecca applied for her to be on the show.

Claire’s really outgoing (the lady has some moves on that pole!) and wants someone who doesn’t want to change her. “I like who I am.”

Dom, who was nicknamed ‘Mr Fluffy’ while in police training for his “advanced empathy skills”, has three children and is big on dad jokes.

Before the weddings take place, Lacey, Luke, Dom and Claire have to break it to their families that they are marrying a stranger. And that’s when things get really awkward.

At a family lunch for her dad’s 65th birthday, Lacey reveals the big news. Her twin sister Skye is not impressed. Her dad gets emotional. Her mum is suspicious.

Meanwhile, Luke decides to throw a rugby ball around with his brother Matt for the first time in years. He tells him that he’s getting married. To a stranger. Matt feigns surprise. The fact that a camera crew was following them around the paddock probably made him think something was up.

“It’s a bit different, eh,” says Luke after breaking the news, and not for the first time in this episode.

Meanwhile Dom and Claire’s families seem cautiously excited for their nuptials. “It’s a bit weird,” says Dom’s daughter Elise.

Claire’s daughter Rebecca, who applied for her mum to be on the show is also “a bit scared.” “I’m just concerned that he’s not going to be what she wants.”

The big day arrives. Claire is accompanied down the aisle by her dad with her children watching on.

Dom gives her the biggest smile and a warm hug as they meet for the very first time.

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Claire and Dom hug on meeting for the first time.

Meanwhile, Luke is waiting nervously for Lacey to arrive at their wedding venue. He starts cracking some jokes with the celebrant “So, have you done this before?” and gets some laughs from Lacey’s family and friends.

Lacey’s twin sister Skye lays her eyes on him for the first time and whispers to the other bridesmaid “I don’t know if she’s going to like him.”

She walks up the aisle and they meet for the first time. “Hey, how’s it going,” says Luke awkwardly, as if she’s someone he just met in the dairy. “This is a bit different, eh?” “Yeah, just a little bit,” says Lacey.

Luke and Lacey on their wedding day.

At the wedding reception, Lacey shows off her boss lady skills going behind the bar to get drinks for everyone, impressing her new groom Luke.

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Over at Dom and Claire’s wedding reception, daughter Rebecca is concerned that her new step dad hasn’t come to talk to her yet. After a quiet word from Claire, he swoops in and gives her one of his Daddy Dom hugs.

Claire and Dom at their wedding reception.

After their wedding receptions the couples go back to a hotel for their first night together as husband and wife. And that’s when the cameras retreat before Dom can undo his robe any further!

Expect more awkwardness tonight, when the experts match two more couples.

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