Married At First Sight

Is Married At First Sight legal in Australia? Why the Marriage Act makes things complicated

They say ''I do'' on their very first view, but how legit are these TV weddings?

By Bella Brennan and Alex Lilly
With the highly-anticipated ninth season of Married At First Sight set to hit screens at the end of January, this age-old question has popped up again: Is the show even legal in Australia?
Each bride and groom's big day has all the trimmings of a real wedding - the frou-frou dress, a celebrant (who may or may not be an actor), the bridal parties, the father walking the bride down the aisle, the cringe-worthy best man speeches, the drunken tears - but are they legally binding?
Ultimately, it's all for the cameras and the Married At First Sight weddings are not real, but rather a commitment ceremony and a promise to ride out the social experiment with honesty and effort.
"They are not," a Nine spokesperson confirmed to Now to Love, when asked if the MAFS weddings were real.
When the first season of Married At First Sight aired in 2015, the social experiment drew criticism for being "morally unsound" and an insult to the same-sex marriage campaign.
A change.org petition to have the show axed garnered 15,000 signatures.
Luckily Troy and Ashley's marriage from season five didn't last, so there was no need for any real divorce paperwork. (Image: Nine Network)
At the time, a network rep explained exactly how the weddings worked and revealed: "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," the rep added.
"At the end of the experiment, they are given the option to continue with the relationship or go their separate ways."
Zoe Hendrix and Alex Garner from season one of were the last-standing poster couple of the show and before their sad split, they were even thinking about a real wedding.
"It's weird, we feel like we are really married anyway," Zoe, who shares daughter Harper with her ex-partner Alex, revealed to the Daily Telegraph, before they parted ways in April 2018.
"We will probably have a wedding down the track, but it's like we are already married."
Cam and Jules made it official, but after MAFS was over. (Image: Nine Network)
Of course there's one couple who have made things official after meeting on the show: Cam Merchant and Jules Robinson.
As the golden couple of MAFS 2019, they hit it off straight away and ended the season finale with a MAFS first - an actual proposal.
Cam and Jules tied the knot in Sydney in November 2019 surrounded by family and friends, including former co-stars Heidi Latcham, Nic Jovanovic and Cyrell Paule.
Maybe true love can prevail after reality TV!
WATCH BELOW: Laura Byrne talks Jules Robinson and Cam Merchant's wedding on Instagram. Post continues after video...
Cam and Jules' season six co-stars Martha Kalifatidis and Michael Brunelli also announced that they were making things official.
The couple, who have been together since they met on the show, announced their engagement in December 2021 and all we can say is bring on the wedding!
Married At First Sight season nine airs on January 31.
Michael Brunelli and Martha Kalifatidis from season six got engaged in real life, two years after "marrying" on the show. (Image: Nine Network)