Before my job as a journalist, I was lucky enough to work in the wedding industry for over seven years.
Yup, move over JLo - ALo was literally at the beck and call of hundreds of brides and grooms.
So when I realised that my life from January to March 2019 would be consumed by the juggernaut that is Married at First Sight, I thought – "I got this, I know this world like the back of my hand."
Not only did I help plan the biggest day of most people's lives, I also got to attend the wedding - from ceremony to the dance floor.
And surprisingly, when I got to attend my very first MAFS wedding – the marriage of Nic Jovanovic and Cyrell Jimenez at Curzon Hall, Sydney, I felt like I was back at one of my weddings – slightly removed but fully invested at the very same time.
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So, what was it really like to attend a MAFS wedding?
Did they really meet for the first time? Was that fight between Nic and Ivan real? Was there food and alcohol? Did we notice the cameras?
Behold, this is what really happens.
WATCH NEXT: Ivan confronts Nic
My preconceived idea before going into the venue was that I'd feel like I was on a TV set – lights, cameras, crew running around (after all, this is a TV show), and while all of these elements were there, the décor; (including flowers, arch, and aisle) told another story - and it all just felt *so, well, real.
The other thing surprising detail was that all of the guests were friends and family (except for our small group of media), so this couple, who we knew nothing about, were getting married in front of their nearest and dearest FOR REALS.
I think this was genuinely the best and most exciting part of the day and you know what you guys? This was LEGIT!
Nic and Cyrell had never ever met. EVER.
In fact, the awkwardness was real, for everyone. There was a lot of nervous laughter from the guests and the participants themselves – and some very uncomfortable small talk.
Without stopping, the celebrant went through the proceedings and the vows were read and before they knew it, Nic and Cyrell were pronounced husband and wife.
What an emotional rollercoaster!
Besides a few additional takes, i.e. walking down the aisle again for the right camera angle (this happened twice) and zero music - everything was real and it couldn't have been better.
Being swept up in the incredible moment of it all, you really do forget you're on a television set.
We were warned before we attended that there would be some periods of waiting, but we didn't know we'd be waiting… and waiting… and waiting for what felt like an eternity.
In fact, between the ceremony and reception, the entire "set" had to be changed from ceremony to reception and what some people don't actually realise is that this is very common for a real wedding.
Sometimes, you may have to wait at a venue for one and a half hours between ceremony and reception for this very reason – but at a MAFS wedding, there's the added bonus of cameras and lighting.
So we waited. And ordered Grill'd. And waited some more...
Speaking of waiting…
You'll all be very pleased to know that the confrontation between Nic and Cyrell's brother, Ivan, was was 100% real.In fact, it was so real that dinner was almost two hours late because Ivan had taken Nic outside for their one-on-one.
Ivan putting the fear of God into Nic. Real. The fear in Nic's eyes? Real...
Just like a real wedding, the food was a-plenty and the alcohol was flowing. The only exception was the lack of music until the first dance.
Watching the wedding back was equally exciting and also a little bit terrifying, mostly because there were so many times we forgot that the cameras were rolling.
At one point, I noticed the camera had been on me for at least thirty seconds, and for the last few months was petrified my first foray onto TV would be me eating and drinking. Standard.
But like all TV shows, there is a certain amount of editing that happens; and a lot of what we saw, including a hilarious karaoke session with the family, cutting of the cake, the first dance and my epic cameo – all hit the cutting room floor.
The experience was incredibly memorable and is definitely a tick off the old bucket list.
And one thing is for sure, Married at First Sight puts the "real" into "reality"!