'Married at First Sight' debuts with Amber Bowles marrying Matt Gwynne and Deonna McNeill wedding Gregory Okotie
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/13/2019
Married at First Sight's ninth season premiered with wedding dress shopping, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and two couples tying the knot with complete strangers during Wednesday night's two-hour episode on Lifetime.
Four pairs of strangers were matched by returningMarried at First Sight experts Dr. Pepper Schwartz and Pastor Calvin Roberson as well as newcomer Dr. Viviana Coles, a psychotherapist who replaced Dr. Jessica Griffin for Season 9.
Viewers were first introduced to Iris Caldwell, a 27-year-old virgin who works for a nonprofit from Raleigh, NC.
Iris revealed she loves working with children and liked the idea of being married at first sight because men in her past didn't want to deal with the fact she's saving herself for her husband due to her religious views.
Iris was matched with Keith Manley, a 27-year-old high school basketball coach from Greensboro, NC, who shared that he had been single because he was very focused on his work with kids.
However, Keith said he'd like to start a family of his own and looks forward to his wife becoming his best friend.
Iris and Keith were matched by the experts because they both love to help others and have good communication skills. They also both have strong family systems and support from their loved ones.
Elizabeth Bice, a 30-year-old accounting executive for her dad's company from South Carolina who was raised in Mooresville, NC, was matched with Jamie Thompson, a 35-year-old technical consultant from Columbia, SC.
Elizabeth, a daddy's girl, called herself "hilarious" and said she's "a fun kind of crazy." Elizabeth had been single for two years prior to Married at First Sight and figured it was because she can be overwhelming.
Elizabeth was looking for a driven and handsome man who takes care of himself -- "more of a metro kind of guy."
FOLLOW REALITY TV WORLD ON THE ALL-NEW GOOGLE NEWS!
Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!
Dubbed "Mr. Picky" by Lifetime, Jamie wanted a woman who is ambitious, caring, supportive, has a great smile, and much, much more. He said he was definitely ready to settle down and done with the dating scene. Jamie looked forward to falling in love.
Elizabeth and Jamie were matched because they're both passionate people.
Pastor Cal even called Elizabeth "a force of nature," while Jamie has been very successful in his career. Pastor Cal, however, hoped their passions would drive them together and not apart.
Amber Bowles, a 27-year-old eighth grade English teacher currently living in the Charlotte area, told the cameras she didn't know how to meet a guy and doesn't wear makeup or glamorous clothes.
The self-declared sporty Tomboy was raised by her father because her mother apparently fell for a woman and left her children to pursue the same-sex relationship.
Amber feared rejection, but she really wanted love in her life. She was matched with Matt Gwynne, a 32-year-old professional basketball player from Raleigh, NC.
Matt said he had been in Europe and Latin America playing basketball for the last seven years. Because of all the traveling, he had trouble meeting someone, and distance always posed an issue for his relationships.
Matt still believed in marriage despite his parents' recent divorce, and he intended to put down roots in Charlotte and accomplish something other than bouncing a basketball.
Dr. Pepper said Amber and Matt were a good match because they both live an active lifestyle and are avid travelers. They also both deeply craved a commitment. They have quite the height difference, however, given Amber is 5'2" and Jamie is nearly 7 feet tall.
And finally, the fourth couple matched was Deonna McNeill, a 30-year-old operations manager currently living in the Charlotte area, and Gregory Okotie, a 32-year-old math learning center owner from Fort Washington, MD.
Deonna's first boyfriend from high school apparently broke her heart, and so because of that hurt, she had been single for 10 years.
Deonna, however, was able to put her guard down in recent years and finally felt ready to be married.
Deonna, a homeowner who has obtained two degrees in education, also thinks she's be quite the catch for her spouse. She hoped her husband would be smart and "into the church" because she's very religious.
As for Greg, he was engaged two years prior to the Married at First Sight process, but he felt ready for love again. He said his relationship with his ex didn't work out and it was "just toxic overall."
Like Deonna, Greg acknowledged religion is very important to him. Not only does he frequently read the Bible, but he also serves at his church.
Deonna and Greg were "a match made in heaven," according to Pastor Cal, because they both have strong core values as well as emotional, motivational and spiritual compatibility.
After meeting for the first time at their wedding ceremony, each Season 9 couple's life together was documented over the course of eight weeks -- including the wedding reception and honeymoon and the joys and struggles of daily life, such as moving in together.
After the four couples were matched to marry, their weddings were only 12 days away.
Each "engaged" person therefore shared his or her big news with family and friends, who were pretty supportive overall despite expressing some initial shock and natural concerns.
The women then went shopping for their wedding dresses, as the men selected their suits or tuxedos.
Iris wanted to find the whitest gown possible to represent her purity, while Amber planned to get dolled up unlike ever before.
Afterward, all of the brides met each other for cocktails, and the grooms got together for some pool and whiskey.
The guys were shocked how tall Matt was and hoped his bride had some legs on her, or at least high heels, and it became apparent to the girls Elizabeth likes to stand out given she attended the bachelorette party wearing red when all of the other ladies were dressed in white.
That night, the cast members had their respective bachelorette or bachelor parties. Amber revealed the last time she had sexual intercourse was eight months prior with her ex-boyfriend, but Deonna decided to plead the fifth about her last encounter.
When Iris shared that she's a virgin, everyone was shocked and excited -- and Elizabeth called her "a rare fossil."
Meanwhile, Greg told the guys that he wasn't interested in consummating his marriage that first night. The other guys, however, agreed they'd let their brides set the pace for intimacy.
Deonna and Iris both admitted they didn't want to have sex after exchanging vows, but Elizabeth pointed out she "absolutely" wanted to have sex with her husband.
Jamie found himself extremely attracted to the card dealer at his bachelor party, but he had to check himself and remind himself he was getting married soon.
The ladies also let loose with male strippers, except for Iris, who "wasn't really feeling the strip show," according to Elizabeth.
Prior to their wedding day, Amber noted she'd love to form solid bonds with Matt's family because family is very important to her, but little did she know his parents would not even be attending the wedding.
Matt said he didn't "feel comfortable" inviting his parents to the ceremony after the divorce, and growing up, he'd never imagine they wouldn't be there because they were incredibly close. Matt hoped Amber would understand his position because family still meant a lot to him despite his parents' absence.
As for Keith, he needed a blessing from his "skeptical" grandparents. Keith's grandparents were concerned and didn't believe in the Married at First Sight process, but they still chose to be supportive and have Keith's back.
All of the participants were clearly nervous before meeting their spouses. Elizabeth was especially emotional, but Deonna just appeared excited and ready.
It then became time for Deonna and Greg's wedding ceremony. When Greg saw her for the first time, he called her "absolutely beautiful," and Deonna thought her husband was "very handsome."
After exchanging their own sincere vows, Greg asked, "May I [have a kiss]?" Deonna obliged and the couple shared a sweet little kiss as man and wife.
Following the ceremony, Deonna told Greg that she hadn't been in a relationship for 10 years, and she felt judged by Greg. He was in fact worried about whether his wife had the experience to commit herself to one man and a marriage.
Deonna, however, explained she had traveled abroad and earned her Master's Degree. She had been single because she worked hard on herself, and so Greg's nerves calmed a bit and he liked the fact she sounded adventurous.
Before Amber walked down the aisle to her husband, Matt, the ladies on her side of the aisle appeared shocked in a great way by his good looks. One woman's mouth, for instance, was on the floor.
When Amber saw Matt for the first time, she gushed about how he was everything she wanted. She called him "so cute," and Matt just said, "Wow," upon seeing her. Matt told the cameras Amber was "beautiful" and "gorgeous."
During their vows, Matt learned Amber would rather be at a basketball game than a candelight dinner, and he was so pleased to hear such news considering basketball was his career up to that point.
The new couple recited their own vows, and Amber announced out loud, "Can he kiss the bride yet? I like him!" Amber and Matt agreed to be a team and have each other's back.
Amber and Matt then shared their first kiss at the altar, and she yelled, "He's so cute and I'm so glad you can play basketball!"
Matt tried to wrap his head around the fact he was a husband, but Amber definitely felt sparks and thought Matt had great lips.
The broadcast ended with a cliffhanger, before Elizabeth and Iris were set to walk down the aisle.
"I'm starting to get a little afraid... I'm not sure how I feel about being a wife to a stranger. I could potentially be a runaway bride," Elizabeth told the cameras. "This is overwhelming. I'm going to have a panic attack. I don't know if I want to do this."
"I don't know if I'm ready to go down this path," Jamie noted.