'Married at First Sight' premiere: Clara and Ryan meet at the altar after everyone preps for their weddings and Chris raises eyebrows
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/13/2021
Married at First Sight featured the five new Season 12 couples picking out their wedding attire and enjoying their bachelor/ette parties before Clara and Ryan met for the first time on their wedding day during Wednesday night's premiere episode on Lifetime.
Married at First Sight experts Pastor Calvin Roberson, Dr. Pepper Schwartz and Dr. Viviana Coles matched five Atlanta-based couples to wed on the new season: Briana and Vincent, Clara and Ryan, Haley and Jacob, Virginia and Erik, and Chris Williams and Paige Banks.
Briana called herself "a slow starter, especially when it comes to showing affection" and said she had a laundry list of things she was looking for in her ideal partner. Briana hoped to find a patient, attractive and financially stable man and go-getter.
"I would like my husband to make more than me," Briana shared, adding that she's a little bit of a clean freak.
The serious engineer and professional woman -- who joked she can be "a little odd -- anticipated a cute love story to tell her kids and grandkids one day, and she was matched with Vincent, an auto broker who insisted he's ready to be married for the rest of his life and start a family.
Vincent shared how his father wasn't around when he was younger and he aspires to be "the complete opposite," a provider for his wife and children as well as "a super dad."
Vincent said his last relationship didn't work out because the woman wanted someone with a corporate job and Vincent was trying to start his own business with no college degree.
"I want someone through thick and thin, someone willing to ride through the lows and the highs. I'm trusting the experts to find me someone I'm compatible with," Vincent told the cameras.
Vincent shared how he's very ambitious and strives hard to be successful but also wants to have fun with his wife.
Vincent's friend De'Andre said Vincent is "100 percent ready for marriage," and Vincent said he's willing to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work.
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!
The experts also matched Erik, a pilot in the Air Force Reserves, with Virginia. Erik had been in a few failed relationships due to his need to travel constantly, including a marriage which resulted in divorce three years prior.
Erik's career goals were finally complete, so he couldn't wait to share his life with someone he loves. He wanted a genuine, down-to-earth and funny girl who wants to have a good time and is independent.
When Erik told his traditional mother Donna that he'd be marrying a stranger, she called the idea "crazy" and admitted she had some concerns and was "a little nervous."
Virginia is a customer-experience specialist at a marketing agency. While she's been used to the single, partying lifestyle, Virginia found herself ready to give a guy the chance to stick around and hopefully not break her heart.
Virginia's parents got divorced and her father was in and out of the picture throughout her childhood, so she admittedly had abandonment issues and had been single for five years.
"I want to find The One and be with him forever. I don't want to keep hopping from relationship to relationship," Virginia noted, adding, "Once I'm committed, I'm going to be all in. I can confidently say I'm ready for that deep love and happiness that can come with being married."
Virginia's dad was "afraid" for her and said he never envisioned his daughter getting married this way. Daniel clearly wasn't happy about the news, and Virginia admitted she and her father butted heads a lot and it was disappointing not to have his support.
"It kind of hurts that he doesn't want to support me," Virginia said.
Paige, a full-time accountant and realtor, said she wants to be a wife and mother "so badly" and had met many men who weren't ready to settle down. She wanted to love a man despite all of his flaws and be there for him through thick and thin.
Paige told her brother that her only dealbreakers were if the man is not God fearing and doesn't want children on her same timeline, but her brother accused her of being more picky.
Paige also admitted it matters that the man makes money and has a place to call his own, and her brother said she had chosen "a really difficult path" to marriage.
Chris -- a finance manager, restaurant owner and former ordained minister -- then shared the news he'd be getting married with his family and pastor Dwight, who called him "brave" but "crazy."
Paige was matched with Chris, who wants an intelligent, submissive, sexy, and freak who's good in bed. Chris said he'd like up to seven children to live on his last name, his "brand."
Chris once lived in a rental car for four months and was homeless but then he landed a six-figure job in Atlanta and changed things around.
Chris had been engaged twice before. The first time it didn't work out because he allegedly didn't make money, and the second engagement allegedly ended due to trust issues.
Chris revealed his last relationship ended just three months prior to signing up for Married at First Sight and it's important to have a partner who is spiritual.
Chris' grandmother advised him to keep an open mind and have no preconceptions, which is something he tends to do.
Pastor Cal predicted Paige and Chris could be a dynamic power couple in life.
The experts also matched Haley and Jacob.
Haley is a sales representative who says she's been single for so long and is used to doing whatever she wants. She's been a bridesmaid 14 times and never found herself the right man.
Haley's been in two serious relationships -- one of which was a five-year, on and off romance with a controlling man who often disappeared and then got another woman pregnant.
Haley developed trust issues as a result, but she said she worked on herself and now feels ready for love with someone who will be willing to travel with her and accept her for who she is.
Haley's friends hoped the process would force Haley to commit and stick with the relationship because she apparently is the one who usually runs after just one date or so.
Jacob, a senior IT programmer, said he was always a dorky, overweight kid with glasses but he started to lift weights as a teenager and then became a bodybuilder. Jacob said he would commit to a woman in his twenties because he didn't want to settle and always wondered if there was a better girl out there.
Now that he's almost 40, Jacob said he's ready to settle down with one lady but people don't give love a fair chance nowadays due to dating apps. Jacob also said he couldn't meet girls at bars due to COVID-19.
"This could be my last chance to find love before I'm 40," Jacob told the cameras.
The experts thought Jacob could bring some stability to Haley's life but she would bring him out of his shell and show him a good time.
The final matched couple for Season 12 was Clara and Ryan.
Clara, a flight attendant, said she loves traveling but typically gets hit on by drunk frat guys or really old men. Clara had a string of terrible dates with drunks and perverts, apparently, and she said she was sick of casually dating losers.
Clara had been searching for a confident man with whom she can take over the world. She's a social butterfly who doesn't want to live life alone, and she told her friends that she's "done with the douchebag guys."
"I've just had crap. I literally had a man Venmo me $100 last week asking permission to take my best friend out on a date even though he and I [hooked up]," Clara shared. "I'm going into this [with the mentality] of 'this is it.'"
Ryan told the cameras he's calculated and appreciates his routine, which includes two or three hours in the gym every day after work and then bed. Ryan said he wanted to be in love but he's never actually said "I love you" to somebody.
Ryan said those words are incredibly significant and special to him and he'll say it to a woman who lights a fire in his heart.
Ryan was one of 10-15 black kids in his high school and so he's had some great interracial relationships. Ryan also grew up in a very conservative, rural town, so he admitted he's faced racism in the past but other people's opinions or criticism no longer bother him.
Although Ryan is typically organized and not super spontaneous, he insisted he was totally ready to take a leap of faith and take a big step out of his comfort zone.
With only 10 days until the weddings, the Married at First Sight brides met each other and the grooms also got together in a separate location.
Paige said the ladies were "beautiful, dope and super energetic" and she looked forward to calling her fellow Married at First Sight brides her "homegirls."
Meanwhile, Chris said Jacob came across calm, cool and collected but the quiet one is always to be feared. Chris revealed he had been engaged in early 2020 but they broke up due to a difference in opinion over how relationships should go.
Erik had been married and divorced before, so he was a little concerned Chris was rushing into a marriage when he might not be ready to do that.
Virginia told the ladies that she parties a lot and asked for a man who would want to join her on adventures and have fun. Virginia said she didn't want to "settle down" and stay home with a guy.
Briana worried Virginia would have trouble adjusting to married life since she still seemed to be living the single life -- young, wild and free.
The girls agreed they wanted men who could keep up with them, and Clara expressed her fear she might recognize her groom or one of the groomsmen, which made the other brides-to-be laugh.
Paige admitted she wouldn't be ready for a kiss at the altar, except maybe on the cheek, and Clara called that "weird." The girls also discussed how they probably wouldn't be ready to have sex on their wedding nights, although they'd probably be up for it on the honeymoon.
Meanwhile, Chris said his biggest fear was having an ugly bride, which seemed to rub some of the other guys the wrong way. Jacob expressed concern about not being attracted to his wife, but he apparently thought the word "ugly" was a bit strong.
"Obviously you are compatible with this person and so you would want to get to know her and see why you were matched with this person," Vincent explained to Chris.
Vincent told the cameras that Chris was "awkward" and "a little sketchy" and asked strange "what ifs?"
Chris also asked, "What would you do if you had a honeymoon baby?... It's possible."
Erik cracked up laughing, and all the guys agreed no one had thought of that possibility. Chris also bluntly told Jacob that his clock was ticking for starting a family and having children.
Chris joked about how he needed to send a group text to women telling them that they couldn't talk anymore, and Erik noted he had to delete his dating apps.
The next day, Chris talked to his pastor Dwight about how he just ended an engagement three months ago and that was tough for him, and it was especially tough since he was about to marry a stranger after a failed relationship.
Dwight asked Chris if he was chasing love or lust, and Chris admitted that when he had sex with women before fully getting to know them in the past, all of those relationships failed.
"I think one of the things I've learned is that sex can cloud your judgement," Chris shared.
"I'm not going to lie and say that, you know, you have a beautiful wife and this is your bride, you know, it's not going to be tempting. But I am considering, even though we're married -- and I've been waiting for this day -- that I may not have sex with her the first time that we meet or on the honeymoon."
Dwight advised Chris to have self-control over his body and be happy that a woman wants to be with him for his heart instead of his money.
The pastor also asked Chris to close the door with his ex because his wife deserved his entire mind, body and spirit, and with that being said, Chris insisted he was over his past relationship without a doubt.
Meanwhile, Paige told the girls that she felt "at peace" and at ease with marrying at first sight. Clara also bought the brides-to-be lingerie for their wedding night or honeymoon.
Paige said she bought specific lingerie for the honeymoon and planned to do a little role playing, but Bri admitted she hadn't bought anything special.
Virginia said Paige exuded self-confidence and has a noticeably big booty her groom would probably appreciate.
Clara shared that she's very comfortable with her sexuality and talking about sex, and so she hoped her husband wouldn't shy away from the topic and would be willing to make love early on. Bri joked that Clara was 50 Shades of Gray.
Paige admitted she doesn't like condoms and so she hoped her future husband got tested before getting engaged, and Bri said she'd never let her husband handcuff her to the bed.
Paige also confessed she wouldn't go near a guy's butt but she hoped he could please her just like she would please him. Clara was taken aback by Paige's honesty considering she's very religious, but she gushed about how she was all for it.
With one week to go until their weddings, the ladies went shopping for their wedding dress and the men went shopping for a tuxedo.
Bri looked for a classic, elegant and modest gown. She said she was probably still single because she always focused on the physical with men first and worried about compatibility later.
"That's definitely not how it should be," Bri acknowledged. "That had a lot to do with why I changed myself in relationships, because I based everything off of physical."
Bri selected a strapless satin gown with a sweetheart neckline and dramatic train.
Chris picked out sparkly shoes for his wedding day and Dwight admitted he was just nervous because Chris can be "so picky" about everything, from the clothes he wears to the food he eats.
"I want to be the best looking groom in the history of Married at First Sight," Chris noted with a laugh, adding that he felt fly and full of swag in his blue and black paisley tuxedo jacket.
Paige chose a form-fitted dress with lace sleeves, a little sparkle and a low back.
Haley picked out a sleek design with a low back, buttons down the back and a tiny sparkly belt, and Jacob wished while trying on tuxedos that his wife would like 80s movies and appreciate his weirdness and quirks.
Virginia searched for her perfect dress accompanied by her friends since her family, especially her father, wasn't exactly supportive of her decision to marry a stranger.
But suddenly, Virginia's stepmother showed up to be there for the big moment in Virginia's life, and the bride-to-be burst into tears. Virginia said this was the boost she needed heading into her wedding day.
Virginia chose an embellished, sleek dress, and she told her friends it would be hard if her husband asked her to slow down and stop partying. Virginia noted it would be a dealbreaker if her husband wasn't fun and outgoing.
When Clara went searching for her dream dress, she avoided lace and wanted to find to find something that would show off her personality. Clara already had nightmares about her groom -- including one of him wearing Crocs at the altar -- and so she was getting a bit anxious and tense.
Clara picked out a dress that showed off her curves and features a slim bedazzled belt with a big bow in the back.
It then became time for the bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Jacob asked Erik whether he'd rather be unattracted to his bride or have his bride be unattracted to him, and Erik said he'd rather lack the attraction because he's be willing to work on it and help it grow.
Erik joked about how Jacob seemed a little weird and strange, and he was just hoping his future wife wasn't doing anything crazy at her party.
But Virginia was admittedly "a little extra" at the women's joint bachelorette party, and footage showed her shaking her butt in a tiny two-piece sequin dress.
Chris showed up to the bachelor party with a blowup doll in order to have "some clean fun."
Ryan laughed about how that wasn't his "cup of tea" but fun can come in all different ways. It also wasn't Jacob's scene.
Meanwhile, Vincent decided to have a good time by talking to the dancer at the party. Chris joked that he didn't even want to go near that woman, mainly because he didn't want to disrespect his future wife or upset her in any way.
Erik said he's a traditional, conservative guy and it would be interesting to see how the other men would behave in their marriages.
Clara was then shown telling the girls how they all seemed to be "alpha females" and she'd never be submissive in a marriage. But at the same time, she wanted to be matched with a guy who could call her out on her stuff and be able to go tit for tat.
"Obviously I want my husband to be a protector and a provider, but do I necessarily believe in gender roles? No," Paige shared.
Clara asked Paige whether she wanted her husband to become head of the household, which would make her a "subservient wife" since she was raised as a Christian, and Paige responded, "Ideally, that's a perfect world, but have I had that? No."
Paige elaborated that she'd like to explore the possibilities a man might set for her in their household.
"I've never been submissive... but I want to," Paige shared. "I just need to feel comfortable to have a man take that lead."
The girls joked with Paige how she seemingly wants to drive her kids to Bible school and then get "nasty" with her hard-working husband later on.
The bachelorette party apparently ended with Virginia, whom Clara said was "totally wasted," throwing up in a toilet.
The couples' wedding day then arrived, and Virginia said she hoped her groom would be down-to-earth, fun and want to partake in adventures with her as well as traveling the world.
All of the Married at First Sight individuals were excited to wed but also a little nervous, and Chris told the cameras he hoped his wife was going to be "hot as hell" and not with him for his money.
Clara worried about whether she'd like her husband and he'd like her, and Ryan anticipated he would be crying some tears later that day.
Footage then showed Clara and Ryan getting ready for their big day, and Clara joked she'd probably "puke" once she put her dress on.
Clara gifted Ryan some of her favorite tequila and shot glasses on their wedding day, and Clara shared she had made the shot glasses herself. She also "iced" him with a Smirnoff Ice, joking that he needed to get down on one knee for her in some way.
In return, Ryan wrote Clara a beautiful letter and thanked her for taking a leap of faith.
Ryan's beautiful words made Clara cry, as he gifted her a blue speaker -- which had been his wingman from backyard cookouts to staying in an AirBnB in Budapest -- and said he couldn't wait to create wonderful memories with her as well as playlists and their "own soundtrack" for when they go on trips together.
Clara couldn't believe it because she used to make mixtapes and playlists for ex-boyfriends.
Clara's mother gushed, "Who cares what he looks like! He just wrote you that letter!"
Clara predicted she was about to marry an extraordinary man, who seemed to sincerely want true love.
Ryan also gave Clara a blindfold to wear down the aisle so their first connection would be a hand-hold instead of catching glances at each other from yards away.
Ryan wanted to form a physical connection with Clara right off the bat by touching hands and then locking eyes.
Clara's bridesmaids liked the idea Ryan and Clara would look at each other for the first time at the very same moment, and Clara didn't seem to mind walking down the aisle totally blind.
"I'm about to welcome a complete stranger into my life, my family's life and my friends' lives. I can feel the weight of the moment, for sure," Ryan told the cameras.
Clara was then shown complaining about her hair and how she didn't feel like she looked like herself.
"I've only wanted to get married once, and after reading his letter, it hit me, like, 'What if he doesn't like me?'" Clara lamented.
Clara also said the hem job on her wedding dress was terrible because it was too short and she never picked out heels to wear since her feet were going to show.
Clara just wasn't happy about her appearance on her big day and seemed upset while Ryan was ready and prepared to meet his future wife.
Clara hoped her future husband was going to be as genuine as his letter had implied.
"I want a meaningful connection to start off our relationship. Holding hands with her and getting that moment right before I see her, I'm a bit of a sentimental person and it would be a very cool shared experience to look back on," Ryan explained.
Clara felt a little sick before walking down the aisle and confessed she was "terrified" about being matched with a man she might never have picked for herself.
"I feel like I'm having a panic attack," Clara vented.
When Clara and Ryan joined hands at the altar, Ryan apologized for having sweat palms.
"This is so weird," Clara said.
The best man and maid of honor then removed the spouses' blindfolds at the same time.
The episode ended on a cliffhanger, with fans unable to see Ryan and Clara's reactions to each other.