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How the Covid-19 pandemic forced Married At First Sight to get creative

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Married At First Sight is likely to look very different this year.

Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, executive producer Tara McWilliams was determined the new season go ahead as planned.

However, several important changes were made to accommodate Covid safety measures, including limited capacity at weddings.

Here’s all the ways Endemol Shine and Channel Nine made sure the participants, experts and crew stayed safe during the shoot last year. 

Zoom meetings, local honeymoons and lonely weddings: How a global pandemic forced Married At First Sight producers to get creative ahead of the show’s ‘very different’ new season

Small weddings 

Fans hoping for lavish weddings full of disapproving family members may be slightly disappointed, as guest numbers were scaled back.

Daily Mail Australia understands that some couples were able to invite close family, but others were only allowed one or two guests. 

Small weddings: Fans hoping for lavish weddings full of disapproving family members, may be slightly disappointed with guest numbers being scaled back

Small weddings: Fans hoping for lavish weddings full of disapproving family members, may be slightly disappointed with guest numbers being scaled back

Local honeymoons

With international travel out of the question, couples stayed in New South Wales.

Several pairings were married in Richmond and the Hunter Valley, and one couple was treated to a penthouse suite at Sydney’s Coogee Pavilion.

Local: With international travel out of the question, couples remained local and stayed in New South Wales

Local: With international travel out of the question, couples remained local and stayed in New South Wales

Zoom meetings 

With parts of the country in lockdown, the couples were required to check in virtually with experts Mel Schilling, John Aiken and Alessandra Rampolla.

The brides and grooms also had daily catch-ups with their producer, as well as group meetings with head honcho Tara McWilliams.

Virtual: With the country sent into lockdown, couples were required to virtually check in with experts Mel Schilling, John Aiken and Alessandra Rampolla

Virtual: With the country sent into lockdown, couples were required to virtually check in with experts Mel Schilling, John Aiken and Alessandra Rampolla

Zooming in: Smitten bride Joanne Todd (pictured) gushing over her partner via video link

Zooming in: Smitten bride Joanne Todd (pictured) gushing over her partner via video link

Mandatory quarantine 

Couples from Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Queensland were all required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in New South Wales.

Initially, Victorians were excluded from the casting process due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus in the state.

However, producers backpedalled on this decision after receiving applications from several Melburnians who ‘appeared to be there for the right reasons’.

Couples from Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Queensland were all required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in New South Wales. Pictured: Beck Zemek and Beth Moore

Couples from Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Queensland were all required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in New South Wales. Pictured: Beck Zemek and Beth Moore

Covid-19 testing  

Throughout production, the cast and crew were all required to undergo mandatory testing for coronavirus.

Perth brides Booka Nile, Beth Moore and Rebecca Zemek, and Melbourne-based Jake Edwards, were all tested for Covid-19 ahead of the show’s reunion this week.

Safety first! Perth-based brides Beth Moore (pictured, Booka Nile, Beck Zemek and Jake Edwards (pictured) were all subject to a COVID-19 test ahead of the show's reunion this week

Safety first! Perth-based brides Beth Moore (pictured, Booka Nile, Beck Zemek and Jake Edwards (pictured) were all subject to a COVID-19 test ahead of the show’s reunion this week

Face masks 

For obvious reasons, the crew and participants were all required to wear masks on set throughout production.

The cast were only able to take their masks off when filming was under way.

Safety first! For obvious reasons, all cast and crew were all required to wear masks on set throughout production. Pictured: Groom Jake Edwards (left) and camera crew (right)

Safety first! For obvious reasons, all cast and crew were all required to wear masks on set throughout production. Pictured: Groom Jake Edwards (left) and camera crew (right)

Safety first! For obvious reasons, all cast and crew were all required to wear masks on set throughout production. Pictured: Groom Jake (left) and camera crew (right)

Delays 

Originally scheduled for mid-January, the season eight reunion dinner party was postponed due to border closures and only took place this week.

It’s not the first time the show has faced delays due to the pandemic.

In March last year, it was reported the new season had been postponed in the wake of the first Covid-19 outbreak in Australia.

Despite the delay, Married At First Sight is only premiering a few weeks later than usual – on February 22 at 7.30pm on Nine and 9Now.

Coming soon: The upcoming season of Married At First Sight premieres February 22 on Nine. Pictured: Beth Moore

Coming soon: The upcoming season of Married At First Sight premieres February 22 on Nine. Pictured: Beth Moore

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