MAFS' Al Perkins reveals surprising details about show's dinner parties
The season nine groom has revealed what viewers don't get to see on TV.
Whether there are fiery confrontations across the table or group interventions amongst the cast, there’s no denying that the dinner parties are often the most dramatic episodes of Married At First Sight.
Season nine fan favourite Al Perkins - who made quite an impression at his first dinner party when he did a shoey in the middle of the room - has now opened up to Yahoo Lifestyle about what it’s really like attending the infamous events, including how long they go for and how much alcohol the participants are allowed to drink.
What time everyone arrives
Al explains that the couples aren’t aware of what order they are arriving at the dinner party, but they have to wait around “for ages” before entering the room.
“You have no idea whether you’re first or you’re last,” he says. “You rock up and then you wait in your couples for like an hour and a bit and then you go in, but everyone’s different.
“Some people can wait for half an hour and go straight in, but I think you wait for a minimum of half an hour. Sometimes people wait for like an hour and a half. I remember it's really nerve-racking, but you get used to it.”
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He adds that he was “so nervous” when he and his partner Samantha Moitzi were about to enter their first dinner party and they could hear everyone’s voices behind the sliding door.
“We were one of the last couples to walk in and I was s**tting myself,” he says. “And then when you meet everybody, it’s really hard to remember everyone’s names and everything’s going so quickly. Everything became a bit of a blur.
“And then you sit down and you're just trying to recap on what the heck's going on with everybody. Obviously, there are a few people having issues with their partners and you don’t really listen to every single person, so you don't really know until you watch it on TV as well. So you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn't even know that happened or that person had that issue in their relationship’.”
Why he decided to do a shoey
Al says he wanted to “break the tension” in the room at the first dinner party by drinking beer from his shoe - something he admits he rarely did before MAFS.
“I went in there with no plans, I didn't want to make any expectations,” he shares. “I didn’t even plan a shoey - I never even did shoeys before that!
“It was just such a spur-of-the-moment thing and I just wanted to go in there and have heaps of fun. I always thought in my mind, what's the worst thing that could happen? I don’t want to be boring, I want to just chat s**t and have a good time, and that's exactly what I did and I guess people liked me for it.
“And now shoeys are my thing! I walk down the street and people are yelling at me to do a shoey. I’d done probably like two shoeys before the show in my whole life and then just did it once and it stuck with me.”
How long the dinner party goes for
While the dinner party episodes are edited to around 90 minutes on TV, it’s no surprise that the night goes for much longer in real life.
Al explains that the first part of the night, also known as the ‘cocktail party’, lasts around an hour while all of the couples arrive. Then before moving to the dinner table, the cast spends another hour filming their confessionals with the producers.
“After everyone leaves the room they set up the whole dinner party section with cameras and things like that, and then everyone gets separated and you do your interviews on what just happened,” he details.
“They’ll probably be like, ‘So who are you going to talk to?’ or ‘Are you going to ask this person these questions?’ and that's when they probably start working out who’s going to sit where. And then they bring you back into the room and then you walk to the dinner table.
“The cocktail party is probably an hour, and then another hour of interviews, and then you go back into that room again and the party goes for probably three, four hours or something… Watching it you think it's just a smooth transition and everyone just walks from one room to the other after the guy clinks his glass and says ‘dinner is served’, but it’s a big time difference.”
How the couples are seated
Al reveals that there are name tags on each seat at the dinner table instructing the participants on where to sit, however, they’re not expected to stay there the whole night.
“I know that some people were seated with someone they really didn’t like in my season,” he recalls. “I think Holly [Greenstein] was seated next to Andrew [Davis] and then she got up and walked away - which I guess you can do. I don’t think the producers are gonna come out and tell you to go back to your seat.
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“I think they do strategically sit you next to people to make you talk more and people who are going to probe you a bit more as well.
“I liked to move around,” he adds. “I liked to try to talk to every single person at least once in the night. But I always sat where I was meant to sit until I finished my food, and then once I finished my food I just jumped around anywhere.
How much alcohol they’re allowed to drink
One of the biggest questions viewers often have about the dinner parties is how much alcohol the brides and grooms are given and whether it plays into the drama. However, Al asserts that the show is “very responsible” with the cast members’ alcohol consumption.
“They don't want you slurring,” he explains. “As soon as they start hearing you slur your words or your eyes go red and glassy then they’ll be like, ‘Alright, no more drinking for you’.
“I got cut off twice at the dinner parties, it was pretty bad,” he adds with a laugh. “But they’re pretty good. Even if you aren’t really drunk they stop serving you alcohol, and I remember scrambling around looking for any little bit of leftover drink to have because I was dying for a drink, especially with all the drama going on.”
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