'Married at First Sight' 's Lillian Vilchez: Why She Walked Down the Aisle 'Before' Meeting Her Husband

"My search for love has not been easy, and that's why I decided to try this crazy social experiment," she writes

Photo: Gio Morales

After her last relationship left her with a broken heart, Lillian Vilchez focused on her career, but the real estate agent is now ready to find lasting love with Tom Wilson, a yacht interior specialist, on Married at First Sight (a social experiment show where couples meet for the first time on their wedding day). The newlyweds are alternating each week blogging exclusively about the ups and downs of marriage for PEOPLE. Check back after every episode and follow them on Twitter: @Lillian_MAFS and @Tom_MAFS!

So guess who got Married at First Sight – I DID!!!

Boy, my search for love has not been easy, and that’s why I decided to try this crazy social experiment where a panel of experts match six singles looking for their happily ever after. The matching on Married at First Sight is based on many different factors, including core values, psychological evaluations, personality assessments and one-on-one. The extensive process is what drew me to the show. I mean, these experts have to take this seriously – their careers are on the line!

I think many times a person might feel like they are ready to take this crazy plunge to get married at first sight – or married in general – but once it actually happens, they realize that it isn’t what they really wanted. But I came into this “experiment” knowing I was 100 percent sure that this is what my heart desired and I would do whatever it took to make my marriage work. So when Dr. Pepper gave me the news and said the actual words, “We have found you a match,” it was such a happy, unforgettable moment; it was like I floated out of my body and I immediately started imagining my fairy tale story. I would meet my husband, and we would immediately like each other and it would be the happiest day of my life.

Some people would be nervous or even scared that they got chosen, but I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe that I was lucky enough to get matched and I would be meeting my future hubby in just TWO weeks! My initial reaction was to call my mom – hearing her voice is always so calming. But I immediately realized that this time was different. She went right in and started highlighting the terrifying reality of the situation, and the nerves suddenly started kicking in.

“Lilly, what if you don’t like him or he doesn’t like you? What if our families don’t get along?” she asked me.

This last one hit me like a brick. Could I be with someone even if your families didn’t like each other? Initially I didn’t know, but after thinking about it for a long time, I realized that these were all risks I was ready to take. No matter what, I knew I was ready for this.

The days leading up to the wedding felt like forever – each day brought on new questions and scenarios. Some great, some terribly bad … and everything in between. My anxiety rose to an all-time high, but even through the nerves, the excitement grew as well. I was so overjoyed when I found out that my mom was coming to Miami from Nicaragua to go wedding dress shopping with me. I wanted us to have that special mother-daughter moment because this is my first (and hopefully only) wedding, and it turned out to be extra special because she counted for both parents since my father wouldn’t be giving me away at the ceremony.

I tried on so many dresses before I found the perfect one. There was this one very nice dress that my mom thought was so pretty … and it was. But we quickly agreed it just couldn’t be my wedding gown. Why? The answer is simple: It had pearls!

In Latin culture, any pearls on a bride on her wedding day are bad luck. You’re probably thinking that’s crazy, right? Well, in our culture, pearls mean “tears of the sea,” and wearing them on your wedding day means tears and sadness will show up in your marriage. I wasn’t taking any chances. I did not want bad luck surrounding my marriage.

After I found the dress, I did everything a bride normally does before a wedding. I had an amazing bachelorette party, and it made me feel so much better knowing I had the support of my family and friends on this journey. And then it was time. The big day had arrived, and I was surprisingly calm.

I was super excited and a bit nervous, but I was ready to meet my new husband and even more ready for our new journey together. I woke up with a good feeling and felt like the universe was on my side. And then we exchanged gifts and guess what?

He got me PEARLS!!! AHHHH!!!

My first reaction was to quickly put them on. They were so beautiful and I wanted everyone to see me wearing them. I wanted my husband to see me wearing them, so I asked my mom to put them on me. But I noticed she was super hesitant and for a moment I forgot why. “It’s bad luck!” my sister said. My heart immediately dropped. Here I was, holding these beautiful pearls that my future husband got for me and was probably expecting me to wear as I walked toward him for the first time, and I simply couldn’t. Suddenly, the thought of not walking down the aisle wearing them brought tears to my eyes.

I felt terrible and it almost started feeling like the fact that this was happening was a bad sign. On top of everything, I started to drizzle as I walked downstairs. As this point, I should be miserable, right? I’m getting married outdoors and it’s raining! But I wasn’t, because there was on bright spot in all of this … rain on a wedding day means good luck! As I walked towards the ceremony where I knew my husband-to-be was waiting for me, I just hoped the rain would be easy enough on me to allow him to see me just how I felt – like the most beautiful girl on the planet. I wanted him to be wowed when he saw me, like, “Damn, my wife is hot,” haha!

Once I got to the thin curtain that separated me from him and all the wedding guests, I was a jumble of emotions: nervous, excited, scared, ecstatic. Everything a person could feel, at that very moment I was feeling it. Just knowing that everyone I know had already seen how my groom looked and all I knew was that he wore a size 10 ring … the unknown was driving me crazy! “Is he cute? Will I like him? Did my friends and family like him?” All those thoughts were swirling around in my head. I was kind of jealous of them – they saw him first! Unfair, haha!

To find out Tom’s first thoughts when he saw me, check back for his blog after next week’s episode … I can’t wait to read it myself!


Married at First Sight airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on FYI.

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