Married at First Sight is back on Jan. 1 — and the hit reality show is bigger than ever.
For the first time, eight Philadelphia-based singles will be taking the marriage plunge in the hopes of finding their happily ever after.
PEOPLE has the first look at photos of the couples saying “I Do” on Lifetime’s social experiment show (produced by Kinetic Content). As always, a panel of experts — psychologist Dr. Jessica Griffin, sociologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz and marriage counselor Pastor Calvin Roberson — will be guiding the newlyweds through the matchmaking process and their subsequent marriages.
From an awkward wedding ceremony to a fast-tracked honeymoon and moving in together, there’s sure to be tons of drama — and hopefully true love — in store for the couples.
AJ Vollmoeller, 37, and Stephanie Sersen, 35
Vollmoeller is a New York native and only child whose parents celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary this year after meeting in high school. President and CEO of Future Force Talent Connection, Vollmoeller is feeling stable professionally but eager to find a partner to share in his success. After striking out online, Vollmoeller — who’s an avid foodie and adrenaline junkie — is taking a chance with Married at First Sight after being recommended by a friend.
Sersen similarly is inspired by her parents’ 30-year marriage and wants to find a man like her father. At 35, she’s ready to settle down and start a family. Sersen loves to travel and hopes she finds her soulmate to share experiences with.
Will Guess, 37, and Jasmine McGriff, 29
Guess comes from a modern family — he was raised by his mother but also has a great father and stepfather — and has always wanted to get married. Now financially stable and emotionally ready, Guess is ready to no longer be the only single guy left in his group of friends.
McGriff is a Philadelphia native who’s hoping to find “her Barack Obama.” Though they wed later in life, McGriff’s parents are still happily together and celebrated 17 years of marriage this year. An independent woman, McGriff is ambitious but aspires to find the kind of love her parents have.
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Luke Cuccurullo, 30, and Kate Sisk, 27
Cuccurullo’s parents divorced when he was very young, and though he is close with his mother, he rarely speaks with his father. Because of his upbringing, the engineer is determined to find “the one.” He’s an avid cook and also loves going outside of his comfort zone.
After growing up in a tight-knit family with two brothers, Sisk’s parents divorced last year. Still healing, she is pessimistic about love but remains hopeful that she’ll find the right person for her.
Keith Dewar, 29, and Kristine Killingsworth, 28
Raised mainly by his grandmother, Dewar is a gentleman who wants to find a partner who is his equal and willing to compromise and support him. Dewar is a patient-care technician specializing in kidney dialysis and loves being a rock for his sick patients.
Killingsworth’s parents have been married for more than 35 years and stayed strong despite their ups and downs. A real estate agent, she hopes to find the “gold standard” like her parents. She’s comfortable in her own skin and knows what she wants to share her life with the man she’s been waiting for.
Married at First Sight: Matchmaking Special airs Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. followed immediately by the 2-hour season 8 premiere.