Married At First Sight: Sheffield couple Owen and Michelle mark first anniversary in beautiful way a year after tying the knot as strangers on TV

A Sheffield couple who married as complete strangers in front of television cameras are marking their first wedding anniversary – and they’ve celebrated the date in a touching way.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 3:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 7:24 am

Owen Jenkins and Michelle Walder are the success story of Channel 4’s British version of Married At First Sight, the reality series that involves potential romantic partners being matched following intensive tests and assessments, then legally tying the knot having never set eyes on one other before.

A key element of the process is that, following the honeymoon and a trial period of living in the same house, each couple decides whether to remain wed. Owen and Michelle said yes last March – and now their union has lasted longer than any of the programme’s previous marriages.

Before applying for the show, Owen, aged 32, already lived in Sheffield where he works as an IT manager. Teacher Michelle, 26, moved to the city from Sussex in August and found a new job at a primary school in Woodseats.

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Michelle and Owen's wedding day was filmed for Married at First Sight in March 2020. Picture: Channel 4.

In a post on the couple’s joint Instagram account to mark 12 months since the day they were wed, Michelle wrote: “Today we have been married a year. And what a crazy year it has been for the whole world, yet having someone to share the craziness with has made it oh so much easier.

“One thing I found difficult about marrying a stranger is this idea that they never choose you – that someone else chose you for them. It made me always worry whether I was good enough for Owen.

"Today, he started the day giving me breakfast in bed and then gave me a diary. It was the diary we were asked to write in the lead up to meeting, but he had continued writing it all the way through this last year.”

The diary entry from the date of the anniversary – March 14 – read: “Although the matchmakers chose us, I want you to know that I choose you. I want to spend the rest of our lives together. I love you more than words can say.”

Owen and Michelle, who met as strangers on Married At First Sight.

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Michelle added: “He then got down on one knee and gave me a gorgeous ring. I wish I could explain how much those words, and this man, means to me. He is everything I need and want and a whole lot more. Who knows what I did to deserve him.”

The couple recently took part in a Q&A session, also via their Instagram page, during which one follower asked: “When are you going to have a baby?”

Michelle replied: “I had a dream last night that we had a baby.”

Michelle and Owen's wedding day was filmed for Married at First Sight in March 2020. Picture: Channel 4.

Then, Owen said: “If it was up to Michelle, today, but luckily it’s a joint choice so maybe in a few years’ time.”

Michelle joked that this was ‘so rational’.

During the Q&A Michelle also revealed that she and Owen had booked a ‘little hot tub lodge’ for their anniversary, but this had been cancelled because of coronavirus, and she also called settling in Sheffield ‘100 per cent the best choice ever’. In January the pair officially became home owners together in the city.

Married At First Sight UK is changing for 2021. Mirroring the Australian edition, partners will make a ‘lifelong commitment’ rather than marrying legally.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.