Netflix’s ‘Marriage or Mortgage’ is glossy, binge-worthy: Review


Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the joining of reality TV’s wedding obsession and the internet’s luxury real estate obsession across ten episodes of binge-worthy bliss.

On Wednesday, Netflix debuted Marriage or Mortgage — the streaming service’s latest unscripted series to focus on lifestyle content. As the title suggests, the series combines your typical wedding planning and real estate shopping reality shows (think TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress meets HGTV’s House Hunters) with a format that’s similarly familiar. It’s one couple per episode, their love story profiled against a backdrop of shiny marble countertops and delicate floral arrangements.

But, in Marriage or Mortgage, the promise of happily ever after, whether it’s the picture-perfect home or a fairy tale wedding day, comes with a Shark Tank-like twist. 

Each episode, real estate agent Nichole Holmes and event planner Sarah Miller compete against one another to make a sale. Because unlike the wealthy clientele of Netflix’s Selling Sunset or the stars of Say I Do, who are gifted their wedding fantasies, the Marriage or Mortgage couples pay their own way — and they’re on a budget. 

Netflix's 'Marriage or Mortgage' perfectly weds real estate and romance

With anywhere between $20,000 and $35,000 of their own money saved to spend on the show, Marriage or Mortgage participants must choose whether they want to invest in an over-the-top celebration of their love, as designed by Miller, or a down payment on a forever home for their future, as selected by Holmes. (Yes, it’s the sort of difficult financial choice plenty of families in the United States have to make, and not even close to the worst of its kind. But don’t think Marriage or Mortgage offers any insight on that front. It’s really not that kind of show.)

For every couple, Holmes and Miller work to maximize the budget’s possibilities while respecting its limits. Holmes presents three, well, homes — enticing the potential buyers with staged spaces designed to match their exact needs. Then, between open houses, Miller whisks them away to venue visits, cake tastings, and more. At the end, the couple must choose, marriage or mortgage, but not before Holmes and Miller each throw in some surprise discounts to try and seal the deal. 

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It’s an intriguing premise that combines the fantasy of luxury shopping with likable, LGBTQ-inclusive casting that makes for a fun binge fitting of the genre. 

You’ll enjoy watching clients as they mull over their options, discuss priorities with their partners, and ultimately make life-changing purchases. And although there’s no real “prize” on the line in their casual contest, Holmes and Miller pull out all the stops for their occasionally goofy customers — weathering everything from a flatulent bulldog touring open houses to a bride demanding her wedding reception feature a “ranch dressing fountain.” (Episode 4. You’re welcome/I’m sorry.)

Marriage or Mortgage is a fun ride that will satisfy window shoppers and reality TV fans alike. It’s got enough zaniness to stay entertaining despite the subject’s familiarity, and with 10 episodes, each an hour a piece, it’s a long enough binge to really get into.

If you already like this sort of show, you’re in for a treat. And if not, well, Marriage or Mortgage might be able to win you over with its hard sell of manufactured charm.

Marriage or Mortgage is now streaming on Netflix.



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