Courtesy of Shannon Stocking

Picture this: You’ve finally found the person you are ready to spend the rest of your life with, and you’ve got all of your savings ready to go. There’s only one question left. Do you spend your savings on a dream wedding or on a down payment for a mortgage?

Netflix’s new reality show “Marriage or Mortgage” adds some spice to what seems like a straightforward question by employing the talents of wedding planner Sarah Miller and real estate agent Nichole Holmes. Faced with the realities of their dream weddings and dream houses, each couple featured on the show undergoes the unique challenge of choosing to invest in an unforgettable ceremony or the perfect home. The show makes it clear that they can only pick one, and for couples ready to settle down, the choice is harder than it may seem.

To the credit of the hosts, they make both options enticing. The upbeat and wholesome tone of the show is similar to Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” with dynamic interactions between the couple and the hosts driving the show’s overall feel. Both Miller and Holmes do a great job creating options that are compelling, and when it comes time for the couples to make a choice, it’s almost impossible to tell what the outcome will be.

Ultimately, the best episodes come from getting to know the couples over the course of party planning and house tours. Each couple comes with its quirks, which distinguishes every episode despite the show’s obvious formula. While the show also has its fair share of blatantly artificial one-liners, the general tone and its portrayal of relatable couples seem genuine.

Watching reality television isn’t for everyone, but for those of us who can appreciate watching human behavior even in the most contrived of circumstances, “Marriage or Mortgage” hits all the marks. It’s a feel-good watch with a well-measured amount of suspense and tension. The formula of the show seems game-like, which keeps everything interesting while still leaving plenty of space for the couples to be themselves. 

At the end of the day, this show is just watching couples talk out decisions together while planning a big milestone in their lives. I loved living vicariously through these couples — it’s a show bound to start conversations about things as wide reaching as what kind of drink to serve at a party to big choices all the way to what kind of factors should be considered before settling down.

Daily Arts Writer Sarah Rahman can be reached at