Materials provided by: foreign-brides.net
There was a time when buying a bride was a common practice. There was a time when a man could marry a woman he had never met in real life. Do mail order marriages work the same way nowadays? You’ll find all the answers here.
Where to get a woman for dating?
Before we move on to the history of mail order marriages, their evolution, and some legal aspects, let’s take a look at the best modern dating websites that can connect any adult man with mail order brides. None of them offers a wife for sale, but each platform on the list can help you find a perfect match—a woman who’s really motivated to date and marry a foreign man.
- TheLuckyDate—the site that connects you with real women in the Ukraine, Poland, Russia, and other Slavic countries
- AmourFactory—a website with beautiful Slavic ladies with very detailed validated profiles and easy registration.
- BravoDate—a modern European dating site with lots of free basic and special premium features.
- UkraineBride4you—one of the best site to find Slavic beauties and have a great dating experience using more dozens of communication tools and special features.
- LoveFort—the platform with thousands of Latin beauties and the widest variety of communication tools.
Is it possible to buy a wife online?
No, it’s not. If so, why do people still believe that most mail order brides can actually be ordered for a certain price? The reason is pretty simple—though modern men don’t pay for their mail order marriages, they pay for the dating services and spend money on extra services, for example, tickets, gift delivery, etc.
In other words, bride prices exist, but this fact doesn’t prove that mail order brides can be sold and bought. To understand how the system worked and how it works now, we need to dive into the history of mail order marriages. But firstly, let’s talk about the brides pricing.
Mail order brides pricing: do you need to pay for a modern bride?
In the 80s, men looking for mail order brides paid monthly fees for “subscription”. The fee was $50-500. At that time, men could also use the so-called additional services—for example, for an extra fee ($1000), an agency screened all the applications from brides to choose a woman that met his specific criteria.
Today, buying a bride is not possible, but men still pay for International dating services like BravoDate. There are no extra fees for screening applications—the algorithms and search filters allow finding the best matches easily. So, what’s the bride price? That depends on many things, from the policy of the site you choose to your dating strategy.
Types of sites and payment types
The bride price will depend on the type of site. Currently, there are 3 main types of dating platforms:
- Sites where you pay for credits. On websites like BravoDate or AmourFactory, you purchase credits (any amount that you want to buy) and spend them only on the services you’d like to use right now (text chat, video chat, calls, access to private pictures, etc.) The cost of credits varies greatly—on one site, 1 credit may cost $0,20, and on another platform, it can cost you $3,99. However, the cost of services varies, too. On one platform (usually with cheaper credits), you can pay 20 credits for 30 minutes of live chat, and on another, you only pay 1-2 credits.
- Sites that offer premium membership plans. On such websites you pay a monthly fee. There are 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year subscription plans. In most cases, a few types of plans are offered. A 1-month Premium may cost you $20, 1-month Gold—$30, and 1-month Diamond—$50. Note that these are the average prices—they can be much higher or lower on a particular website.
- Sites that have both. Usually, such platforms (TheLuckyDate, UkraineBride4you) charge a small fee for monthly membership (for example, 10 dollars) and offer extra services for credits.
How much are mail order wives? The actual bride price
So, what’s the average bride price? It’s pretty hard to say that there is an average mailorder brides cost considering that it’s made up of travel expenses (that can be very, very different) and the amount spent on online dating (that also depends on the type of site, prices, and dating style).
As for online dating, most spend $50-100 per month (for example, on the International dating site BravoDate you can buy 250 credits for $69,99). Let’s say you’ll spend $100 per month, and $1200 for a year, respectively. Let’s assume that you’ve met your ideal match during this year, so you don’t pay more for online dating. In this case, the rest of the bride price is travel expenses.
We can hardly analyze travel expenses for all countries, so let’s focus on the three most popular ones: Russia, Mexico, and the Philippines.
How to buy a wife? You can’t do it—as you can see, there are the prices, but these are prices for services.
Is mail order marriage worth it? It’s always up to you. Note that the prices for the trips and brides in these countries are the average regional prices—that how much you’re going to spend to find a woman for dating in Europe ($3,500-5,500), most countries of South America and the Caribbean ($3,000-5,000), and developing Asian countries ($3,000-5,000, in China, Korea, and Japan will be much higher) on average.
Is marriage with a mail order bride before meeting in person possible?
No. Mail order marriage with a foreign immigrant can be registered only if you prove to the USCIS that you and your bride have met in person within the previous two years and that you have an authentic romantic relationship.
So, you will meet your bride in person, right? Let’s take a look at the most popular regions with the largest number of women who look for foreign husbands.
Asian countries and the number of applicants for a K-1 fiance visa in 2019:
- The Philippines—7134
Latin America — the number of applicants for a K-1 fiance visa in 2019:
- Dominican Republic—1270
Europe and the number of applicants for a K-1 fiance visa in 2019:
- Great Britain—1435
Most mail order brides don’t go to the US to meet their future husbands before they propose—it’s just more expensive and will make the bride price much higher for a man. In most cases, men go to a girlfriend’s country, and that, of course, affects the bride price.
History of bride-buying: The beginning
In fact, bride price tradition, also known as dowry, as well as arranged marriages, isn’t new. They were common in a lot of societies, however, they rarely were international and cross-cultural. On top of that, the first mail order brides were women from London who came to America to marry European men—the settlers in Jamestown, Virginia. The thing is subduing a new continent was not an easy task, so initially, there were very few female settlers.
The arrival of the first brides to jamestown (Bettmann/getty)
In the 17th century (that’s exactly when the story of mail order marriages began), European women weren’t living in paradise, either. Those who weren’t born in wealthy families were experiencing a lot of difficulties, including the inability to get married without any savings. Well, the decision of the leaders of the colony to offer women surprising, mutually beneficial deal was the right decision—the scheme worked perfectly.
When the leaders of the Virginia colony sent their advertisement, they stated there that a woman would not only get a plot of land but would also be able to choose a husband. Such service was not free for men themselves, though. They paid the Virginia company with tobacco (150 pounds for a bride), and that’s why female marriage immigrants were called tobacco wives.
So yes, predecessors of mail order brides arrived on American shores. The settlement of the United States, namely the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia was the place where men and women arranged first mail order marriage, and at that time, there was no social stigma or troubling legal issues. There was a problem, and tobacco wives and their husbands found the solution.
The history of mail order brides
In the 18th century, mail order marriages became even more common. The French king Louis XV sent single women to New Orlean, and mail order brides arrived in America again. People called them casket brides as each of them could bring one trunk of goods to the colony. They knew both their marital prospects and their rights and duties, so in most cases, such marriages worked.
In the mid-18 century, European American men who migrated to the West faced the problem of inability to start a family again—at the times of the gold rush, there were about 3 men for 1 woman, and the situation was getting worse—by 1852, there were 7 men for 1 woman.
That’s why men living in the West tried to reach women in the East—they wrote letters and posted ads in newspapers. That’s how women found them, sent them their pictures, and discussed both their marital prospects and the terms of their mail order marriage. Again, they’ve never met in person before they decided to get married.
In the 19th century, the industry gradually became international. At that time, American men started realizing that they could find a bride and have mail order marriage not only with someone from the US and Europe but also from other countries, in particular, Asian ones.
That’s how the new era in the engaging history of foreign brides has begun.
The beginning of the 19th century: A trend of buying a bride in Asia and other countries
At the beginning of the 19th century, this industry evolved. Men who didn’t mind paying a bride price were no longer sending letters or posting ads in newspapers—international marriage brokers and agencies offered them a much more convenient option: they offered to look through the catalog and choose a bride they liked.
People realized that it was much easier to find brides in other countries, in particular, in the Philippines, Thailand—a lot of women there were desperate about moving to the United States or other western countries.
Japanese Picture Brides at Immigration (Bettmann/getty)
These were the dark times in the industry, though. There was a period when men were literally buying a bride, got her “delivered” to the US, married her, and could return her if their mail order marriage worked not as well as a husband expected. A woman went back to her country, and a man “received” a new one.
At that time, people were closest to actually buying a bride; however, the industry has transformed as such mail order marriages were socially discouraged, women often experienced physical abuse, and a lot of countries passed laws against such marriage migration.
How it worked in the 80s: could a man order a wife?
In the 80s, the situation changed a bit. First mail order brides were the ones who sold themselves to strangers, and then companies started to sell women for the possibility of moving to the US. In the 80s, moving there was still a bride’s main motivation, but men stopped actually buying a bride and started to interact with potential brides before a woman’s migration, and their mail order marriage took place.
At that time, agencies were working with catalogues and letters. A man could choose a woman, send the letter, and that’s how their interaction began. It didn’t take much time for them to get married—they got closer, sent pictures, and decided if they both wanted to take a relationship to the next level. Of course, in 90%, they did.
How it worked in the 90s: the era of buying a wife online?
In the 1990s, the new era of mail order marriage began. Yes, that’s right—it was due to the Internet. Letters turned into electronic mails, paper catalogues were not sold anymore, and generally, it became much easier for both men and women to start looking for an ideal match online.
There were many troubling legal issues at that time. Though the wife and wife’s family were happy to hear that an American man was ready to take his bride to the US and though the marriage process was not so complex, it didn’t mean that a mail order marriage would be a happy one. A man just paid a bride price, and he knew that his wife couldn’t get a Green Card after divorcing him if anything went wrong. That’s how domestic abuse became the biggest problem for the mail order bride industry.
The end of the 19th & beginning of the 20th century—VAWA and IMBRA acts
There were many troubling legal issues at that time. That’s why two regulation acts VAWA (1994) and IMBRA (2005) came into force.
They didn’t negatively impact the industry, change the bride price, or anything like that. They were aimed only at protecting women (who often viewed immigration to the US as a desperate last resort) from mental and physical abuse. Marriage brokers couldn’t hide the information on a groom’s criminal records or information on the legal right of a foreign immigrant from a woman.
A few decades ago, women didn’t know much about possible problems and threats, they thought only about positive marital prospects and often saw their marriages as desperate last resort. In case they experienced physical abuse they felt completely hopeless and helpless in the country that will deport them if they leave their American husband.
Now if a woman experiences domestic abuse and wants to divorce a husband, she knows how to protect herself, knows everything about her legal rights, and can stay in the country if her marriage didn’t work.
Of course, these acts changed the situation and enabled women to protect themselves, if necessary. The changes were good for foreign brides, as well as for their husbands in the sense that a mail order marriage lost its main social stigma. Negative perception turned into a generally positive public opinion or at least absence of public contamination and pressure.
The modern bride market
In the 21st century, things got even better. Buying a bride was no longer possible, and men who were going to have a mail order marriage knew that they needed to find a good woman who’d be interested in him, who’d have specific personality traits and qualities, and modern dating platforms, like Russian dating sites, made it possible . Singles kept sending emails and using live chat, but the progress didn’t stand still—pretty soon daters had the possibility to make calls and have video chat right on the dating site.
Today, this market is worth 4 billion dollars, there are about 2500 businesses in this niche, and nearly a third of Americans confirm that they’ve been using dating websites or applications to find a spouse online or in other countries.
The verdict on mail order marriage & the bride price: is it still worth it?
As you can see, this phenomenon has a pretty engaging history. But can we say that mail order marriage lost its stigma? Bride price custom was the common practice centuries ago, but now it’s socially discouraged, for a reason, of course. In African culture, for example, a payment for a bride was an instrument for the legitimation of any marriage—the bride’s family, as well as the groom’s family, viewed payment as registration of marriage (nowadays, customary marriage is much more common).
The problem is though there were the times when mail order matches were actually bought, they were gone. Now the industry is a modern market that follows the law. Buying a bride is not possible, but finding mail order matches on virtual platforms—dating websites—is not only possible but still pretty common practice for men all over the world. The bride price is made up of the cost of dating services and trips—and that’s the only price men pay for a mail order marriage.