10 Interesting Facts About Mail Order Brides

There are many different ways to try and find your future spouse – from arranged marriages to online dating or simply going to your local bar on a Friday evening. One of the more peculiar, controversial, but also high-promising ways, however, is to look for (or apply as) a mail order bride.

1. The term “mail order bride” is centuries old

If one of your first thoughts is that the term “mail order bride” sounds a bit derogatory or outdated, that’s because the practice is actually centuries old – way before not just the Internet but much before even the inception of the Women’s Rights Movement.

The first instances of men looking for mail order brides can be traced back to the 18th century when countless thousands of men were braving the US Frontier and didn’t have many opportunities to meet girls and “find dates.”

So, what many started doing instead was to post ads in newspapers and magazines that they were looking for a wife from the East Coast or from Europe to come to them in the West. Many even wrote to churches to help them. 

At the same time, as many women in Europe were looking to make their way into the New World, they also started posting or responding to ads. And, since there was no website for this sort of thing back then, the communication between men and women was done by mail, hence the term “mail order bride.

Other terms that were also popular included “picture bride,” “epistolary courtship,” “correspondence courtship,” and others.

2. Scams, lies, or mismatched expectations are always a risk for both sides

Any type of online interaction brings with it a risk of scams, just as any form of online dating or a rushed marriage comes with a risk of mismatched expectations. The same applies to mail order marriages.

Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate those risks, the main two being 1) to always use reputable mail order brides websites, and 2) to take your time getting to know your future spouse both online and with in-person meetings.

3. Being a mail order bride is a risky endeavor

While men looking to find their spouse online risk scams or to stumble upon gold diggers, for women the risks are far greater. Domestic abuse and social isolation are both things a mail order bride needs to consider before just moving to the other end of the world to live with a stranger. 

Even the risk of losing her life is not nonexistent as there have been cases of husbands murdering their mail order brides. So, don’t be frustrated if the girl you’re chatting with online wants to take things slow.

4. There are two main different types of “mail order bride services”

If you want to find your wife in such a way, there are two main types of services you’d want to consider – a marriage agency or a mail order wife dating website.

The former method is typically faster and easier, but it’s also expensive as the agency and the broker you’d be working with will take their cut. With this method, you also won’t get many opportunities to meet your future wife too many times before you married.

The latter method is much simpler and more affordable as it’s quite literally the same as any other dating website – only here, the women are explicitly looking for foreign men. The drawback here is that the process can take longer as you’d have to woo your future wife for quite some time.

5. There are over 100,000 mail order brides looking for husbands at any given time

An exact number is impossible to produce and keep track of, but by most estimations, the number of women registered on mail order bride sites or working with mail order bride agencies all around the world at any given time is between 100,000 and 150,000. Of those, about 4,000 to 6,000 marry American men every year.

6. Russia and the Philippines are the two countries synonymous with the practice

The two countries most people think about when mail order brides mentioned are Russia and the Philippines. These are indeed two of the most common countries of origin, but there are dozens of others too – almost all countries from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia have mail order brides moving to the West every year.

7. Mail order brides are technically outlawed in the Philippines… yet that hasn’t stopped the practice

The practice of Western men trying to find a Filipino bride has become so common that the Philippines have a special law against it – the Anti Mail-Order Bride Law of 1990.

While this Law succeeds in somewhat restricting the access of marriage agencies to Filipino girls, however, there is still nothing stopping Filipinas from subscribing to international dating websites and trying to meet foreign men there. So, if you’re looking to find your wife in the Philippines, you can certainly still do that.

8. The motivations to become a mail order bride can vary greatly

It’s easy to assume that a mail order bride just wants to find a rich husband in a rich country. And that’s often the case, but there are many other reasons for a woman to look for a foreign husband.

Many Asian, Middle Eastern, Latina or Eastern European girls simply look for husbands who will treat them right as they don’t like the gender dynamics in their home countries. Many other women are just looking for a new home in a country with good education and job opportunities both for themselves and their children. And then, there are also many girls who genuinely like American and Western culture and want to live there.

What’s most important, however, is that none of these reasons necessarily means that the mail order bride isn’t also looking for a stable and loving relationship.

9. Mail order marriages have lower divorce rates than “standard” marriages 

The statistics here can differ from country to country, but on average, mail order marriages end up in divorce much less often (about 20% of the time) than standard marriages (about 40-50% of the time).

10. Marriage brokers have pretty high profit rates

If you do try to find your wife through marriage agencies rather than just try to meet her on a mail order dating website, you can expect a big chunk of the expenses to go to a broker’s pocket. 

With both methods you’d be paying for the woman’s travel and Visa expenses, but the marriage agency will also pocket a very significant fee, which is why this method is much more expensive.