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Mail Order Brides: Are They Worth It?

profileLeo Goh

With advancements in technology and the internet, the once unimaginable can now easily be a reality.

Or in this case, the once tedious process of going through matchmaking agencies to find love can now be replaced with a single swipe on a smartphone. More specifically, a man can ‘order’ a foreign bride as easily as I can order McDonald’s through a food delivery app.

And yes, mail-order brides ARE still a thing in Singapore. Man… What has love and marriage become?

But hey, for those single men out there who really, reeeeeally can’t find love in Singapore. A mail-order bride may be their only hope.

So how much do they cost? And are they really worth it? Let’s take a look at the OG Tinder: matchmaking agencies. Or in this case, foreign bride matchmaking agencies.

Mail-Order Bride, Anyone?

The concept of mail order brides exists way before matchmaking agencies were conceived. They were most prominent in the 20th century, and have surprisingly remained relevant even till today.

The fundamental idea behind mail-order brides is to allow women to seek better lives through marriage.

This could mean better living conditions, allowing them to realise their passions, or even to be able to provide for their family through their newfound marital status. Not surprisingly, most of the women who sign up for these programs usually come from poverty or from highly patriarchal societies which limit women’s rights.

Marriage Brokerage Services in Singapore

You’re probably be wondering. It’s 2019… Is there still a demand for foreign brides in Singapore?!

And are foreign bridal agencies still a thing?

Short answer: Yes.

As recent as 2018, Straits Times reported that Singaporean men are in fact still interested in foreign brides. And these are young, educated Singaporean professionals, mind you. Not some washed up old uncle who drinks Tiger beer at your local kopitiam.

Their reasons range from:

  • Being too busy at work to meet anyone, much less get married to one
  • Bad experience with local Singaporean girls (I believe this is a 2-way street, but hey, there might be some women out there who are really bad news…)
  • Pressure by parents to settle down and give them grandchildren as soon as possible

and many more.

How Do These Agencies Match A Bride To A Groom?

Before the prevalence of the internet and technology, men would head down to physical agencies and choose a bride either from the ladies that are already physically in the agency or through catalogues.

If the potential bride is not in Singapore, arrangements will be made for the future bride to be flown down to Singapore – all costs will be borne by the potential groom, of course.

Today, the experience is like online shopping: finding a foreign bride is merely a click away.

I did a search online and stumbled upon quite a few really user-friendly websites. Want to find a bride? Just sign up and register for an account.

You’ll usually need to input details like:

  • Marital status
  • Name
  • Age

After you shortlist the women who you are interested to meet, the agency will arrange for a meetup at your convenience.

How Much Does It Cost To Marry A Foreign Bride?

Contrary to what a lot of people commonly think, marrying a foreign bride is not cheap.

To better illustrate this, I’m going to use the packages and rates listed on b4bride, a Singaporean agency which specialises in matchmaking Vietnamese brides to Singaporean men.

Disclaimer: We are in no way or form sponsored by the aforementioned company.

The agency provides different packages which offer a range of different services and range from S$2,388 to S$5,888. The simplest package involves flying a potential bride to Singapore for a meetup to a more premium package which gives suitors the opportunity to meet two to three women.

So, Is A Mail Order Bride Worth It?

This is where it gets really interesting.

Barring the fact that I’ll sound like a mercenary, let’s look at how much it’ll cost to go on dates and eventually marry someone – without a wedding banquet because we know that it costs an arm and a leg. And compare it with b4bride’s most expensive package which guarantees that you’ll “get married in 45 days” to see which one costs more.

Our time to get married in both scenarios? 45 days, as advertised by the foreign bride matchmaking agency.

Typical Relationship

Foreign Bride Matching Agency
Week 1You act shy and finally muster the courage to ask her out

You create an account, sign up for the package, and select 2 to 3 women to meet

Week 2You go on one date and get to know each otherYou go on a 4 Day 3 Night visit to Vietnam to meet the women you selected, and get advisory and consultation on your selection
Week 3You go out on more dates and really hit it offAgency arranges registry of marriage, Justice of Peace, long term visit pass application, and make arrangements for the bride to come over to Singapore
Week 4You continue seeing each other as a coupleYou're married
Week 5 to Day 45You decide on Day 45 that she's the one and she accepts your proposal30% of fees will be refunded if there is no match within 90 days of payment
Total Cost18 dates @ $100 each
ROM @ $42
= $1,842

Of course, the typical relationship route is not a guaranteed success story. So you might need to repeat that a couple of times before you finally land ‘The One’, which probably means that there’s a chance you might spend more than $5,888.

And at $1,842 a pop, you’ve got about 3 tries to get it right.

That’s about 54 dates over a span of 135 days, so your odds there are actually pretty good if you were to go with the ‘typical relationship’ route.

Is A Mail-Order Bride The Way To Go?

It’s hard to say. But the one thing that’s for sure is this: Marriage is not as simple as making a transaction.

It is a commitment.


Source: GIPHY

Yes, you pay these agencies to help you to find a wife. But these women are people too. People with needs and wants.

The ladies who sign up with such agencies probably did so in hope of meeting a good person and of course, to improve their quality of life.

Is it ridiculous to meet and marry someone within 45 days?


But it exists anyway.


About Leo Goh
Just a simple girl trying to live her best financial life.
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