Marriage has been around for a long time, in fact, so long, that the first recorded evidence of a marriage ceremony dates to about 2350 B.C. in Mesopotamia, West Asia. Back then it may have been less about love and more about ensuring that a woman only gave birth to her husband’s children. At early ceremonies in ancient Greece, a father would hand over his daughter with these words:

I pledge my daughter for the purpose of producing legitimate offspring. Marriage today, however, comes in many variations. Civil marriage, arranged marriage, common-law marriage, and same-sex marriage, are just a few of the many that are now legally binding. And what about the introduction of technology into the meeting, dating and marriage process? We all know about dating sites and apps, but how about skipping the flirting and the dating altogether,  and just taking the fast track to the altar? Does that actually exist? That’s what we’ll find out, in this episode of the Infographics Show, Can You Really Order A Bride Online?

You can order all sorts of things online these days. From everyday items such as groceries, books and movies, to the more obscure such as giant gummy snakes, bearded beer can cozies, and even a selfie toaster. But can you order a bride? The term mail-order bride dates back to the 19th century and refers to a woman who lists herself in catalogs so a prospective husband can select her for marriage. The motivation has typically been for women in developing countries seeking men in more developed nations, and in the twenty-first century, the process for making these connections has primarily happened on the Internet. We decided to browse the Internet and take a look for ourselves.

We came across the website YourBride dot com, that ranks the top mail order bride websites, based on the opinions of real customers from those sites. Here’s what we learned: Of the top 10, the majority of websites listed ladies from countries including, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Latvia, Belarus, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and China. These websites had between 1,000 and 7,000 ladies online, with as many as 55,000 registered on a single site. Some sites offered free registration whereas others required fees to be paid. This is all very interesting, we hear you say, but how do you actually order a bride? Let’s take a look at the process. In this example, we will assume a man living in America who wants to order a bride online.

Step 1: The first step is to select the website, create an account, and start browsing the classified sections and looking for a good match. Once a potential bride has been found, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Next you will need to follow the website’s specific process to contact the lady. Much like a dating website, you can exchange emails and contact numbers, and start sharing each other’s stories. If you both agree you’re a good fit, you pay the website’s service fees and move on with the marriage process.

Step 3: At this stage in the mail order process, you need to decide where, when and how you plan to get married and follow the correct procedures for the marriage to be legal, and for your new bride to be eligible for citizenship.

Step 4: Next is citizenship, which assuming the bride is joining her groom in America, starts with a K-1 Fiance visa. The visa is good for 90 days, so there’s enough time to get married. A couple can then be sponsored for a green card for the mail order bride, and after two years, for the bride to remain in the country, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will assess all the evidence of the marriage and it’s legitimacy, to approve or decline the bride’s citizenship. Simple hey? Let’s look at some real life cases and see if hearts connect in the world of ordering a bride online.

In 2015, the Reddit community came together to ask users who had ordered brides online, what their experiences of marriage had been. Let’s see what people had to say. Reddit User throwurboat said: “It surprised me how fake it all seems. There was no emotion in anything she would do. I could always tell she was uncomfortable. It seemed like she was just doing a job.” Another user, Sblent, wrote: “She seemed under the impression that a man was to be kept like a king and she was there for food and sex.” And Reddit User BecameADearFriend explains how his new wife “had a ridiculous amount of humidifiers in the home so that it could be more like where she came from,” and that all she did was “sit in a chair staring at the wall looking very depressed.” Unfortunately not a happy set of stories from these Reddit bride orderers.

One unlikely destination for mail order brides that we came across is The Faroe Islands, in Denmark. The Faroes’ terrain is rugged, and the climate is windy, wet, cloudy, and cool. Yet, men are now being joined by their new wives, who are leaving the tropics for this bleak and blustery archipelago. In 2017, the BBC reported that there are now more than 300 women from Thailand and the Philippines living in the Faroes. 300 hundred does not sound like a lot, but when the total population is just 50,000 people, theses ladies make up the largest ethnic minority across the 18 islands.

According to Prime Minister Axel Johannesen, the Faroes have a gender deficit with approximately 2,000 fewer women than men. So the local Faroese men have had to look beyond the islands for romance. Many of the Asian women met their husbands online, some through commercial dating websites, though others on social media. The influx of devoted wives has been a welcome introduction for the lonely, working men of The Faroe, but how was the experience for the ladies?

One Thai bride, Athaya Slaetalid, told the BBC that she sat next to a heater nonstop, feeling lonely and depressed when she arrived in the islands six years ago. She met her husband when he was helping to start a business in Thailand, though most Southeast Asian brides in the Faroes met their partners on dating sites such as Thai Cupid…We’re happy to report that Athaya now works in the restaurant business, has a son, and has settled into island life.

Another place that hit the headlines a few years ago was The Ukraine. Hundreds of dating agencies operate in the city of Odessa, luring foreigners to spend their dollars and head home with a beautiful local lady as their new wife. One company is Anastasia International, which, according to British newspaper, The Guardian, had revenues of $140m in 2013. Much of the earnings comes from the high prices paid by the men for phone calls and emails to their female prospects. Men save for months to join tours organized by Anastasia in the hopes of returning with a wife. One example is Todd, a 43-year-old bread-delivery man from Delaware. He worked several months of overtime so he could afford the tour to Ukraine, which cost roughly $5,000 for the one week in Odessa. Before the trip, Todd spent months methodically whittling down 1,500 possible brides on Anastasia’s site to two top candidates. He then spent thousands of dollars chatting with them before arriving to meet them and make his choice. But when he arrived, neither answered his calls and he returned home alone.

So ordering a bride online certainly seems to be possible, and is quite a bustling industry, but with many potential risks. Charges for calls and emails, costly arranged tours with no guarantees, and relocation costs if you’re lucky enough to find and order your perfect bride. I suppose the real question here is, can you really order the true love that’s needed to make the marriage work for the long term? We’re not sure there’s a simple answer, but no doubt people will keep trying their luck.

So, would you ever consider ordering a bride online? Let us know why or why not in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called Why Do We Have Pubic Hair! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

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