25 Intriguing Facts About Mail-Order Brides

Posted by , Updated on October 18, 2022

Did you know that you can order your future bride via mail or even online? To some, this may sound a bit disquieting…but it’s true. And what’s even more interesting is that marriage via “mail-order brides” is not a new practice, many men from the Western side of the world have “ordered” their brides. And get this: Most live happily ever after!

Marriage often means the beginning of a family and is meant to be a lifelong commitment. It offers the opportunity to grow in selflessness as you serve your wife or husband and children. Some believe when a man and a woman get married the “two become one” which is why; some argue, we should all be very careful when the moment comes to pick a life partner. But despite its undeniable importance, in recent times the institution of marriage has been reduced to nothing more than a sentimental ceremony between consenting adults, radically redefined, or simply abandoned altogether. Somewhere within the struggles of relationship coupling, the mail-order bride service resides.

With the long-term viability of marriage in question many people are wondering if the traditional concept of marriage is really that important. Sure, people can commit to each other without getting married and truth be told, this phenomenon is more common than ever before. However, a large percentage of people seem to prefer the tradition of marriage which might explain why a number of men still seek their wives through mail-order bride services. Despite the rapid decline of this phenomenon thanks to the Internet and the hundreds of dating sites online, mail-order bride services are still around. These are 25 Intriguing Facts About Mail-Order Brides.


Mail-order brides have a very long history, going back to the early days of the nineteenth century, when it became a popular phenomenon on the American frontier. Back then the frontier was a very dangerous, but also lucrative, place. Many men found their fortune there but they soon realized that few women lived on the frontier.

American FrontierSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

In the nineteenth century many women wanted to escape their present way of living, gain financial security, and see what life on the frontier could offer them. Most of these women were single, but some were widows, divorcées, or runaways.

mail bridesSource: Wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

As the United States started expanding west in the nineteenth century, men began writing to women living back east and started courting them via mail. Photographs and correspondence were exchanged until the woman agreed to marry a man she had never met. This gained popularity, giving rise to the mail-order bride industry as we know it.

letterSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

In the twentieth century the trend was toward women living in developing countries seeking men in more developed nations.

mapSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

While mail-order services in the twentieth century were exclusively associated with women, this is not the case anymore. Many mail-order services offer both wives and husbands, and many women look to these to find a ready-made husband to marry and settle down with.

manSource: Wikipedia, Image: pexels.com

The mail-order bride industry is not always an innocent field, both for bride and for buyer. There have been cases where a bride has been abused, or even murdered by her husband. In other cases, it can be just as dangerous for the husband.

couple fightingSource: Wikipedia, Image: pexels.com

In September 2003, twenty-six-year-old Ukrainian engineer and mail-order bride Alla Barney bled to death in her car after her American husband Lester Barney, 58, slashed her throat in front of their four-year-old son Daniel.

Source: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia Source: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

However, many mail-order marriages enjoy great success. This is attributed to a high amount of correspondence and ensuring that the partners are well matched. At times, the correspondence can take years. As a result, mail-order marriages enjoy a very low divorce rate.

Happy coupleSource: Wikipedia, Image: pixabay.com

US immigration law provides protection for brides once they arrive. In 1996 Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act. Section 652 of this legislation specifically addresses the mail-order bride industry.

US CongressSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

Mail-order services—especially those found online—are not “selling” brides. On the contrary, the brides themselves voluntarily post their pictures, likes, dislikes, and which country they are interested in finding a husband from.

like buttonSource: Wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

In the early twentieth century the institution of “picture brides” developed due to immigration restrictions. The Japanese-American Passport Agreement of 1907 allowed Japan to grant passports to the wives of immigrants to America.

Japanese passportSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

In 1994 a movie called Picture Bride was made by Hawaii-born director Kayo Hatta. The film tells the story of Riyo, a Japanese woman whose photograph exchange with a plantation worker leads her to Hawaii.

WeddingSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

The majority of the women listed in the twentieth-century and twenty-first-century services are from Southeast Asia, countries of the former Soviet Union, and to a lesser extent Latin America.

Sofía VergaraSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

Recently, couples have been on a program called 90 Day Fiancé that documents the struggles they have thanks to their differing cultures. Some families do not understand why a person would go overseas to find a spouse. Some speculate a green card for permanent residence in the United States is the motivation.

coupleSource: Wikipedia, Image: YouTube

On January 6, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA) as part of H.R. 3402, the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005. The requirements of the law are controversial, and some commentators have claimed that it presumes that American men are abusers.

George W. BushSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

There have been several murders of mail-order brides in South Korea. On May 24, 2011, one South Korean man stabbed his Vietnamese wife to death while the couple’s nineteen-day-old baby lay next to her.

Source: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia Source: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

Women in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other Eastern European countries are common white mail-order bride candidates.

Russian womanSource: Wikipedia, Image: YouTube

There are two types of international marriage agencies. The first sells female clients contact information and encourages men and women to approach prior to meeting. The second offers group tours, with the interested men traveling to foreign lands to meet several women at parties and events organized by the agency.

couple dancingSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

The Philippines is famous for mail-order brides. Poverty and the lack of employment there has forced millions to find work abroad and some to seek marriage to foreigners, most with hopes of a better life and being able to support their families back home.

Filipino protestersSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

Alec Baldwin found himself the target of criticism in the Philippines when he quipped on the Late Show with David Letterman about getting a Filipina mail-order bride in order to have more kids. His comments sparked outrage, with one Filipino senator threatening to beat him up if he sets foot in the country.

Alec BaldwinSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

Many single men in rural Japan have chosen wives from picture catalogs of poor women in the Philippines, Thailand, Korea, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China, and even Brazil and Peru. The man usually travels to the woman’s home country, where he finds there is a language gap between them.

Japanese manSource: Wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Filipinos are the fourth largest ethnic group in Japan after Koreans, Chinese, and Brazilians. Of the 105,308 Filipinos in Japan in 2000, about ninety thousand were women and half were married to Japanese men.

Filipino womanSource: Wikipedia, Image: pixabay.com

There are currently about one hundred companies competing for mail-order bride customers, including Cherry Blossoms, Asian Rose, and Exotic Girls. The service fee ranges from $150 to upward of $2,500.

cherry blossomsSource: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

The mail-order bride industry is very profitable in certain developing countries but it’s literally flourishing in Eastern Europe. To get an idea, a company called Anastasia International, which is no perverse basement operation, had a projected revenue of $140 million last year.

Eastern Europe on mapSource: Wikipedia, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

“Mail-Order Brides: Understanding the Philippines in Southeast Asian Context,” a course offered at Johns Hopkins University, gives a detailed understanding of Filipino kinship and gender.

Johns Hopkins University,Source: Wikipedia, Image: Wikipedia

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