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Marriage Agencies - How They Work

One of the most confusing things for a guy trying to decide if he wants to get involved in International Dating is untangling the differences between the various agencies, because there are VAST differences between the services that these agencies provide. 

First, none of these agencies are true mail order bride agencies, not in the manner that critics use that term. You cannot buy a bride from any of these dating agencies.  That is slavery.  It is utterly morally repugnant and illegal.  If you are looking to buy a bride, please leave this site now and get some professional help.

We defend the term mail order brides, because the history of mail order brides is long and honorable.  And allowing critics to turn mail order bride into a derogatory term creates shame for the thousands of happy couples and their children. 

International dating agencies facilitate introductions of men and women around the world to one another exactly like the big domestic dating agencies, like Match.com and Chemistry.com.  Now, of course for men there are many advantages to seeking a romantic relationship with a foreign woman, but there are also cultural challenges to overcome. 

The dating agencies come in every size and shape you can imagine, but to keep things simple just remember that there are basically two different types of agencies: Full-Service Agencies and Introduction Agencies.

Full Service Dating Agencies

Full service agencies dating not only help you with the introduction to a woman, but they also help you overcome the cultural, legal, and logistical problems of developing a romantic relationship with a woman from overseas.  

They offer an array of services to a man interested in starting a relationship with a woman from a foreign country including; gift delivery services, translations, romance tours, and visa assistance.  But keep in mind that these agencies DO NOT all offer exactly the same services.

At International Love Scout we believe that the full service agencies are the best choice for the vast majority of men. These agencies have a very strong economic incentive to deal aggressively with scammers, offer high quality profiles, and have great customer service, because they have a lot of ways to make money on happy customers beyond simply selling addresses.

One of the best things about the full service agencies is that all of them have some individual contact with the ladies that are profiled on their web sites.

Usually, this contact is through independent local dating agencies in the countries the ladies are from and some confirm the contact information of each of its ladies before posting their profiles. Elena’s Models is particularly aggressive about their vetting process. This is an extremely strong deterrent to false profile scammers and can also be helpful for guys planning to visit.

Over the years, some companies have come in and out of this market, but today the only remaining totally full service mail order bride company is A Foreign Affair.  They are actually the oldest online dating site – yes the absolute oldest – and they offer a dizzying array of services to help you actually meet and woo the woman of your dreams. 

Furthermore, they are based in the United States, in Phoenix, Arizona, they are fully IMBRA compliant, and they have helped create over twenty thousand marriages. 

A Foreign Affairs tours and travel services are particularly strong.  They will help you make all of the arrangements to travel to the country you want to visit and arrange for your hotel, in country, travel, and translators.  The offer group tours, individual tours, and an Executive Matchmaking service to help you find exactly the woman you are interested in meeting.  They are the only tour company that we currently endorse, because their tours are universally well regarded. 

Also, they offer tours in Asia, Latin America, and Europe.  No one else offers that full range of services.

Be Happy Today and Elena's Models specializes in individual tours, where they set a guy up on a date, or multiple dates in Russian and the Ukraine.  Elena’s Models also has a well thought out online coaching service for men pursuing Eastern European women. 

The best thing about the full-service dating agencies is the customer service.  All of them brag about their coaching and helpfulness.  The have good customer service and take pride in helping couples actually meet and develop positive romantic relationships. 

Finally, even if you use a simple introduction agency you can always come back and use the travel or visa services of one of the full services agencies, particularly A Foreign Affair.    

Introduction Agencies

Today most of the agencies we review are introduction agencies.  That may sound like a criticism, but it simply means that they are basically providing the same level of service as the vast majority of the domestic dating agencies.  The only real difference between these agencies and the domestic dating services is that they highlight women from a particular part of the world.

Until recently we considered Anastasia, Amolatina, and AsianDate full-service agencies, but they have discontinued most of their tours and other services.  They might still offer some help, but for the most part they are focused on instant chat these days.

However, like many of the older companies the Anastasia family of sites do get most of their profiles through the assistance of dating agencies spread out across the regions they cover. Apparently, they will offer you some help in arranging a meeting, but they are not particularly clear about the process. 

The pure introduction sites get their profiles from women around the world who go to their web sites and sign up to use their services.  This generally makes them cheaper than the full-service sites, like Be Happy Today or Elena’s Models, but the prices vary widely. 

It is difficult to determine what any individual man will actually spend to find the right woman.  We get asked about the costs of various services, but they change regularly, so we do not try to list the prices very often.  If you are really interested in the subject about the total amount of money you might spend we have an entire article on the Cost of Mail Order Brides.  But the truth is it can either be relatively cheap or extremely expensive depending on your individual budget.

Introduction Agencies simply provide profiles and they make no claim at all about the validity of the information the women have provided. The sites we recommend all have a good reputation for removing the profiles of reported scammers, but there is NO GUARANTEE that the photos actually depict the person that posted the profile.

Most of the profiles are legit, and many guys have found love through introduction agencies, but use a little more sense about scammers on these sites - be especially wary of quick expressions of undying love and requests for money.

Today all of these companies have switched over to video chat systems and that can really help you sort through the ladies to find someone serious.  You can watch the woman and see how she reacts to your messages in real time.  This is a huge help against scammers, because it is a lot closer to real life. 

The only thing to remember is that most of these women are using a translator and sometimes that can gloss over the language issues too much.  There have been guys who found it easy to chat with a girl online, but much more difficult to talk to her in real life, because of the online translation engines are very good these days.  Still, video chat is a nice feature and helps you to be sure that the woman you are chatting with is the same as the woman whose profile you read.

Other than the fact they tend to be cheaper the other major advantage is that they offer TONS of profiles - sometimes into the TENS of thousands.  They also often offer profiles from areas that the full service agencies do not cover like most of Africa or cover lightly like Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and other areas of Eastern Europe inside the European Union.  The introduction areas pretty well cover every country on earth, so that’s nice.  

Of course, there are also some pretty big disadvantages with introduction agencies it you are really serious about really meeting her and taking the relationship beyond the online world. You have to do a lot more work yourself - for instance, if you don't speak her language, you'll have to hire an interpreter.  And if you decide you want to fly to Russia or Colombia to meet a girl you've been communication with, you'll have to make all the arrangements yourself.

The fact is that there are pros and cons to both types of agencies and that thousands of men have found the right woman at both types of agencies. They key thing is to understand the services you are signing up for.

One of the best approaches is to sign up for several different agencies and use the one you feel is right.  If you are an experienced international traveler you might not need all of the bells and whistles of a full service mail order bride company, but if you do decide you want those services you know where to go.