As a founder and leading matchmaker at boutique matchmaking agency in Ukraine who is into professional matchmaking business for 10 years already I have noticed a drastic difference between matchmaking service in the USA and Eastern Europe.

I have started my journey in the dating industry from the typical mail-order brides company as an English interpreter. I have translated dates of foreign gentlemen and Ukrainian mail-order brides. When nowadays people ask me how did I learn English – especially slang – I often use “official version” – in the University (which is partly the truth) or  the truth – at the dating agency or as they often call them in Ukraine “marriage agency”.

Of course while translating dates I would never expect to start a first boutique matchmaking agency in Ukraine in just several years.

So what is the biggest difference between a typical mail-order brides company and a professional matchmaking agency in Ukraine?

Clientele (both ladies and gentlemen)

While working for the mail-order brides company I have met so many American gentlemen for whom the trip to Ukraine was the first trip overseas. The majority of them were in their late 40s – 50s and they were sincerely surprised when they spotted MacDonald’s in Kiev or an expensive Mercedes. They were shocked that so many people around them did not speak English or had multiple University degrees. Ladies were different too. Many were from really small towns and villages, they didn’t speak English, have never travelled abroad or met a foreigner before, the majority despite the young age had kids from previous marriages and of course super sad eyes and depressing story behind those eyes.

Boutique matchmaking agency in Ukraine is lucky to attract and work with quite opposite type of clientele. Our male clients are usually really well-travelled, romantic and they love adventures. The whole idea to fly several hours to have a date is truly romantic, isn’t it? Our male clients are much younger – the average age is 32 years old and usually they are inspired to date overseas by an example of a friend or they have some Slavic background. Sometimes their search starts out of curiosity and turns into a goal – marry a girl from another country and culture. Also the geography of our male clients has expanded drastically: not just the USA, but Western Europe, Australia, Israel, China, Japan. Ladies that join our base are definitely not mail-order brides’ type. Some of them went through an unpleasant divorce or messy breakup, but they have recovered and now seriously search for their best half. The majority has careers or favorite jobs though like traditional Ukrainian women they put family first. 85% of our female clients are from the big cities or have moved to the big cities years ago to study in the university or get a better job. Many have good travel experience and speak foreign languages. They can easily date in Ukraine, but they want to have that special something – romantic adventure of their life and that’s the reason they join matchmaking agency in Ukraine.

Age gap

While working for the mail-order brides company the majority of «couples to be» for whom I have translated dates had a visible age gap of more than 10 years (usually 15-25 years). At matchmaking agency in Ukraine the majority of couples we have matched have an age difference of 5-10 years, more seldom 12-15.  I can think of just a few exceptional couples over ten years of my matchmaking experience who had an age gap of 20 years.

Expectations and goals

While working for the mail-order brides company I have noticed that the majority of clients were not actually interested in marriage. Some gentlemen had 10-15 dates within several days and it reminded more of a spead-dating than actual dates. Sometimes they didn’t even bother to change the restaurant and the table and just waited there for the next date to arrive. With the ladies the level of true interest was the same. The majority were more interested in the salad they were eating than in the gentlemen in front of them. Of course there were exceptions and I have been invited to several weddings of the couples whose first dates I have translated.

At matchmaking agency in Ukraine the situation is quite opposite. The average first date lasts about 3-4 hours. Some couples to be spend the whole evening together: after the dinner they move to a cozy lounge bar to continue getting to know each other while drinking wine. Gentlemen travel over to meet a limited number of dates and ladies spend days getting ready for the date (buying a perfect dress, shoes, etc.)

So what are the 5 principles of successful matchmaking agency in Ukraine

  1. Attracting the right clientele and being truly picky about your base.
  2. Avoiding desperate people including the majority of ladies and gentlemen from mail-order brides’ websites.
  3. Managing expectations of potential male and female clients and saying no to people with unrealistic expectations (at the end of the day they will ALWAYS be disappointed despite the level of service you provide)
  4. Following your principles of work and professional ethics
  5. Providing pure matchmaking service and not trying to mix it with mail-order brides

Svetlana Mukha, with love