The Arranged Marriage, 1862 by Wassili Wladimirowitsch Pukirew

Using Technology to Find Love: Pen pals, Personal Ads, Mail-Order Brides, Matchmaking Services, and Online Dating Websites.

Humans have always found ways to use technology to find love, from the printing press to dating websites. When it comes to online dating, it’s good to recognize what you’re getting into and, even better, determine where you stand. So, let’s get a few things straight! Let’s talk about the differences among penpals, personal ads, mail-order bride sites, matchmaking services, and online dating websites.


Online dating isn’t something that started 5, 10, or even 20 years ago, even though Blossoms Dating has been around since 1974. Before the Internet, there were personal ads, and before that, there were arborglyphs or ‘tree graffiti.’ Past civilizations have likely practiced the art of carving shapes and symbols into living trees to communicate their longing for a romantic connection. 

Today, tree carving is still a favorite lovers’ pastime.

Blossoms Dating Team

Personal Ads

The modern newspaper was invented in 1690, and the first use of this technology to find love, personal ads followed soon after. Lonely heart ads started in 1695 in Britain when a shrewd British agriculture journal editor concluded that love could be sold just as quickly as other merchandise. One of the earliest personals ever placed was by a 30-year-old man, announcing he was searching for “some good young gentlewoman who has a fortune of £3,000 or thereabouts.” The first personal ads began as a way to help British bachelors find eligible wives.

Englishwoman Helen Morrison became the first woman to place an ad in a Lonely Hearts column in 1727. She persuaded the Manchester Weekly Journal editor to place a small ad stating she was “seeking someone nice to spend her life with.” A man responded to Helen, but it was not the man she was hoping for. It was the mayor who had committed her to an insane asylum for four weeks. 

Aristocrats in the 1800s used personal ads to advertise their interest in romantic engagements. Personals took off as magazines and periodicals such as The Wedding Bell in the US and The Correspondent, Matrimonial Herald, and Marriage Gazette in the UK hit the newsstands with immense popularity. They created the first wave of mainstream normalization for personal ads.

Americans were captivated with the Gold Rush and went to the American frontier to reap its benefits. They lacked nothing but women for marriage. So they started mailing churches in the East, requesting brides, and publishing personals in the media. Interested single women were sending them letters and photos. The first newspaper for singles, The Matrimonial News, begins publication in post-Gold Rush San Francisco. Men pay $0.25 to place an ad. Women post for free. By 1900, there were no fewer than 20 similar publications. 

Mail-order Brides

Mail Order Bride 1964 Original Movie Poster

The term ‘mail-order bride’ dates back to the 1800s. ‘Mail-order bride’ has been a general term for about three hundred years. The concept of a mail-order bride, also known as a picture bride, is tied into historical accounts. Foreign women, or men, were often listed by a marriage service by picture, and maybe a brief family description, to be picked, almost like in a police line-up, for marriage to a person not of their choosing.

The story of the old West’s famous mail order brides began when European and American men found financial success during the Gold Rush, but the one thing that was missing was a wife. There was a shortage of eligible women. Again by using technology to find love, they attempted to interest women living back East by publishing personal advertisements in magazines and newspapers and writing letters to churches. In return, the women would correspond to the men and send them photographs of themselves. 

The American West’s mail-order brides were the ‘supply’ that met two ‘demands.’ For the men who far outnumbered women, a mail-order bride could be the solution. And for young women of the eastern states, being a mail-order bride could offer social and economic opportunities. 

Grooms ordered brides by mail, and most of the time, they could see their future husbands only right before getting married.

Nowadays, the term ‘mail-order bride’ is used more as a joke or a teasing phrase by biracial couples. For example, an American man might say that he still has the box his wife came in as a way to poke fun at his Asian wife playfully. We know it’s not very funny, but some men crack a lot of bad jokes! 

We’re confident you’ve heard of mail-order brides. Maybe you’ve likewise been described as one. Or have you been accused of wanting one delivered to your door? Well, just a gentle reminder, | is an online dating website, not a mail-order bride service.

Some laws protect against mail-order bride systems as there were issues with probity on both sides of the arrangement. It’s an entirely antiquated concept. However, we consider the term ‘mail-order bride’ disparaging and that it demeans Filipino and Asian women by comparing them to products for sale and by falsely implying that they exert no personal determination about marriage and the men they meet.

Blossoms Dating Team 

Pen Pals

Pen pals (or penpals, penpals, penfriends, or penfriends) are platonic friends who enjoy communicating with each other about various aspects of their lives. Topics are not overly private, and everything is kept very respectable and appropriate. Talks are strictly PG-13 between pen pals. Pen pals regularly write to each other and are strangers who exchange letters (via postal mail). Many times, online dating relationships start as pen pals and then progress into more intimate romantic relationships. 

Cherry Blossoms began as a picture catalog magazine-style pen pal introduction service of Ridge Consultants in 1974.

Blossoms Dating Team 

Matchmaking Services

Matchmaking of the Major by Pavel Fedotov, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Matchmaking is a personalized service with professionals who work closely with you give you your most compatible options in partners. Using this technology to find love comes with a price. For a fee, they aim to maximize the identification of the best match for you. 

Matchmaking services can fall anywhere between $5,000 to $50,000 a year.

Blossoms Dating Team

Online dating can help you find THE ONE!

Blossoms Dating’s Be Our Next Success Story! (Soundtrack:

Online dating, or Internet dating, is a digital form of a long-distance relationship. It’s a dating system that enables people to meet others looking for love through the Internet. Thanks to globalization, it’s easier for an international dating couple to meet before marrying. Like |, online dating sites allow you to explore and search over thousands at a single time, purely by your preferences!

Everything’s by your choice. 

On an online dating site, you can search for single women and filter through results for those who would love to share your passion for, say, karaoke? You can chat, date, flirt, meet, and video chat to get to know one another. You have total control over who you talk with, who can see your profile, and how much you want to share about yourself online. It’s truly an excellent opportunity and an invaluable resource in your search for love!

Dating sites like | is the latest manifestation of human beings doing what we’ve always done — devise new tools to communicate and use those tools to find romance, love, and marriage.

Blossoms Dating Team.