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Today’s Professional Matchmakers

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By KATHLEEN MULROY

A famous song in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, sung by a woman who wants to get married, includes the line “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match; Find me a find, catch me a catch!” Professional village matchmakers like the one in Fiddler have been around for as long as formal marriage customs have existed. But these days, some singles are finding matches in a more modern way—online, through matchmaking websites featuring lush photos of hearts, flowers, and happy couples strolling through green fields. 

You might be wondering whether a professional matchmaking service is different from an online dating app. In fact, the two types of companies are different in a few significant ways.

Matchmaking Services

Matchmaking companies, unlike dating websites, say they work with just a small group of people at any given time, so the matchmaker can take time to get to know each person. 

A Montana service’s website, for example, says its matchmaker will spend about an hour talking with you to learn about your personality and interests, and getting some insight on your relationship goals. Only then will they start searching for a good match. 

One service claims that, after the initial interview with a client, its process includes a consultation, a personal search by the matchmaker, match selection, dating, and feedback and review sessions.

Costs

Another difference is dating sites are generally up front about how much their service costs per month, while most matchmakers are not so transparent. In fact, prices can seldom be found on matchmaking websites. You’ll have to speak directly to a representative to find out about costs. 

People who have worked with matchmakers warn you shouldn’t sign up for the service immediately, even if the rep claims a “special discount only offered right now.” Instead, insist on reading the contract thoroughly before signing it. If the fee is particularly high, you might want to have a lawyer check over the contract as well.  

Matchmaking services are a lot more expensive than online dating apps. Prices for matchmakers can range from $500 to $50,000, or even more, per match. Some companies, though, charge not per match but for a guaranteed number of dates or for a fixed amount of time (such as six months or a year). 

Other Considerations

You should have a solid idea of what you want in a person and relationship before beginning your search for a company. This knowledge will help the matchmaker quickly narrow down the field of potential dates, saving you time and, possibly, money. Another benefit of this kind of self-searching is it’s always useful to learn more about your own needs and wants, whether you decide to remain single, want to date multiple people, or opt for trying to find a long-term partner.

Do you want to only look at the websites of providers located in and serving your geographical region? Or are you willing to expand your search to try for a long-distance relationship? Either way, you may want to look for a matchmaker specializing in the demographic and profile of the type of person you’re most interested in dating. 

Check Before You Use

It’s not easy to find certified-genuine ratings or client testimonials about matchmaking services, so it’s a good idea to check the Better Business Bureau for any customer complaint before signing a contract. 

Some companies find matches only for women, others only for men. A few companies say they match people who identify as LGBTQ+. Others specialize in matching people of particular religious faiths. Most services cover all adult age ranges, but a few focus on people who are 50-plus.

Dating Coaches

If you do choose a matchmaking service, you might want to try using the company’s on-staff dating coach before your first date. A coach will offer ideas on what you might wear, what type of venue to choose for the first outing, and tips for “first impression management.” After the date, most matchmaking companies will ask for your feedback, so they can “tweak your love strategy,” as one site gushed.

“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!” MSN

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