“He’s great!” I exclaimed as I hugged my longtime friend. Behind us, her new boyfriend was fetching us drinks from the bar.
“I know — he’s perfect for me,” she gushed. “And thank goodness for that. I paid a ton for him.”
Whenever people say they broke their budget on something, the frugal person inside of me dies a little. My friend must have sensed this, as she whispered, “I used a matchmaker to find him!”
“Like in Fiddler on the Roof or on that Millionaire Matchmaker show?” I asked.
“Yeah — kind of!” she said eagerly. After years of being frustrated with Tinder, OkCupid, and even a brief free trial with Match.com, my friend had used a local matchmaking service.
In about four years of putting herself out there on free online dating sites and apps, she had only one relationship that lasted more than a few months. The rest had fizzled out in a line of horrible, awkward dates.
Instead, she had made the bold and costly decision to use a professional matchmaker.
How Does Matchmaking Work These Days?
Matchmaking today is much different from what we might imagine. It doesn't involve a grandma calling a friend of a friend or a Hollywood insider hooking up rich and beautiful clients with other rich and beautiful people. Sure, these practices still exist, but many of today’s matchmaking services are more professional and personalized than ever before.
There are matchmakers who specialize in religions, body types, cultural backgrounds, political beliefs, lifestyle choices, and extracurricular activities. You can find matchmakers in almost every location, including online. The experts — or matchers — have backgrounds in psychology, life coaching, and other specialized fields.
The services that matchmakers provide are just as diverse. Some matchmakers will help you navigate online dating sites by editing your profile or helping you select the best pictures to use. Others are more traditional and will work with you to find an ideal match in person.
Top-line matchmakers, like therapists, will work with you to see what has and hasn’t worked. This may include taping test dates to provide you with feedback on what you do wrong when meeting new people.
How Much Does a Matchmaker Cost?
The matchmaker’s skills and abilities are what make their services more effective than going out to a club or bar or trusting your friend to edit your Tinder profile. “Online dating or going at it the old-fashioned way is extremely time-consuming and can be frustrating, disheartening, and exhausting,” says Mary Sambrosky, an intuitive dating and relationship coach at Be Plus One.
“With matchmaking, [the matchmakers] do all the vetting by having the first date for you. [They] are trained to see if it’s got a real shot at working.”
But to get the services and expertise of a professional matchmaker, you must be prepared to pony up a sizeable chunk of cash.
Matchmaking can run anywhere from $100 to be added to a portfolio of singles to $10,000 for a year’s worth of matching, dating, and coaching.
Is It Worth the Money?
“It is worth the investment if you are serious about finding a life partner,” says Erica Arrechea, cofounder and lead matchmaker at Cinqe Matchmaking. “Once you factor in the cost and time of managing an online dating profile, the money spent on dates, and the time you waste on dates that don’t lead anywhere, the price of choosing our matchmaking service really balances out.”
In a way, she’s right. The average American single spent nearly $700 per year on dating, according to a recent survey by Lending Tree. This includes the price of the dates themselves, attire, and memberships to paid sites. Add value to the time spent searching and messaging potential suitors, and that $700 becomes $1,000 to $2,000 quickly.
Spending a few grand on a matchmaker who can guarantee a quality date or even a long-term match may sound more attractive to those truly serious about finding love.
Find the Right Matchmaker
Finding the right matchmaker is key. Margaux Cassuto, a matchmaker and relationship expert for Threematches.com, suggests that you “ask your matchmaker as many questions as she or he asks you, and make sure she or he really understands who you are and what you stand for, before committing to anything.”
“Also, understand exactly what the contract entails in terms of complete costs and timelines,” Cassuto adds.
You may be able to save on services by finding a matchmaker who is starting to build his or her portfolio and needs experience in the field. In addition, if you’re more comfortable DIY-ing or taking charge of the dating process, spending on an expert to edit an online profile could be your ticket to getting the best of both worlds.
The Bottom Line
My friend’s boyfriend proposed three months after their first date, and the two were soon married and on an overseas honeymoon. When I asked if she had any regrets about the money she spent on a matchmaking service, she reminded me that the cost of true love is always worth the investment.