In the words of the inimitable Jane Austen: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Of course, these days it might a second or third spouse that said wealthy person is currently in search of. Whether it’s a first marriage or a third, though, how do rich people find someone to marry? In a two-part series, our correspondent Julie Chang Murphy breaks down the options members of the elite use to find a suitable fiancé. When money is no object, these are the best elite matchmaking services – it’s love, luxury style.
marriage signifies and solidifies elite status
For richer, for poorer. Those four words, sandwiched in traditional wedding vows, seem inconsequential IRL. These days, no one who gets married expects to become poorer. In fact the institution of marriage has become a status symbol in and of itself. Marriage may be on the decline, but the people who are choosing to get married tend to be highly educated and financially secure.
And marriage is a wealth-multiplier. When you combine two privileged individuals who are coming into their first marriage with established careers, high incomes and real estate holdings, their joined assets will most likely make them even more affluent.
But of course, the downside is that a bad marriage means downward economic mobility for everyone involved (except the divorce attorneys). Spectacular blow-ups are not uncommon. And they’re cautionary tales for those who are single and either already wealthy, or who are working hard to be.
So how do rich people find the right person to marry? Dear reader, it’s harder than you might think.
is this about love or money?
Don’t ever try to bring up the subject of money and marriage to Americans. According to our friends at Pew Research Center, 9 out of 10 Americans cited L-O-V-E as the #1 reason to get married. We’re romantics at heart. Thanks, Hollywood.
But we know you’re more savvy than that. Relationships are hard work. You are trying to find that one person who will be a 1. Lifelong Friend, 2. Intellectual Equal, 3. Responsible Parent and 4. Considerate Roommate, who also makes your heart skip a beat every now and then.
Hardcore romantics believe that love knows no bounds and these traits can be found in anyone.
And if we’re talking across racial divides, then most people seem to agree with that sentiment. 1 out of 6 Americans is married to someone of a different ethnicity. And over half of Generation Z and Millenials believe that interracial marriage is a positive thing for society.
even today, elites tend to marry each other
But when it comes to socio-economic class? Don’t shoot the messenger but marrying across class lines might not lead to happily ever after. No matter how egalitarian we imagine ourselves to be, and no matter how many people love the plot of Pretty Woman, in real life we all employ what Bourdieu first coined as the idea of “cultural capital” to make important life decisions. Like who to marry.
It’s the idea that someone of a high social status embodies a specific way of thinking through the accumulated knowledge and behavior of their class. It can be consciously acquired (learning Art History) or passively inherited through time (knowing how to dress for an interview.) But those with cultural capital usually use it to elevate their status and possess more power in society. It’s survival of the fittest of the fit.
It’s not a surprise then that the upper class has often valued exclusivity when trying to find a life partner. Finding someone with similar levels of cultural capital is a tricky thing. And they’re willing to pay for it. Elite matchmakers. Exclusive memberships to tony social clubs. Luxury suites at the U.S Open. It’s an investment in their continued well-being.
Thus, the continued presence of elite matchmaking services. They’re how many rich people find the “right” person to marry.
The Best Elite Matchmaking Services
What are the options today for a rich person to find a suitable fiancé? If you’re in the elite and looking for a life partner, how can you successfully accomplish that? What are best elite matchmaking services? And how do they work?
In Part 1 of this series, we profile the matchmakers and exclusive dating apps that cater to those who enjoy the rarefied air of power and privilege. They’re the secret to how at least some rich people find an appropriate person to marry. In Part 2, we will explore a more DIY solution more suited to those who have an inclination to network on their own.
Personal Matchmakers to the Elite
Matchmakers might seem old-fashioned in our day and age of swiping left but the wealthy have always relied on their services. Their clients are the business world elite: tech executives, media moguls, and the philanthropists of the world. Most luminaries are accustomed to bespoke luxury services to tailor to their extraordinary lifestyles and obligations. Outsourcing their love lives to a professional who has a vast network of thousands of high caliber individuals is just another of the many luxury services that they can afford.
how much does it cost?
The best elite matchmaking services don’t come cheap. Janis Spindel, an upscale matchmaker who has brokered 3,100 marriages offers a basic private service starting at $50,000. We know what you’re thinking. If someone has to spend that much money to find a date, there must be something wrong with them. Not so!
Lack of time is the biggest motivator, not some weird and embarrassing affliction. Her clients are career driven, and with all the demands on them, love ends up being put on the back burner.
Similarly, Susie Ambrose, of the British-based exclusive matchmaking consultancy, Seventy Thirty, named her company after the statistic that successful people spend 70% of their time working and 30% on everything else. Her clients may be rich as a result of their hard working ethic. But they are time-poor.
how long does it take?
Speaking of time, how long does it take a matchmaker to find The One? Many matchmakers claim to have a success rate hovering around the 80% rate but it doesn’t mean the relationship results in marriage. It means that their client and introduction will have a relationship that lasts at least a year.
For Emily Holmes Hahn, founder of the buzzy bespoke matchmaking club, Last First, clients will be taken on for 18 months at a time. Although she claims that she can often find a match within 6 weeks. She is very exclusive and thorough, working with only 30 clients at a time.
Linx Dating CEO Amy Andersen’s basic membership includes introductions for a 2-year period. She’s based in Silicon Valley and has many tech workers among her clientele. Of course, she offers a service where they can meet more candidates in less time and receive extras like wardrobe shopping and social etiquette lessons for a higher fee.
is this a guys-only thing?
It’s time to address the elephant in the room. As a feminist, I’ve been dancing around it with non-committal pronouns. But if you’re imagining that the clientele are mostly rich men, then you are correct in that assumption.
Spindel, for example, doesn’t even take on female clients because they are too hard to match. Womp. Womp. She does, however, take them on as members, to be eligible for introductions, if they pass her vetting process of Beauty, Brains Body and Balance. Last First also works exclusively with male clients. Women can join for free as “guest members” after submitting photos and answering a 70-question questionnaire.
Linx Dating, however, does work with female clients. And a representative from Kelleher International, a long-standing upscale matchmaking service, was quoted in a New York Times article in 2013 saying “A lot of older women we don’t take — and they’re fabulous, but it’s too hard to match them.” Times must have changed (a little) because their website now features a service for women as well.
Note to all you budding entrepreneurs out there: here’s an open space just begging for a new luxury service line. You’re welcome.
Exclusive Dating Apps for the Elite
Online dating is known to be a great equalizer. But being a great equalizer also takes a lot of time. Match, Tinder, OK Cupid and Bumble all have users in the tens of millions. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
beyond match, tinder, and OK Cupid
It didn’t take long for dating apps to evolve from serving everyone to serving the Masters and Mistresses of the Universe. Though the costs of membership are nominal compared to high-end matchmakers, these elite platforms maintain exclusivity by being choosy about who can join. They also maintain waiting lists to further the mystique.
Luxy is perhaps the most notorious one– having received much flack for their original tagline “Tinder, minus the poor people.” Members can only be added through a “Vouch” system. It filters new users by letting existing members have the power to decide by voting them in or out within 24 hours. If you pass muster and gain more than 50% of the vote, you’re in. To ensure that Luxy is only populated with people of means, members’ incomes are verified through tax returns. (That’s just one more reason to disclose your tax returns, in case anyone you know is reluctant to do so). The brand claims that over half of its active members earn more than $500,000 annually.
The League is a dating platform whose mission, according to CEO Amanda Bradford, is to create power couples. It proudly caters to people who are ambitious and career driven. All potential members are entered into a waiting list. Their applications are screened based on what industry they work in, their university education and how many LinkedIn connections they have. The process can be sped along if a current user endorses you. Currently, their acceptance rate of 10-20% is not much higher than the admission rates in the Ivy League. Does this mean that we’ll soon see a cheating scandal, as people vie for these precious slots, too?
So we’ve got the moneyed set and the straight A students…what about the elite creative class? Raya is the platform for those who have social and cultural capital. Think DJ’s, fashion designers, models, Instagram influencers and athletes. In fact, those who are only about money need not apply- members can be removed for “consistent displays of excessive wealth.” Admittance is referral-based, and an admission committee will ultimately determine if you’ve got that elusive “something extra.” Read: thriving Instagram following.
quality, not quantity, is the key
Saying yes to quality and no to quantity seems to be the overarching theme for time-poor elites in search of a mate. The best elite matchmaking services are here to help in that quest. But for those who prefer to ride alone, never fear. There’s more than one method for how rich people find the “right” person to marry. In our next installment, we’ll explore the DIY approaches to finding a partner. Hint: It will take time and money, but it could be a lot more fun!
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Crediting her training as a cultural anthropologist at Wellesley College, Julie has immersed herself in various industries in the last 15 years including fashion design, event planning, fitness and even investigating police misconduct. Julie lives in NYC where she loves trying every ramen and dumpling restaurant with her husband and three children. She finds joy in bold prints, biographies of fierce women, kickboxing and spending way too long finding the perfect polish color to express her mood.
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