These days there is nothing novel about joining a matchmaking agency. But that wasn’t the case in 1939 (as in the video above) or in 1944 (as in the video below) when dating agencies – or marriage bureaux, as they were often called – were very much a new way of looking for love.
These videos demonstrate that dating agencies have been a great way of finding love for more than 70 years. In that time, many things have changed, but some haven’t. For example, the video above features a marriage agency in London (Mayfair, to be precise). We would never dream of calling ourselves a marriage agency, but we’re based just up the road in the Marylebone and we’re doing similar work.
One thing that has fallen by the wayside over the years is the name. The title marriage bureau or marriage agency makes it very clear what both parties are looking for, but we recommend leaving talk of marriage, children and the future off the agenda for the first few dates. While, if you’re looking for a husband or wife, it might make sense to ensure that you’re not wasting your time by putting your cards on the table very early, that sort of declaration can put the other person under pressure. So the absence of the ‘marriage’ label probably helps in that respect.
In addition to that, society has changed considerably since 1939 and many people are no longer looking for marriage. Matchmaking agency is a bit more a catch-all term that recognises that you can be well-matched and not looking for marriage.
That said, the majority of our members are looking for lasting relationships that will ultimately become marriages and so, in that respect, perhaps we could still call ourselves a London marriage agency.
Other things have changed, too. You can see in the 1939 video that the search requirements are typed onto a tiny notecard. They are very fact-based, including things like the required height, age and minimum income of prospective partners. While the requirements of members are still a major consideration, it’s the more colourful areas around the facts that help us to make successful matches. At DDM, we find that discovering what films or plays someone has seen recently, what music they like and what they would do on an ideal day are more useful in finding a good match.
The answers to these and similar questions help us to build up a picture of someone’s values and outlook on life, which are both key to successful matches. We can then make introductions on that basis.
In the 1944 video, we hear that the marriage bureau is for “people who normally meet very few members of the opposite sex”. That’s not our experience in the modern day. There are no shortage of opportunities to meet members of the opposite sex, everywhere from the workplace to the supermarket. The problem is meeting the right people, especially in a bustling metropolis.
If those featured in the video were running a marriage agency in London today, the voiceover might have said it was for “people who find that meeting the right person is difficult because of their busy lives”.
And to demonstrate that we do perform similar duties to a marriage agency, here are some of our success stories.