When we founded Ambiance Matchmaking in 2002, only a handful of matchmakers existed. Though matchmaking is one of the world’s most ancient professions, it didn’t become well-known in the United States until the rise of online dating in the 21st century. In pop culture, reality shows such as Millionaire Matchmaker and Indian Matchmaker continued to popularize the industry. For already established companies, this shift was great news. However, this caused a large influx of less experienced matchmakers to flood the space. The Matchmaking Institute estimates that there are now more than 2,000 matchmakers in the industry. This has caused some conflict as there is no required certification process to become a professional matchmaker, and it’s now much more difficult to choose a trustworthy, respectable matchmaker with a positive track record.
However, great matchmakers exist; it’s just a matter of finding them. The most reliable way to assess a matchmaking agency’s stability is to look at their number of years in business. Remember when I said there was just a handful of matchmakers back in 2002? Well, they are still around today and are current leaders in the industry. They include Kelleher International (established in 1986 by Jill and Amber Kelleher), Selective Search (established in 2000 by Barbie Adler), Ambiance Matchmaking (established in 2002 by Leslie Wardman and Taylor Wade), and Linx Dating (established in 2003 by Amy Anderson). Keep in mind, these agencies are considered “high end” and come with a hefty price tag.
The industry is comprised of a variety of matchmaking agencies, and each represents a different kind of business model, price point, geographic parameter, value and belief system, experience and knowledge, and personality and ethos. Depending on these factors, matchmakers will vary greatly in the quality of services and costs. For example, low-end matchmakers have a high acceptance rate, low costs, and offer less personalized services. High-end matchmakers only accept a small number of clients per year to dedicate more time and resources to their clients' search, therefore it is very personalized and requires a much higher fee. It is important that you do your homework and ask the right questions to determine which firm is right for you, and that is exactly what we’ll discuss in the guide. In the next chapter, we will discuss the different price points of matchmaking agencies.