Created By: DragonQuestZ on August 17, 2012 Last Edited By: DragonQuestZ on August 14, 2013

Money For Status Marriage

A wealthy family and poor upper class family have a marriage of convenience.

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Should this allow Real Life examples, or be No Real Life Examples, Please!?
"This wasn't a marriage. This was a merger.
--Abbie Carmichael, Law & Order

A marriage between a Nouveau Riche family who want respect from the upper class and an Impoverished Patrician family. The tradeoff is obvious. The rich family climbs a few steps up the social ladder, and the impoverished family climbs out of the financial hole.

This can set up a number of plots. For one, it's likely to be an Arranged Marriage, and either the bride and/or groom is none too happy about this. Often we get a Runaway Bride, and all the adventures she subsequent adventures she has. Or the wedding goes through, and we see the drama that can ensue from such a pairing.

This has been Truth in Television for centuries, but it became especially notorious during The Gilded Age, when many British noble families were running out of money and then scooping up brides from families of industrialists and businessmen (such as Consuelo Vanderbilt and the Duke of Marlboro).

Compare Gold Digger, Meal Ticket, Trophy Wife.

Contrast Marry for Love, Unable to Support a Wife.


  • The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton is based on this trope, as five girls of rich families seek poor English nobles they can marry.
  • An episode of Law & Order dealt with a murder that involved two families preparing to have such a marriage, and they cover up the real murderer to keep the marriage going smoothly.
  • In Titanic, this is how Rose gets engaged to Cal. Her father got her family into debt, and their family name is their only real asset now.

Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • August 18, 2012
    Impoverished Patrician has some more examples.
  • August 18, 2012
    Theater- In Fiddler On The Roof, Tevye wants Tzeitel to marry Lazar Wulf for his money and class.
  • August 18, 2012
    I've seen this YKTTW before! But anyway, here's an example: In Stepping On Roses Nozumu's wife Miu comes from an aristocratic but poor family. Her parents want her to marry him for the access to money, and Nozomu's parents want him to marry Miu to gain connections to the aristocratic class.
  • August 18, 2012
  • August 18, 2012
    Almost painfully spelled out at the start of Corpse Bride, with the Nouveau Riche Van Dorts cooing over their impending entrance into "society" and the Impoverished Patrician Everglots bemoaning the low status of their daughter's husband-to-be while admitting the necessity of marrying some money back into the family.
  • August 18, 2012
    I'd vote for No Real Life Examples Unless We Can Prove It. Which in practice will probably mean No Real Life Examples Please. I just don't want to see a page of "it was commonly thought that Lord X and Miss Y married for this trope".
  • August 18, 2012
    • In a Gibson Girl cartoon, a rich papa was advising his beautiful daughter to hold out until she found a king in reduced circumstances.
  • August 14, 2013
    Motion to discard as we already have Nobility Marries Money.
  • August 14, 2013
    ^ I second that
  • August 14, 2013
    ^ Actually, this was made before that trope launched. So yeah, discard, but it was to a redundant ykttw, just to nitpick.