->''"I don't know what sort of wacky-ass mailing list I'm on. Did someone sign me up for this, or is the logic something like 'This guy has a Web page. Ergo, he has to import potential mates from former USSR nations.'"?''
-->--'''[[http://web.archive.org/web/20080201130125/http://www.bookofratings.com/crap.html The Book of Ratings]]'''

The Mail Order Bride plot line is where a man marries a woman from a poor country sight unseen, or seen once. Usually played for laughs, but can also lead to MarriageBeforeRomance.

A common setting for this is in TheWestern, but can easily evolve in any situation where there is a surplus of men at one place and a surplus of poor women at another place. The UsefulNotes/WorldWarII version of this trope would be the "Army War Brides" movie/movies. In that time period, many soldiers returned to their home country with a foreign bride.

If the trope is dealt with in a drama, it will be in a series like ''Franchise/LawAndOrder''. The mail order bride plot causes a crime or scam that results in murder. In ''[[Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit SVU]]'', it will be prostitution or rape, with plot complications caused by the bride's uncertain legal status.

It's also the fodder for an entire genre of romance novels, in which a young woman from east of the Mississippi becomes a mail-order bride for a man who has gone out West to seek his fortune. Naturally given the genre, after the usual round of drama they genuinely fall in love.[[labelnote:*]]This wasn't at all uncommon in the time period depicted, but needless to say, the usual genre conventions did ''not'' always apply in real life.[[/labelnote]]

See also the SpanishPrisoner variant Russian Bride for the scam version of this trope.




* ''[[ComicBook/LuckyLuke Lucky Luke's Wife]]'' had the titular cowboy escort a large number of women across the land to their potential husbands, due to a serious gender imbalance in their respective communities. (Curiously, it was the women who got to pick from pictures of the men, while the men had no say.) The problem arises when one girl's betrothed is temporarily unavailable and Lucky Luke has to fill the husband role. It turns out [[spoiler:to be an attempt to ensnare Luke so he can become their sheriff permanently.]]
* The infamous 'Russian gamer brides' fake ads from ''ComicStrip/KnightsOfTheDinnerTable''.
* In a graphic novel entitled ''Mail Order Bride'', a young Korean woman battles with her husband's fetishization of Asian women, and his expectations of a 'mail order bride'.
* During one of his adventures, ComicBook/TexWiller had to escort a number of women across the country while they went to their potential husbands. Horribly {{Subverted}} at the end when it's revealed it was a scam to lure young women and force them into prostitution, and while this group escapes their fate due Tex gunning down the bandits the scam had been going on for quite some time.

* Played to heartwarming effect in ''Sweetland'', where a young Minnesota farmer gets a German mail-order bride around WWI. Needless to say, [[AcceptableTargets Germans were not exactly popular]] at the time, but the farmer and his wife fall in love, and he defends her against the angry townspeople.
* Played very seriously in ''Film/BirthdayGirl'', where an Englishman hires a mail-order Russian Bride. [[spoiler: Then she and some accomplices extort him into robbing the bank that he works for using a variant on the SpanishPrisoner act.]]
* In the "Army War Bride" films, the most famous is probably ''Film/IWasAMaleWarBride'', a CaryGrant comedy vehicle where he marries a Women's Army Corps member. HilarityEnsues.
* ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0339607/ Mail Order Bride]]'' (2003), comedy.
* OlderThanTelevision: ''[[http://imdb.com/title/tt0002337/ Mail Order Wife]]'' (1912)
* ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0377088/ Mail Order Wife]]'' (2004), comedy.
* The plot of ''Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest'' is kicked off when a mail-order bride (played by the incomparable Claudia Cardinale) arrives at her new home just hours after everyone there was slaughtered as part of a land grab. Definitely '''not''' played for yuks, since he wanted a mother for his children and she wanted a new life.
* ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114129/ The Picture Bride]]'' (1994), not a comedy.
* A mail-order bride is also in ''Film/WagonsEast''. Very refined lady, horrified to discover that she's stuck with seven guys who make Neanderthals look civilized.
* In the 1954 movie, ''Film/TheNakedJungle'', Charleton Heston plays a wealthy cocoa plantation owner in Venezuela who sends for a mail-order bride, who is a widow from New Orleans. It is actually a marriage-by-proxy with his brother standing in for him during the legal ceremony. After she arrives and they meet, the two strong-willed individuals both at first regret the arrangement. However, a plague of army ants allows true love to triumph.
* The astonishingly bad 1971 movie ''Blindman''. A blind, but deadly, gunman, is hired to escort fifty [[http://www.mailorderbridesonline.com/ mail order brides]] to their miner husbands. His business partners double cross him, selling the women to bandit Domingo. Blindman heads into Mexico in pursuit.
* ''Film/TheHarveyGirls'' stars Judy Garland as one of these, but when she arrives, she takes one look at the prospective groom and gets a job as a Harvey Girl instead. (The Harvey Girls, who actually existed, were waitresses at Harvey House restaurants.)
* ''Literature/FlowerDrumSong'' revolves around this trope.
* In ''Film/{{Dodgeball}}'', one character is shown to have an Asian mail order bride that hates him. Hubby is completely oblivious.
-->'''Gordon's Wife''': *makes L sign on forehead with horrific scowl*
-->'''Gordon''': [[ComicallyMissingThePoint L for Love!]]
* The Australian film ''Russian Doll'' features a Russian mail-order bride arriving in Australia only to find her groom has passed away. A CitizenshipMarriage is still arranged however, when the married man she subsequently has an affair with 'engages' her to his best friend so she can stay in the country and they can continue the affair.
* In the animated film ''WesternAnimation/GayPurree'', Mewsette, a naive cat from the country, is tricked into being a mail-order bride to a rich American cat.
* In ''Film/LarsAndTheRealGirl'', Lars claims to be dating a girl who came from a horribly abusive life in a foreign country... but it turns out she's a sex doll.
* ''Film/ScrewedInTallinn'' is a 1999 Swedish {{Mockumentary}} which indulges in the awkwardness of bride import, however [[UnbuiltTrope before it became a common phenomenon in Sweden]].

* ''Sarah Plain and Tall'', a children's book published in 1985, later made into a movie and stage play, is about a mail-order bride in the late 19th century.
* ''A Reliable Wife'' involves a rich, lonely man in rural early 20th century Wisconsin and his mail-order bride, who has...an agenda unrelated to being a good wife.
* ''Honolulu'' follows the saga of Regret, a Korean girl who travels to Hawaii as a mail-order bride in order to escape life in restrictive, Japanese-occupied Korea in the early 20th century.
* [[ProfessionalKiller Achimas Welde]] from ''[[Literature/ErastFandorin The Death of Achilles]]'' orders brides every half a year or so (with time-limited "service contracts"). He never marries them, of course, given his job, but treats them as legitimate wives for as long as they stay with him.
* ''Picture Bride'' A novel by Yoshiko Uchida about a Japanese woman who comes over to America and is later imprisoned in internment camps
* ''A Short History of Tractors in the Ukraine'' has very little to do with tractors, but is actually about an older gentleman marrying a woman who is just using him to get a visa.

[[folder:{{Live Action TV}}]]
* Played with on ''Series/{{CSI}}''. One man ordered a Russian mail-order bride and then killed her when she wasn't really in love with him and was planning to leave him for a less-controlling man. By the time the [=CSI=]s find her body years later he's already remarried to another mail-order bride from China.
* Jasper from ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'' has a Mail Order Bride from Russia. He lives in a storage container and tends to peddle *cough* ''suspect'' wares, though he told her he lived in a fancy gated community.
-->[[CrossesTheLineTwice "You get free shipping if they're over 30!"]]
* Aussie soap opera ''Series/{{Neighbours}}'' featured one character ordering a Russian mail order bride. She was deported when she tried to bribe the Immigration people.
* Played in the short-lived sitcom ''Thanks''. Differing from the usual, she was an English woman being sent to Puritan-era America. When she arrives looking like a modern-day supermodel, her husband-to-be is horrified. (People of that era having a much more healthy ideal of beauty.) She ends up with the town's mayor instead.
* ''Series/{{Wonderfalls}}'': A boy orders up a Russian bride for his widower dad. Although, at first, the boy seemed intent on marrying her himself!
* Subverted on ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle''. Francis' elderly roommate in Alaska announces he is getting a mail order bride. Francis tries to convince him not to, and on the day she is supposed to arrive, they find out it was a blow-up sex doll. It is actually quite a TearJerker when this is revealed.
* ''Series/QuantumLeap'' once had Sam leap into a man that just got back from WWII in time for his new Japanese war bride wife to introduce herself to his family.
* It is implied that Alan Partridge's girlfriend Sonja in the second series of ''[[Series/ImAlanPartridge I'm Alan Partridge]]'' came to England on such an arrangement. She's a gregarious woman who clearly cares for Alan, which is a bit unfortunate for her since he views her with little more than contempt and is clearly only in it for the ego-boost of getting to sleep with someone 17 years younger than him.
* An episode of ''Series/HaveGunWillTravel'' has Paladin escorting a mail order bride to her new husband out west.
* A friend of the Cartwrights ordered one in ''Series/{{Bonanza}}''. He broke his leg, so he asked Hoss to pick her up for him. Unfortunately, the woman becomes attracted to Hoss, much to his horror and to the friend's anger.
* Series three of ''Series/LittleBritain'' had Dudley and Ting Tong, the characters of a repulsive middle-aged man and his Thai mail-order wife. Each episode would reveal something untoward about Ting Tong (such as that she was actually a [[UnsettlingGenderReveal "ladyboy"]] and born in London) until she eventually invites her whole family to Britain, kicks Dudley out of his house and turns it into a Thai restaurant. ''Little Britain Abroad'' shows that Dudley's brother has a Russian mail order bride as well.
* ''Series/{{Wings}}'' had Roy order a Russian mail order bride. The bride showed up and it was clear that she really didn't like him. But, she had no choice but to marry him. At the last minute, Roy had a change of heart and let her go to marry a man she fell for.
* ''Series/BarneyMiller'': Inspector Luger has a Filipina mail-order bride. He coerced Barney into [[PlayingCyrano writing his letters for him]]. They remain (more-or-less happily) married through the end of the series.
* In ''Series/TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr'' Brisco & Bowler help a trio of women who had set themselves up as brides to some western characters sight-unseen. Brisco talks to them about how awful this idea is and they agree - although apparently it's better than the alternative.
* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/VeronicaMars''. A woman claiming to be a Russian emigrant looking for an ex-boyfriend she met through the Internet turns out to be [[spoiler:a member of Russian mafia searching for a witness.]]
* One episode of ''Series/LawAndOrder'' had a mail order bride desperate for a real life, whereas her husband just wanted a maid he could fuck. The bride and her lover were two of the more {{sympathetic murderer}}s in the franchise history.
** A similar episode of ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' had the detectives learning that their VictimOfTheWeek was one of these and that her husband had been abusive as well as being like the husband described above (he wasn't her killer, however).
* "Mudd's Women" in the ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode of the same name. [[HonestJohnsDealership Harry Mudd]] is taking them to be the brides of a mining colony.
* In the German improvisational comedy show {{Series/Schillerstrasse}} Cordula get's the direction to believe Maddin's new girlfriend is a mail order bride from Russia.
* An episode of ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'' had Salem suddenly gain enough money to buy whatever he wants, a Japanese mail order bride being one of them. [[BrickJoke At the end of the episode]], the bride shows up, and merely shrugs when she learns her new husband is a talking cat.
* ''Series/DrQuinnMedicineWoman'': Loren seeks out one of these, realizing that he's getting on in his age and not wanting to be alone for the rest of his life, but ultimately decides against it.

* Blues Legend Champion Jack [=DuPree's=] ''Blues For Everybody'' features a song called "Mail Order Woman" that extolls the perceived virtues of this trope in his comedic "harelip" voice.

* Parodied in ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'', when Wally mail-orders a bride from Elbonia. She turns out to be a pig (literally).
** This apparently caused protests from some men with mail-order brides, as well as some groups who accused the creator of racism. Reportedly he was surprised, as he merely meant to imply the company was faulty. Elbonia is generally portrayed as {{Cloudcuckooland}} in any case.

* In ''Theatre/TheyKnewWhatTheyWanted'', Tony never even spoke to Amy, he just saw her once at an Italian restaurant in San Francisco. He then contacted her boss, and wrote her a letter proposing marriage, which she accepted.

* One of the main characters from ''Webcomic/{{Krakow}}'' accidentally orders one from Russia. ''It turns out to be his Russian professor's sister''. Then he orders another one and it's the professor's ''mother''.
* In the Western arc of ''ArthurKingOfTimeAndSpace'', [[http://www.arthurkingoftimeandspace.com/0395.htm Isolde is a mail-order bride to Mark]], as the closest Western equivalent of marrying a princess you've never met for political reasons.

* Steve and his friends order a Russian mail order bride in ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad.'' She [[StatusQuoIsGod disappears at the end of the episode, of course.]] Lampshaded in "Escape From Pearl Baily" when Toshi says "Didn't I have a wife once?"
* ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'' features Carl and Shake going halfsies on a mail order bride...only to have her barricade herself in Carl's house when she first sees the two of them.
* ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyBravo'' had a second season episode about this, "To Helga and Back". Johnny ordered a girl from a dating service who turned out to be a very large German tomboy. He did eventually fall for her after many {{Zany Scheme}}s to repulse her, but lost her when he started acting like his usual, narcissistic self.
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheOblongs'', one of the main characters' co-workers buys a mail-order bride. By the time she got to The Valley, she was dead. No one had drilled holes in the box.
* A throwaway gag on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' referred to Groundskeeper Willie ordering a mail order bride but being too cheap to pay the postage and her being held at the post office.
** In another episode, Marge is kidnapped by a biker gang, and Homer asks Bart to call a "Korean Love Brides" number if he fails to save her.
** At one point, Moe did have a mail-order bride, who left Moe because she was homesick for her previous life: diving for tourist pennies in a swamp in Micronesia.
* ''WesternAnimation/MonkeyDust'' had a recurring sketch much like the ''LittleBritain'' example above, where a truly disgusting middle-aged man has a mail order bride who remains permanently adoring of him no matter what repulsive thing he says or does.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHead Beavis and Butt-Head]]'' - an agency dumps a Russian woman on a looking-to-score Butt-Head...she's repulsed by him and smacks him if he gets near her. She then hooks up with thug Todd, and Butt-Head sees the bright side of it, where if Todd is doing it with ''his'' "wife", that somehow makes them related. Butt-Head ''loves'' Todd...
* At one point in ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', Rusty asks Russian assassin Molotov Cocktease if Russian mail-order brides are any good, because [[BlackComedy the Chinese one was already dead when he opened the box]].
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Duckman}}'' episode "[[PygmalionPlot My Feral Lady]]" has Duckman ordering a bride who turns out to be a jungle savage.
* ''WesternAnimation/ClerksTheAnimatedSeries'': Parodied when Randall orders a Japanese mail-order ''groom'' by mistake, who forces Randall to dress and act like the YamatoNadeshiko type.