It goes without saying, the first step before wedding planning can even commence is to fall for the right match. But it certainly isn't always as easy as it looks in fairy tales. Meeting someone new, getting to know them, and building a relationship takes some serious work, and millions of couples have been using dating sites to help them accomplish their goal of meeting the partner of their dreams.
Dating sites can certainly seem daunting, especially upon the first use. And with so many options out there for sites, how does one know where to click? What app do you even start with?
Luckily, readers weighed in to share their stories, and we have all the details for you. Read on to get the scoop—these are the top sites, according to Brides readers, that you may want to try.
Launched in 2000, eharmony has been one of the longest-running dating sites in the game. Starting with a compatibility quiz, which then reveals your matches based on your answers, eharmony has helped thousands of couples meet online.
"eharmony was good because it forces dialogue prior to a meeting and actually does 'match' you according to some stated preferences and what you have in common. There's no substitute for chemistry, though. I am happier than I have ever been in my life." — Kristin
Match launched in 1995 and has since grown to cover 24 different countries and territories. Users can build a profile, select their preferences, and utilize the site's private email network for all communications.
"I had given up on finding someone organically. But Match.com allows you a more refined search, and the percentage of a match they show you is fairly accurate too. You don't need to spend hours filling out questionnaires. Neither of us would have been patient enough for that! My husband later told me he had refined his search because he wanted to date an artist this time. He posted samples of his sculptures on his profile. We are both accomplished artists, so the photos of our work were very important." — Kathlene
"After we met on Match.com, I met my now-husband for coffee at Starbucks. We talked for hours and have never been apart since then. I am actually a psychologist, and I tell patients all the time that people are more serious and more invested in finding a serious relationship if they are paying for a service. The free dating sites do not offer that same incentive. It's the belief that you get what you pay for: on Match.com, people are more serious and willing to make an effort." — Nikki
OkCupid was the first online dating site available to singles for free, thanks to the work of four Harvard graduates in 2004. The platform asks singles about the things that matter to them, from interests in travel and music to sports, matching users with those who share their interests.
"My husband Jordan and I met on OkCupid. The site has hundreds of surveys for you to answer and gives you the ability to read other people's answers. By reading their answers, I think it's easier to tell who is serious and who isn't. Also, it's a free service, so it didn't feel like a huge commitment just to try it out. Tinder and Hinge weren't really around yet when we met online, but I probably would have tried those too if they had been." — Brooke
Launched in 1997, Jdate was made exclusively for Jewish singles, offering a laid-back option for online dating.
"I originally joined Jdate because I was sick of meeting sleazy, creepy, disgusting guys at bars who weren't interested in pursuing a real relationship. Before meeting my now-husband, I messaged with, went out with, and even briefly dated multiple men off the website. This helped me to discover even more what I liked and didn't like and what I was truly looking for. Jdate is a great site if you're looking to get married because most of the people I spoke with from the site made it very clear that they were on this website to find their wife. Additionally, it's not free and to me, someone who just wants to casually date would go with one of the free options." — Shelby