When Tinder became available to all smartphone users in 2013, it ushered in a new era in the history of romance.
On the 20th anniversary of The New York Times’ popular Vows column, a weekly feature on notable weddings and engagements launched in 1992, its longtime editor wrote that Vows was meant to be more than just a news notice about society events. It aimed to give readers the backstory on marrying couples and, in the meantime, to explore how romance was changing with the times. “Twenty years ago, as now, most couples told us they’d met through their friends or family, or in college,” wrote the editor, Bob Woletz, in 2012. “For a period that ran into the late 1990s, a number said, often sheepishly, that they had met through personal advertisements.”
But in 2018, seven of the 53 couples profiled in the Vows column met on dating apps. And in the Times’ more populous Wedding Announcements section, 93 out of some 1,000 couples profiled this year met on dating apps—Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, Happn, and other specialized dating apps designed for smaller communities, like JSwipe for Jewish singles and MuzMatch for Muslims. The year before, 71 couples whose weddings were announced by the Times met on dating apps.