07/15/2014 07:32 pm ET Updated Jul 15, 2014

Bride School: Where South Korea's Mail-order Wives Learn Their Trade

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HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — They met for the first time at a hotel coffee shop. He’d flown five hours from South Korea. She’d come eight hours by bus from the Vietnamese countryside. The attraction was modest but enough. About 18 hours later, they were married.

With the exchange of rings, provided by a broker, Danh Thi Cam Loan and Lee Kwan-ju became sudden partners in a matchmaking gamble — one in which strangers sharing neither language nor culture embark on a life together.