With so many sons and daughters of Great Houses in need of advantageous alliance, matchmaking is a lucrative business in Rasenna. Professional matchmakers can be found in any area with enough of a wealthy population to support them. In rustic villages, there’s usually one older person with an eye for who might be a good match for whom. (Of course, the lower class not usually having too much wealth to profit from, rural matchmaking tends to focus more on compatibility and advantages for potential children.) In larger towns and cities, a more refined class of matchmaker also sets up.
The best House-class matchmakers are those that can be seen to have allegiances with all families, rather than with a few. They are traditionally paid a flat fee plus a small commission out of any dowry or bride-price that comes of a match; a good matchmaker has plenty of incentive to make a profitable pairing. A matchmaker must be skilled in diplomacy and etiquette, able to convince a hot-blooded youth to consider the advantages of a potential marriage and also able to guide him or her in appearing as desirable as possible to the suitor in question. House Amiroso and House Iluni are home to some of the most talented matchmakers, and the two Houses have no small rivalry over business.
Of course, some wealthy Rasennans still prefer to arrange the matches for their children themselves (especially among the Iluni and Amiroso). One tradition that smooths the process is the processional feast, an event in which several families throw a celebration to introduce their most promising and newly marriageable scions to society as a whole. Processional feasts are naturally hotbeds of intrigue. The young centers of attention cannot help but be primed with thoughts of romance, and chaperones must do what they can to keep the impressionable priseri from developing passionate affections for any charming but less advantageous potential partners also in attendance. Potential suitors abound, of course, from rich and lonely merchants to dashing and successful mercenary captains. Duels over the preference of a particularly attractive young thing are sadly common. Some wealthy widows and widowers place themselves forward at processional feasts as well, with varying luck. A few have the presence and allure to be the much sought-after talk of the ball, but many more just aren’t as attractive by compare to the younger priseri. The result may be something of a joke, but it’s rare that any attendee will laugh to the older priseri’s face: after all, the gentleman or lady in question may be greatly overestimating his or her allure, but not that of a potential dowry.