Follow these instructions to make sure he says "yes."
Photo by Brian Leahy Photography; Planning & Design by Tessa Lyn Events
It’s an unfortunate truth that marriage used to be more about an exchange of property than love, but thankfully times have evolved. In the 19th century, the tradition of asking a father for his daughter’s hand in marriage was popularized. Though the romance of becoming husband and wife had reached that time, women were still largely under the control of their parents, so permission was required. That is no longer the case, but many people still partake in the tradition. However, nowadays the hopeful grooms typically ask for the father’s blessing as a gesture of respect, rather than feeling compelled to by society.
As with a proposal after frequently discussing marriage with your beloved, it can still be nerve-wracking to ask for a future father-in-law's blessing or approval, even if you get along great and you expect him to be congenial. In order to help out, we’ve gathered some tips on what you should and should not do once you have this talk.
- Do find out if your bride even wants you to ask for her father's (or mother's) blessing. Plenty of women are wholeheartedly against it, whether it's because she doesn't want anyone to know about her engagement before she does or because it's against her principles.
- Don’t ask anyway if she expresses disdain towards the tradition. Let her explain it to her parents if they are upset after your engagement.
- Do get together in person if possible, or make a phone call if there are too many geographic constraints.
- Don’t ask for his blessing the first time you meet the man. Even if it has to be during the same visit, have it be one of the last things you do before you leave, so her father feels he’s gotten to know you.
- Do make your girlfriend’s mother feel included as well. You can ask her parents at the same time, or if they are separated, ask her primary caregiver first.
- Don’t invite him to your home for this conversation. Either meet him on his turf, or neutral territory like a restaurant.
- Do keep in mind what kind of man her father is – very traditional or more easy-going. That will affect how formal you should be during the encounter.
- Don’t forget to mention how great a job her parents did in raising the woman you love. You’re explaining why you want to marry their daughter, so make them feel like they are a part of that.
- Do be prepared to explain your financially stability and plans for the future, because her father will probably ask.
- Don't quickly dismiss him if he does not give his blessing – is it as simple as he doesn't trust any man with his daughter? Is it a religious or cultural difference he can't move past? If so, you and your beloved may have to consider getting married without his approval. But if there's something else giving him pause, find out what it is. He may have a point.
- Do let her parents know when you plan on popping the question, and make sure they don't say anything to spoil the surprise until she calls to give them the good news.
- Don’t panic if her parents ask why you want to meet, simply say you have something important you'd like to discuss. They'll probably already have an idea of what you're going to ask at that point.
Click here to read how 12 real grooms asked permission to propose, and watch this romantic proposal video. Once you've asked permission and she accepts, gather inspiration for your nuptials from hundreds of real weddings!