Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?

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SamanthasDay Posts : 10 Registered: 2/1/08
Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 10:08 AM

My BF and I have been talking a lot about marriage and weddings and getting engaged. We've talked season and formality and how many people we want to invite. We've gone ring shopping and we know each others size.

Problem: I am sort of an old-fashioned girl, and I'd always assumed that my boyfriend would ask for my father's blessing before he popped the question. We were talking last night about cute ways to tell people (a surprise engagement party and tell everyone at once), or little cards to ask my friends to be a bridesmaid. But then I said, "Well, we won't have to come up with a way to tell my parents, since they'll already know." And he said "Why would they know?"... And so then I got all weird and nervous about it, and I felt like I had to speak in generalities because I didn't want to force anything on him. So I said that "Typically, the guy would have already talked to the girl's parents about the proposal beforehand" and then he said he thought that tradition was out the window, since I'm independent, and women are equal, and that asking for 'permission' would be disrespectful to me.

But I thought it would be respectful to my Dad. I mean, its just a gesture, its not like we're asking for permission here. (DUH...we already live together...). Is it stupid? Is it condescending to women everywhere? I know my father would really appreciate it, and we're really close. And my BF said he would definitely do it if thats what I wanted. But what do you guys think?


Bally Posts : 355 Registered: 9/25/08
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 10:25 AM Go to message in response to: SamanthasDay

I'm not engaged anymore, but I was so I will answer this...I have the same view on this as your BF does, however I am very close to my parents as well so my then BF asked for their blessing beforehand and then also again the night before he proposed...While my mum said 'she isn't some sort of chattel to be given away by us', my dad said said he liked the if you want it, I would say go for it. It can only serve to get their relationship off on the right foot!


June6 Posts : 33 Registered: 11/4/08
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 10:34 AM Go to message in response to: SamanthasDay

I personally think its a nice gesture. Before proposing, my husband phoned my parents (they live out of town and therefore couldn't meet with them personally) and spoke to both of them on the phone at the same time. He had a little speach written up about how much he loved and he thanked them for raising me and then asked for their blessing. I agree, asking for permission is a little weird, but I think asking for their blessing is a nice thing to do.

Good luck and congrats on getting this far!


Brooke051609 Posts : 723 Registered: 12/31/07
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 12:07 PM Go to message in response to: SamanthasDay

I think it's a wonderful gesture.... yes, you live on your own, independant, but as you say, if you're close to your father he would really appreciate it. Like Bally said, it's not so much asking "permission" as it is just asking for "blessing". I don't feel it's condescending at all....I feel it's more intimate. If your father and your FH are close, there should be no issues... it's just a way of respecting the woman's father. You have been his daughter your whole life, and if he is asked for his daughter's hand, it would most likely make him feel proud and comforted. This shows that this man has so much respect not only for you, but for your father as well. That he's taking the father's (and family's) feelings into consideration. He's not just marrying you, he's marrying into the family and this would only make the family feel even closer to you both.

My DH asked not only my father, but my grandfather as well. I'm very close to both and he knew it. I'm HUGE on tradition and was so delighted he did this. I know they were very happy as well. It was more that he said he would like to marry me and they were able to tell him how happy they were about it. So DH felt great after it too, feeling more relaxed and even more accepted into the family.


                                    "Come What May...."


FutureMrsBabler Posts : 104 Registered: 5/18/09
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 12:40 PM Go to message in response to: SamanthasDay

I totally agree with what Brooke just wrote! I'm not super traditional, but that was one thing I told my FH he NEEDED to do... when we were first talking about getting engaged I think I might have said something to the sort of 'you better have a little talk with my dad beforehand, otherwise I won't say yes!' We live together and everything like you guys do, but it's just the whole respect thing IMO... it's not so much that he will be asking his permission, it's just more of the thought that counts... I know my Dad really appreciated it and it made him feel very special! Apparently he knew for almost a month without telling anyone, even my mom! If it's important to you, I would make sure you let your bf know!

You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. 

~Dr. Seuss


kennysoldwife Posts : 3,859 Registered: 4/28/07
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 1:07 PM Go to message in response to: SamanthasDay

I have a problem with anyone going to my parents about anything. I am an adult and I don't need their blessing. Once I left their home any and all decisions about my life were on me. It just seems silly to me to insist on something like that.

I have two daughters and I don't want their guys coming to me asking for my blessing. I would be offended if someone was to go to their father, I raised my girls he didn't.

What if I don't like the guy and say no then what? Would they still get engaged?




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myra Posts : 5,550 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 1:20 PM Go to message in response to: SamanthasDay

It's a nice gesture to discuss with the parents (and not just Dad!), but asking for "permission" is way out of date.

That being said, my own father had died before I married for the first time, so the point was moot. My boyfriend and I had been together for so long that marriage was a foregone conclusion. Frankly, I think that if either of us had asked for permission, my Mother would have said NO! She was a lot smarter than I was in those days. For my second marriage, my mother had been asking "When?" for a long time, so her blessing was assumed.

In the case of my daughter, she had been asking whether we approved of her boyfriend since she began dating him (she broke off her first engagement, so we really had some credibility with this one LOL). Everyone knew that they were planning to be engaged and we all (both sets of parents) were thrilled. I honestly don't remember if there ever was a formal "blessing" that was requested. I think that if you're close with your family and communicate regularly, that people kind of know what's going on and you kind of know how your parents feel about it. If you live at a great distance, maybe not. But otherwise, you and your boyfriend probably have a prettty good idea of how your parents feel. if you want the formality of a "blessing," then you should have it.
myra at


SamanthasDay Posts : 10 Registered: 2/1/08
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 3:13 PM Go to message in response to: myra

Thanks so much for the opinions, ladies!

My one friend IRL said that I'm "not chattel" and that it would be ridiculous.

But my family is more traditional. I know they love my BF already, but I think it would bring us all closer if they were informed about his decision before we just popped it on them.

Thanks again!


MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 3:48 PM Go to message in response to: SamanthasDay

I think it's both, actually - a stupid tradition and a nice gesture.

My hubs told my dad that he was going to ask me. No, he didn't ask for permission, or my dad's blessing. He just said he was planning to ask me. (He told my mom too (they're divorced)). Now, I'm pretty independent - and, for heaven's sake, I was 30 years old! But it was a nice gesture. We'd been dating for over 5 years, so it was no shock.

Mostly, I think hubs was just excited and wanted to share his excitement with others -- I mean, my closest friends all knew too. If you want your boyfriend to do it, he should do it -- and again, it doesn't have to be "asking for permission" or even "asking for your blessing" -- it could simply be, "I just wanted to let you know beforehand that I want to marry your daughter, and I will be asking her in the next month or so."

Good luck, and an advance Congratulations!


"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson


Jream Posts : 157 Registered: 7/29/08
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 4:07 PM Go to message in response to: SamanthasDay

If your family is more traditional, then they probably wouldn't think it was crazy. I don't think he should literally ask your dad for your hand and his permission, as someone said, but rather have a discussion about it. Just making sure that he has your father's blessing, in other words.

My FH asked my dad, and it didn't go well. FH and I knew we were going to get married the moment we got together (because we'd been friends for years previously, and had already moved in together) but I guess everyone else hadn't even gotten used to the idea of us being together romantically, much less being engaged. But it sounds like your whole family is just waiting for it anyway, since you say they already love him and everything.

By the way, props to your boyfriend for being so open and for wanting to please you even when he doesn't fully agree with the tradition =)

When is my wedding


juicygirl16 Posts : 49 Registered: 8/30/08
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 30, 2009 10:38 AM Go to message in response to: Jream


I've already told my boyfriend that I expect him to "ask" my dad. Of course I told him nicely, but I figured that if it was important to me, he would understand. And if he had a problem with telling my dad first, he'd say so. But he understood and said that knowing my family, he thinks it is the right thing to do anyway.

I think it really depends family to family. I also think that by telling the parents first, it really emphasizes that the FH has thought it through and wants to do everything right, and respect the bride and her family.


FrancieElaine Posts : 654 Registered: 6/26/09
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 30, 2009 11:00 AM Go to message in response to: SamanthasDay

My new husband asked my Dad's blessing and we are 42 years old! It was sweet and I think my Dad was touched. I think it is sweet your FH has respect for your Dad. :)

Francie Elaine, The Bride Whisperer



ChelsRae85 Posts : 371 Registered: 5/16/09
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 30, 2009 1:55 PM Go to message in response to: FrancieElaine

I'm going to be outnumbered here (which is not really all that uncommon), but I'm in the "it's a stupid tradition" mindset. Look, it's cool to me if you're traditional and want that. I ain't here to judge. :)

What I will say, though, is that if Max ever asked my father for "permission" to marry me, we'd be sitting down and having a serious discussion as to whether we should be marrying at all, because if this were to happen it would be a bright neon sign that read to me how little my FH knows about me.

I am not a cow, mule, or any other form of livestock.
I am not a 1950's housewife.
I am certainly not my father's property to be given away to whomever he chooses. (Thank GOD)

Thankfully, Max already won a medal in this regard. The other day, a friend of ours was telling Max to hurry up and marry me so he could "show me off as his girl". Max replied with a laugh, "yeah, I don't think Chels would appreciate that terminology."

A+, honey. A+.

Like I said, it's fine if other people do it. Personally, I'd kill my FH if he did.
My Planning Blog


JamieShell Posts : 10 Registered: 7/21/09
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 30, 2009 3:29 PM Go to message in response to: SamanthasDay

(my first post I can answer as an engaged woman!)

FH and I had discussed this before he proposed and he had asked me if I thought he should ask my father for his permission. I was honest and told him that I didn't have any strong feelings on it one way or another, my father is far from traditional and really we aren't that close. It's not that we have a horrible relationship it's just not close. And my dad is a very logical, realistic, straight-forward, no non-sense old school man. And I warned FH if he did ask not to expect some grand welcoming to the family or sentimental words of wisdom. That's not my dad, he's not a bad guy or totally uncaring he's just not the emotional or sentimental type. I knew he did like FH though and he would've said yes but that's about it. But I did tell FH if he really wanted to or he felt it was something he needed to do then I was fine with him asking my father. He decided not to in the end and truthfully I don't think my father really cared either that FH didn't ask him. Like I said, that's him.

With saying that, I think it can be a sweet gesture if your family is traditional and values something like that. If it would be important to your father for your boyfriend to ask then you should mention that to him. Or even if it's just important to you then say something.

Good luck!

Edited by: JamieShell on Aug 30, 2009 3:29 PM


FMrsJG Posts : 77 Registered: 2/21/08
Re: Stupid Tradition or Nice Gesture?
Posted: Aug 31, 2009 12:37 PM Go to message in response to: SamanthasDay


If you want him to ask your parents....then tell him. I mean marriage itself is about communication so why not communicate about getting married and telling him you'd like for him to ask your dad.

me? I'm a very blunt person...i flat out right said "you better ask my dad first". even tho i'm a very indep. was important to me that he asked my dad. and you know what? he didn't ask, he told! LOL that sounds funny but when it came down to it I guess he went something about "i want to marry your daughter and I plan on asking her next month and I wanted your opinions." so in a way he asked, but all and all he knew it was important to me that he talk to them before hand. nothing is ideal and i'm learning this....they say everything is a fantasy and we grow up thinking things are going to be "i met prince charming" "i will NEVER have a problem in my relationship"...but then reality hits and well take it for what it is. but him asking your dad/parents might not be you take what you get. I was just excited that he had discussed it with them before hand. no he didn't flat out right say "can i have your permission to marry your daughter" but so what, words are words and he made it a point to talk about it with my parents b4 hand and thats fine by me!

if its important to you, talk to you boyfriend, let him know that despite it being 2009 and your indep. that it is important to you. he will respect it. but its not a break or make situation really...its about the communication that you two need to have.

good luck :)


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