Asking for the Blessing: Tradition Bounces Back

Some engagement traditions have fallen by the wayside, but one is coming back into vogue.

For years, engagements and weddings were enrobed in tradition, and anyone who veered from the expected path could expect some side-eyes, if not outright battles. But now you can get married in a barn as easily as you could a church, and you might trade the catered buffet for a gathering of food trucks. Happily, just about anything goes.

The throwback

But there is one tradition making a comeback. Surveys show that, surprisingly, the number of grooms asking the bride’s father for permission has grown over the past few years, while the number of women who object to it has fallen.

While it never went away completely, asking for the father’s blessing on the marriage fell out of favor as a relic of a more paternalistic time. Women strongly felt that it was a personal decision to get married, and no one else should get veto power.

Changing times

Maybe as a result of equal rights becoming less of a battleground, asking your future father-in-law for permission to marry his child feels sweet and respectful, embracing your future, and extending the feeling of family. Still, there are a few changes this time around:

  • You should talk to your intended well before — it takes away the idea that someone else gets to decide your future together. And if there’s an objection to this ritual, honor that.
  • Talking beforehand also avoids the awkwardness of asking dad first, getting a yes, and then getting a “no” when you actually propose.

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