In today’s world, the old tradition of asking a father permission to marry his daughter can feel quite antiquated. (After all, its origin dates back to the 18th century.) Yet, the time-honored tradition of asking permission to marry is still carried out today and has evolved to be a sign of respect. This rite of passage not only shows the love of your life how truly committed you are but also can be a great bonding experience as you pave the path for a strong relationship with your new future family.
However, even if you two have been together for years and know each other is the one, asking a father permission to marry might feel as heavy a question as the one you pop on one knee. If you’re questioning how to ask a dad to marry his daughter, take a deep breath and follow these tips to ease the stress and make it a special moment you and your new father-in-law will treasure.
How to Ask a Dad to Marry His Daughter
Photo by Burnt Exposure Photography
1. Talk about it.
Make sure marriage is truly on the horizon before you stress about how to ask a day to marry his daughter. You may be head over heels with one another, but if you haven’t discussed your future and when marriage is right for both of you, it’s time to pump the breaks and confront that question first. In your discussion, find out how they feel about traditions. They might actually prefer you forgo asking their father for permission to marry or that you ask their mother instead..
2. Consider other family members.
While the tradition has always been to ask the father of the bride for her hand in marriage, today’s world is anything but traditional. Mothers, step-parents, brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, and mentors are all fair game when asking for one’s blessing. Be sure to evaluate the family dynamic and ask accordingly. When you just can’t narrow it down, play it safe and ask the entire family before you move forward.
Photo by Susan Stripling
3. Choose your words wisely.
In the same way the tradition has evolved to be a sign of respect to the parents, the wording has also changed. Instead of asking for “permission,” which can make your partner feel like a piece of property, consider asking for dad’s blessing or the courtesy to marry his child.
4. Be intentional.
Whatever words you use, the most important ones should convey your intentions, build a sense of trust for the family, and show gratitude and excitement at the prospect of spending the rest of your life taking care of one another as well as being a new member of their special family.
5. Share your love story (and the ring!).
Go beyond a quick boilerplate request and throw in a romantic story that demonstrates your love for your partner. Maybe it’s about your first date or how you two met. Or maybe you share when you knew they were the “one.” You can even show off the ring. You picked it for a reason (if you haven’t yet, Blue Nile and James Allen can help with that) – so share any meaning or symbolism behind it! You’ll melt dad’s heart with a meaningful story, and you’ll be planning a wedding in no time.
Photo by Brandon Kidd
6. Get personal.
Does your potential future father-in-law have a favorite pastime, cocktail, or meal? Show you’ve been paying attention and treat him to a special day together as you build up to the big question.
7. Make it memorable.
Whether the tradition is a must for your future fiancé or you think they’d simply appreciate you going the extra mile to win their love, capture it to share after you become engaged. Get a picture snapped of you and dad shaking hands, high-fiving, or hugging. Or record a special message from dad to play on the momentous day.