Some wedding habits come and go, but one that sticks is asking the people who raised your future wife if it’s okay to marry her. Most people getting engaged–about 70%–still do this, a tradition that started in the 1700s. Back then, it was more about getting permission, but today, it’s more like getting their blessing. So, if you’re ready to ask someone to marry you, you should think about when and how to ask their parents and figure out which parent to talk to.
First, think about how your partner gets along with their parents. Are they tight-knit or not so close? Or maybe she’s mentioned that she’s not a fan of this tradition. Take that into account. However, if the tradition doesn’t appeal to you personally, but you know it would bring joy to your partner and her family, it’s a considerate and respectful move to make.
With this in mind, here’s the essential information you need to bring the old-school charm when it comes to the art of asking her father (or mother, in some cases) for their blessing.
Have a Talk With Your Girlfriend
It’s important to know that you both see eye-to-eye on the future before you have a one-on-one with the guy who might be your father-in-law. Is she thinking about marriage the same way you are? Does she even want to get married? And if she does, is she thinking about it happening sooner or later? You wouldn’t want to get her dad’s blessing only to find out she’s not on board with a proposal just yet.
What’s the Best Approach?
You might want to call up her dad or stepdad to see if you can drop by or grab a bite or a coffee together. If they live far away, a phone call is better than an email because it’s more personal. When you’re talking to them, begin by telling them how much you love and care about your partner and that you’re hoping to ask for their blessing to propose. Letting them know when you plan to propose can help avoid any accidentally spoiled surprises. They could even be in on the plan! Here’s a basic way to say it:
“I came to talk to you today because there’s something pretty big I want to share. I’ve really liked getting to know both of you and [spouse’s name], and I’m grateful for how welcoming you’ve been. You’re great parents, and it’s clear that [girlfriend’s name]’s kindness and warmth come from being raised by you. She’s incredibly important to me, and I want to make her happy for the rest of our lives. I want to ask her to be my wife, and it would mean a lot to me to have your support and blessing for this.”
Should You Only Ask Her Father?
Traditionally, it’s the father you ask for a “blessing,” but it’s really nice to involve your girlfriend’s mother, too. You can talk to them both at the same time, or after you speak with her dad, reach out to her mom, let her in on the news, and express how important her blessing is to you. Don’t forget about step-parents—your girlfriend might be closer to her stepfather than her biological father. So, think carefully about all the family dynamics first.
If They Disapprove
It’ll be super awkward if they say no. But don’t freak out—it doesn’t happen a lot. If it does, stay chill and talk it through. Tell them you’re sorry to hear that, and gently ask for their reasons. Whether or not you can have a real heart-to-heart will depend on how well you know them.
Now’s the time for a calm, honest chat. They might have worries you didn’t think about, like different religious views or money issues. You might be able to clear things up once you understand their side. If the conversation isn’t going anywhere, just say thanks for their time and move on, knowing you did the respectful thing.
When to Pop the Question to Her Parent
The timing is really your call. It could be a few days, a week, or even months before you pop the question—just try not to do it on the same day you plan to ask her.
What matters is that you’re making an effort to connect respectfully, and that’s something your future spouse’s parents are sure to value.
Different Ways to Include Her Parents
If you’re not into the old-fashioned way of asking for a hand in marriage, there are other ways to do it that feel more up-to-date. Think about doing something special like a “parents proposal” where you make a fun event out of asking them. Treat it like a warm-up to the actual proposal – make it personal and maybe even record it for your partner to see later!
You could also use the meeting as a way to get her parents excited about the upcoming proposal or to help you figure out the best way to surprise their daughter. This approach ditches any old-fashioned vibes and feels more modern and inclusive. It turns the eventual “We’re engaged!” call into a happy moment they’re waiting for rather than a shock.
Getting the okay from her dad before you pop the question is a long-standing practice. Don’t think of it as asking for permission; it’s more like asking for his support. It’s a way to start off on the right foot with her parents. And your partner will definitely notice and appreciate the extra effort you’ve put in before you actually do the proposing.