Groom – Do You Ask Her Father For Her Hand In Marriage?

posted on 26 March 2012 by The Tie The Knot Team
posted to Wedding Tips & Advice

asking-permission

In this day and age does this tradition still apply, is it simply a romantic gesture, or worse still, a blunder that will earn you the title of chauvinist faster than opening her car door for her (or should you still be doing that too?).

Back in the old, old days the negotiation had a very real place. A family, in the process of marriage of one of their daughters, lost a worker; someone who contributed greatly to the household, so it had to be worth the family’s while to part company with her.

A little closer to us in history and this tradition still had its place. Now daughter was, if anything, a financial drain on the household the longer she remained in it. Rather than contributing to the family’s income, feeding and clothing her was a responsibility. Thus securing a dowry for her became of prime importance (think Jane Austen novels for reference) if she was to be kept in the finery to which she was accustomed.

Roll in the new century and, ostensibly, marriage no longer has quite the same connotations. For some, at any rate. Still, there are those who think it rather ‘charming’ should the lad let his prospective parents-in-law know that a wedding is in the pipeline. Most of the time, though, you’ve already got her say-so ahead of the time. No greater blunder than asking your girlfriend’s father, only to have her say ‘no’.

Much of the time there is not even a proposal to mark the decision to get married. Instead it is a mutual decision arrived at as a logical conclusion to having lived together / dated for a period of time – neither of which involved the parents-in-law other than for obligatory weekend braais.

And now, suddenly, you’re faced with the outdated practice.

Advice? You might want to consider the following:

  • What will your partner think of the idea? (some women do not find the tradition ‘charming’ at all)
  • What type of father-in-law is your girlfriend’s father (if she is the apple of his eye, you might want to consider asking his ‘permission’)
  • What school of thought does your father-in-law belong to? If he’s a chip off the old block, then he’ll appreciate your token, if not, he’ll think it odd and want to know if you’ve asked his daughter

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