The tradition of a man asking a woman’s father for her hand in marriage still works today, depending on the dynamics of the woman’s family, as a positive way to bond with the future in-laws.
Your Engagement 101 suggests that if a woman puts importance on family and is traditional, she would most likely appreciate the gesture of honoring the pre-proposal tradition.
However, there are some situations where asking her father may not be the best decision. The Grooms List website suggested grooms need to consider that all family situations are different and if a woman is not close to her father, or if they have an estranged relationship, it might be best to avoid asking the father. Also, if a couple is older and her father has not had much involvement in his daughter’s life for years, it may be unnecessary to ask her father.
“Today, when a man asks his girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage, he does so more out of respect than anything else,” stated The Knot. “Generally, both the father and his daughter’s boyfriend are aware that, approval or no approval, if they truly want to be married, there’s little to stop them. The father’s approval is almost expected.”
Several men explained why they honor the age-old tradition as a step toward a positive relationship with the future in-laws.
James Bassil, a columnist for Askmen.com, wrote, “He (the father) doesnâ€™t want to be your buddy. He wants your respect, but has been socialized to no longer expect it. When you give it to him, youâ€™ll set yourself apart from every other guy under 30 in his life â€” including all his daughterâ€™s ex-boyfriends.”
Scott Sapire told The Chicago Tribune, “I was taught to be courteous, like opening car doors for ladies. Asking Alyssa’s father for her hand was the courteous thing to do.”
One groom, Adam Bornstein, described to the How He Asked website how it worked for him. “I put down my guard, let him walk inside my heart, see the way I felt about Rach, and then I looked him in the eyes and said two things: ‘I will take care of your daughter forever. I’d be honored to be a part of your family.’
“I was going to marry his daughter, but I wanted him to feel great about it and be a part of it.”
Those in committed relationships suggest that asking the bride-to-be’s father is not really a matter of permission, but rather it is an opportunity to receive the father’s blessing on the marriage.
About.com offered this advice: “Asking for a parent’s blessing or permission was once a standard part of an engagement. Now asking for a woman’s hand in marriage is sometimes viewed as an antiquated practice or a misogynistic ritual. But if done correctly, it can be a beautiful meaningful moment and opportunity to both honor and bond with your future in-laws.”