Asking permission vs. asking for a blessing

January 4, 2010 – As women, most of us have been planning our wedding since we can remember. With or without an event planner, we stress about flowers, cake, dresses and numerous other facets of the day. What we sometimes forget though, is that the wedding is stressful for our fiancée as well. Though he may not be fretting about the color of the linens, he’s got things on his mind. For instance, before thoughts of photographers and bridesmaids have even entered your brain, he’s probably worried about how to go about that talk with your parents, you know, the one about asking them for your hand? I know plenty of women who find the tradition of the groom talking to the bride’s parents outdated and insulting, but also numerous others who prefer that he include her parents.

I have a few suggestions that may be helpful in asking the bride’s parents for their blessing. (1) Ask for a blessing rather than permission. This tradition is more a show of respect and consideration for their feelings than an actual request for permission to marry their daughter. Women today don’t want to feel like property to be requested, but most of us — unless we are at odds with our parents — want our future husband and family to have a cordial relationship. Holidays are so much easier when everyone gets along! (2) Include both the bride’s mother and father. Again, this denotes respect for both parents. As a general rule, a woman’s mother is a very influential person in her life, and men would do well to acknowledge and respect this relationship. Nobody wants a monster-in-law. (3) Talk about it! If you have strong feelings either way, let him know! Whether you drop some subtle hints, or have a detailed discussion about your feelings, any sense of your stance on the issue will be helpful when he begins thinking about talking to your parents. This will also help him to decide whether to talk to your parents before or after his official proposal.

Ladies, take into consideration the courage it takes to approach your parents. Where as we might have help from an event planner, our friends or family, he usually handles his planning himself. If he proposes before he talks to your parents and you still want him to speak with them, consider going with him to talk to your parents. Not only will your presence be a bit of comfort for your fiancée, but also your parents will get the opportunity to see you glowing with love and excitement. Though it’s not traditional, just seeing you so happy will probably have a profound effect on your parents’ decision to grant your union their blessing.

Ultimately, the decision to include your parents is you and your fiancées’ choice, but allow me one last suggestion: put yourself in your parents’ shoes. Realistically, there is little they can do to keep you from getting married if they don’t approve, so there’s not much to worry about there. On the flip side, there is nothing as truly gratifying for a parent as seeing your child happy. To feel that your daughter and her fiancee want to include you in their joy must be a wonderful feeling.