The Truth About “Asking for Permission” in 2018
We were pretty surprised to learn that, according to a study conducted by Wedding Wire, 63 percent of millennials reported properly “asking for permission” before proposing. Whoa. We had no idea the old-school custom was still such a mainstay. Curious as ever, we decided to poll our own network and found the stats to be resoundingly true...but with some interesting twists. Here’s what we learned from 16 real, modern couples.
THEY’RE GIVING A HEADS UP RATHER THAN ASKING
“My husband didn't really ask permission, but he wanted to sit down with my dad to share his happiness and how much he loved me, and to tell him that he wanted to take care of me for the rest of our lives!” - Becky G.
“I just got engaged in October and my fiancé did speak to both of my parents but it wasn't quite a permission thing. It was more of him letting them know that he's going to propose. It seemed pretty casual and more like good news rather than seeking permission!” - Deepanjali B.
“My husband called my dad and asked, ‘Would it be alright if I could call you dad, officially?’ I liked that my parents still were aware and consulted (ecstatically), but also appreciated that he didn’t ask for their permission as I’ve always found that concept dated and odd.” - Alyssa B.
“My fiancé did. Not so much because he felt he needed to ‘ask permission,’ but because he wanted to establish more of a one-on-one relationship with my dad. They’d never spoken on the phone before—he didn’t even have my dad’s phone number—so he thought it was a great time to start strengthening that bond if we’re going to become one big family. It’s definitely made them closer.” - Lindsay C.
"He told, rather than asked, my dad. It was more about sharing the excitement than asking for permission."- Elizabeth P.
They’re Asking the Whole Family, Not Just Dad
“My fiancé asked my whole family on Christmas day last year. My dad, mom, two brothers and sister. We are a close family so he thought that he should ask everyone. My dad was very touched that he included the whole gang. I had no idea and everyone knew for two whole days before he asked me!” - Emma G.
“My husband asked both of my parents over dinner. He wanted to make sure my mom was included and he wasn’t just asking my dad. It meant a lot to her. My sister’s soon-to-be husband did the same.” - Erin B.
“My fiancé did ask permission—from my my parents. It was a funny story: he went the entire dinner chatting with them and forgot to ask until the end. Not only that, but since we share a calendar, I knew that's where his ‘business dinner’ was. He asked both of my parents because he felt as if it was important their relationship and his future relationship as their son-in-law.” -Marguerite B.
“Somehow my fiance found a few moments to stop by and talk to my dad, ring in hand. My mom walked in on them and realized what was happening and said, 'well, why aren't you asking me?!' They all got a laugh out of it. Later on after the engagement my dad teased me that he had gotten to try the ring on before me!” - Maeve K.
Some Modern Couples Are Completely Over the Custom
“My husband did not ask permission. When asked, he'd say the tradition conflicted with his feminist values. We agree that I can make my own decisions. My dad said he would have been alarmed if Pete had asked, and that my Mom (strong independent woman that she is) would have been the more appropriate choice anyway.” - Laura D.
“Max didn't ask my parents because he said he knew they'd say ‘ask her’; which ended up being exactly what they said after the fact when we talked about it. They felt like they shouldn't really be a part of the equation aside from being part of the celebration!” - Molly S.
“My fiance didn’t ask my parents because he wanted to be more spontaneous about it. I told him yes, and thought it was sweet and very romantic, but that our engagement would not really be official until he got their blessing.” - Grace C.
But Plenty Of Folks Still Respect the Tradition
"My fiancé asked my dad for permission before proposing to me, which I thought was really cute because it's not something we had ever discussed previously. I think it's a nice way to sort of give your family a heads up. But I think he mainly viewed it as just being a respectful thing to do and wanted to make sure he had my father's blessing." - Mel M.
"My fiancé visited my parents and told them why he wanted to marry me, what he promised to do, and asked for their permission. It showed so much respect and it meant a lot to all of us!" - Devan K.
"My husband asked my parents because he grew up in a traditional home and wanted their approval/respect. My parents are kind of traditional, too." - Liza W.
"My fiancé asked my parents, and I think they were kind of shocked that I was with someone who would ask! But I actually thought I was sweet. And it meant so much to them. I feel like it still helps in his relations with them." - Karyn S.