Giving your hand in marriage...

Krista - posted on 04/15/2011 ( 81 moms have responded )

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This branched off from the homosexuality thread, strangely enough.

We often read how traditionally, if a man wished to propose to a woman, he would go to her parents and ask their permission for her hand in marriage. If the parents consented, (and if the woman consented, of course), then they'd get married, with the father "giving the daughter away" during the ceremony.

For many people this tradition has fallen by the wayside.

I married at age 32. I had been supporting myself for over a decade, and had been living with my now-husband for 6 years. If he had gone to my dad and asked for permission, my dad would have probably asked him what he'd been smoking, and would have reminded him that I am my own person, and not his to "give away". If we'd had a family-based wedding ceremony (we went away to get married), I would have walked my OWN self down the aisle.

But...there are some who feel that it is disrespectful towards the parents if the prospective fiance does not seek their blessing/permission before popping the question.

What are your thoughts? Is asking permission from the prospective in-laws a sweet tradition, or insulting and archaic? Is skipping that tradition an insult to the folks, or an recognition of the bride's independence and self-determination?

Whose hand is it, anyway?

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Krista - posted on 04/15/2011

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You can do everything a married couple can do with regards to insurance, buying property/homes, cars, having children, power of attorney for medical things...anything you can think of, you can do without being married.

Not necessarily...it depends on where you live. I always caution people to check the laws where they live, and to even consult with a lawyer regarding your rights. I've heard of too many people who were screwed over, because they THOUGHT they had the same rights as married people, but didn't -- or they had to fight tooth and nail and go through hell for their rights to be recognized.

Johnny - posted on 04/16/2011

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My husband spoke to my father to "ask his permission". I'd been living on my own for 10 years and my father pointed out that it was not his place to "give me his hand". I think that my husband had seen this in a lot of "english" movies and thought it was the expected thing for him to do in our culture. In his culture, things are quite different, so I think he was kind of winging it. But in the end, my mom and dad just said that we had their blessing and that they were pleased that we would be marrying. They would have supported me no matter who it was, but they really love my hubby. It was kind of nice.

Both my parents walked me down the aisle. My husband's mother stood up with him. It wasn't about my parent's "giving" me away at all. It was about the uniting of our families. Our ceremony was all about bringing together our lives, our families, our cultures, and histories. It was very untraditional, but contained some very traditional elements here and there.

I think that these traditions are only insulting or archaic when they are forced upon you. If you are most comfortable in those sorts of roles, then it would be wrong to have them taken away simply because we are in the 21st century. We are all entitled to live our lives in the ways that bring ourselves the most meaningful experience. If you want a man to ask your father for your hand, your dad to "give you away", and to be submissive to your spouse, then that is your right. If you aren't interested in marriage and the traditions mean nothing to you, then don't participate. I think we each have different values, there is no "right answer".

Jenni - posted on 04/15/2011

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For me it just reeks of a time of opression for women. When women were their father's property until she was married to her husband and became his property. But I also don't agree (for myself) with the idea of a male figure of the family walking the bride down the isle and 'giving her away'. The reason I don't see it as a 'sweet tradition' is because it came from a time when women were bought and sold like livestock. You don't see us asking our husband's parent's permission to marry them. So does that mean we're being disrespectful to them? It just tells me that a man is his 'own man' upon adulthood and permission is not required. Yet a woman is still her parent's property even in adulthood and requires their permission. It implies she is unable to make the decision for herself. It is ultimately her parents' decision.



I'm sure in a lot of cases people don't believe that and are just following a tradition. But that's its roots and in the name of equality some weeds need to be plucked out. I know it may not matter to some but to me, if my SO did that out of respect of my parents.... I would see it as disrespectful to me. That I am my parents' property still... yet he is not.

Krista - posted on 04/17/2011

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Not knocking anyone and I love reading everyone's stories. It is so interesting to read others views and so interesting to me that people wait so long to marry.



A lot of it just depends on circumstances. Like Loureen, I felt that the wedding was more of a celebration of a commitment that we had ALREADY made. After Keith and I had been together one week, we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We actually even bought our wedding bands (at a pawn shop) after being together 3 weeks.



So I think because that commitment was already there, and because we were already living together, we felt no sense of urgency.



But once we moved here and started planning the construction of our home, it kind of felt like a new chapter in our lives. We were putting down roots, after six years of bouncing from job to job and apartment to apartment. So it just felt...right, to mark this new chapter in our lives by getting married. He actually proposed to me under the big maple tree on our property.



And yes, we used the pawn-shop rings. :)

Jane - posted on 04/16/2011

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This tradition is a carry-over from the days when women were not considered to be fully human, but instead always had to belong to a man. First it would be the father, and then the husband. Women still have some catching up to do, but by and large a woman's hand is her own these days. However, it is a wise suitor who makes peace with his future in-laws. So perhaps one shouldn't ask for a transfer of ownership of the woman, but instead simply give a head's-up to her parents.

As to walking folks down the aisle, I know several friends who had both parents walk her down the aisle, and I have known folks who walked down the aisle all on their own.

To be honest, how one gets married doesn't matter as much as how one stays married.

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/18/2012

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OLD Thread, feel free to start a new one!



~DM MoD Little Miss~

Christine - posted on 10/17/2012

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Is it just the father of the bride that gets asked for his daughter's hand in marriage? If the parents are divorced shouldn't it be both parents.. The mother does more in a daughter's life.??

Krista - posted on 07/10/2011

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I definitely agree with you there, Julie. The parents (if the relationship with them is intact, of course) should be the first ones to know. I think it would be pretty awful for them to hear about it second-hand!

Julie - posted on 07/10/2011

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My first husband asked my parents for my hand. He asked me if it's what I wanted though - and I said yes. I was still living under their roof, I was young, I felt then and still feel now it was the right thing to do. They appreciated the respect he showed them in doing so.

This time around, after 8 and a half years of marriage and three and a half years of being single, having my own house, my own life, for a total of 12 years, and a child of my own, my own family now for 9 years, I didn't think it was appropriate that my fiancee had to ask for my hand - my father gave away "my hand" 12 years ago, it was my first husband's and after him, it has well and truly been my own. However, my parents were one of the very first we told. They would have been the very first, but he proposed just before church one night and I couldn't help but tell a few friends at church and his sister who we ran into straight after church before going to my parents to tell them.

Then after we told my parents, we went to his parents and told them. lol I think they were a little more surprised than mine.

I do think though, in general, it really depends on the situation the couple is in - I mean if you're already living together, you're already "together" so asking the parents seems pointless. If you've already been married, your parents have alrady given you away, so again, seems pointless.

I don't think the tradition of it though is either insulting or archaic. It's a sweet sign of respect to your elders, that the prospective son in law cares about their opinion and wants to be their family not just their daughter's husband.

Sadly that kind of extended family community feeling is slipping away in society these days.

As I said though, it does depend on their case. There is a huge difference between proposing to an 18 year old still living with their parents, and proposing to a 30 year old who has been married before and has a kid.

I do think though that telling the parents first (both sets where possible) is important. Asking them might not be appropriate, but it's definitely polite to at least inform them first (or as close to first as possible)

♥TIA♥ - posted on 04/19/2011

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My husband didn't ask, he told my parent...LOL...so I guess he already knew these days, some things won't work if you don't take the bull by the horns and steer it! My parent was happy and very much pleased it seemed like asking. But after months of marriage, tried to break us up realizing that yes, I am fully taken now! LOL....I think it is old fashion, but in reality if the parent and to be married can't get along enough for mutual respect of humble act to ask and humble act to give your child permission. Expect not a great marriage. It could get rocky somewhere a long the way.

Veronique - posted on 04/19/2011

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My husband did not ask for my parents blessing, mainly because he probably knew what the answer would have been. My husband is much older then i am, he's 19 years older so for him to follow that ( i'm sorry no offence made ) lame tradition is ridiculous. I'm my own person therefore i make my own decision concerning my life.

Callie - posted on 04/18/2011

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My fiancée asked my dad, and step-dad, but you seem so strong and independent woman. im a little conservative, and believe that he should be respectful and ask for their blessings, but all that matters is, is staying married and in love.

[deleted account]

When we have our big ceremony my dad will walk me down the aisle to give me away. Something i have always dreamed of.

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I love tradition and think we should keep them up. I expressed to my husband that if i were to get married i would want my guy to ask my dad. And when the time came sure enough he did and i loved him so much more for that and respected him so much more. My parents are old school to an extent and i know they greatly appreciated that as well. I will pass that on to my daughter.

Candice - posted on 04/18/2011

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i think there's a difference between asking for a father's blessing and asking for their permission. I think it would be respectful and sweet to ask for his blessing.

[deleted account]

I agree wit brittany maybe in the old days the guy was actually asking for permission but now i feel its more symbolic. if they spent time together and met eachothers family before getting engaged im sure he would already know the inlaws answer

Brittany - posted on 04/18/2011

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I feel like asking the parents has become more of a symbolic thing, not a literal thing. I still think it's very sweet when a guy would go that kind of length, since he certainly doesn't have to, and whether he does it or not it's not meant to offend anybody. If my boyfriend were to not ask my parents none of us would be offended, he knows that my parents approve of us getting married, if he did, once again, nobody would be offended, I would take it as a sweet little bonus of sorts.
I mean, if a man asks, he's merely asking that the woman's parents be behind him in his quest to make their daughter happy, if they say no the couple can still get married, it's not a deal breaker. At this point, all the little things like asking for a blessing, the father of the bride walking her down the isle, things like that, are merely a symbolic formality and there's no real basis for them any more, they're just something we do because that's how it has been done for a long time.
Read into it more if you'd like, or look at the surface and take it for how it is, ultimately it seems as though your mind is already fully made up.

Jay - posted on 04/17/2011

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My husband didn't ask, and if he did he would have probably been told no at the time!
we astually didnt tell my parents we were engaged till about three months after and has a small do with just a few friends, having a proper family wedding in a few years time and will have both our families at that one...
I think it kinda depends on the couple though, i would find it insulting! but I dont get on with my father, if i did maybe i would find it sweet or whatever?! x

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JANE SENO."To be honest, how one gets married doesn't matter as much as how one stays married.!"



You just hit the nail on the head there, my friend.



Thats the most important part, staying married & in love.:-)

Amanda - posted on 04/17/2011

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I was 19 when I got married. (This was in 2003) My husband still went to my dad as asked if it was ok, not so much permission as we already had a 2 year old daugther. I think its sweet to ask and be traditional but todays standards I know that most women don't wanna be seen as an old ninny for wanting Daddy to walk her down the aisle but I was more than proud for my Daddy to hold my arm and steady me as I was shaking so bad to give my hand into my husbands. Personally I think it all depends on the family the woman and the man, but some traditions are still sweet.

Amanda - posted on 04/17/2011

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I was 19 when I got married. (This was in 2003) My husband still went to my dad as asked if it was ok, not so much permission as we already had a 2 year old daugther. I think its sweet to ask and be traditional but todays standards I know that most women don't wanna be seen as an old ninny for wanting Daddy to walk her down the aisle but I was more than proud for my Daddy to hold my arm and steady me as I was shaking so bad to give my hand into my husbands. Personally I think it all depends on the family the woman and the man, but some traditions are still sweet.

Charlie - posted on 04/17/2011

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Nope I want my godfather , we are close and it's exactly how dad would have wanted it and exactly how I want it , my sister and my mum have their own roles to play in my wedding .

As for waiting so long to get married , honestly I have always found it odd to marry someone so fresh into a relationship although to me marriage isnt something that I feel should be done before having children or anything else to me it is a celebration of our relationship together , I know a couple who got married after 33 years together and to me that just makes so much more sense than marrying a person you have only known for a year , I mean they have stood the test of time !

Mel - posted on 04/17/2011

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my dad was supposed to give me away but he pulled out a few days before so I just got my mum to do it and she was fine with that she was very excited about it

Stifler's - posted on 04/17/2011

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Actually my cousin's wife had her mother walk her down the aisle. Her dad was there and everything I think she just wasn't close with him and they were divorced so she asked her mother instead.

Amber - posted on 04/17/2011

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@ Shannen~ Oy :-/ lol I'm hoping Chad's a better man than that! Sorry you got saddled down with such a loser. I'm hoping with all the difficult times we've already made it through, that he'd have shown his "true colors" if they were anything other than the ones he's been showing for the last 5 years. Plus, while he's a very intelligent man, he's not very creative. I just can't imagine him having the creativity to think up a second face, nor the acting chops to keep it up :) haha

@Loureen~ I'm glad that you at least have somebody who was close to your dad to give you away on your special day. Congrats :)

Mel - posted on 04/17/2011

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Loureen, my mum walked me down the isle. You can always have your mum, a sister or brother? I got told by my celebrant she sees alot of people who have siblings or their mum walk them down the isle

Desiree - posted on 04/16/2011

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I am Catholic and we have the lighting of the candles (I don't know about other churches) but what happens is the mothers from both sides light a candle from either side of the alter then hand it to their respective children, Then the bride and groom lights a center one called a unity candle to symbolise the 2 families becoming one. We keep you Unitiy candle and every year on our anniversary we light it for an hour or so as well on any special days, birth or a child or Christmass. After 14 years come Tuesday mine is sadly depleted I think I will have to get a new one, our has burned down to a stub.

Sherri - posted on 04/16/2011

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Not knocking anyone and I love reading everyone's stories. It is so interesting to read others views and so interesting to me that people wait so long to marry. I didn't even know my husband a year when we married. We were engaged within a month of knowing each other and married 10mo's later in a traditional catholic Cinderella wedding. 13yrs and 3 kids later we are still doing amazing.

Jodi - posted on 04/16/2011

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Both my parents gave me away at my first wedding. It isn't considered traditional, but my mother made a good point "I had to put up with you all these years, at the very least, I should be able to give you away too....". Made me laugh :P.

At my second wedding, no-one gave me away. It was just my husband, myself and our respective children walking down the aisle together.

Stifler's - posted on 04/16/2011

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My father gave me away. When we got to the end my mum had to come up to the altar aswell and give me away. It's actually a bit traditional for the parents of both families to come up after the ceremony bit is over and do the blessing with the pastor but we didn't do that but. I don't think I've ever been to a wedding where no one gave the bride away. If their father had passed away it's their brother or step dad usually. We didn't do the proposing thing though just decided to get married and picked a ring and planned the wedding. It would have been sweet if my husband had asked my father. It kind of disappoints me that he didn't. My parents love Damian but it's a tradition in my family and they are kind of disappointed too.

Johnny - posted on 04/16/2011

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I'm not sure Kelly. Part of our ceremony was included Doukhobor traditions and it was in a Unitarian Universalist church, so we included some of their suggestions too. That is part of where the idea of including our families in our vows came from. But Doukhobor parents traditionally stand with their children during the vows anyway.

Most weddings I've been to lately have had both the bride's parents escorting her down the aisle and responding to the blessing query. Even the more traditional religious ones. Even in one case where the bride's father had passed, the mother and uncle (father's brother) escorted her down the aisle.

Mrs. - posted on 04/16/2011

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No a good friend of mine is a very traditional Jew. I think it might actually be common, or at least at her wedding it happened, for both parents to walk with the bride. They also walked with her in the whole circling thing.

I don't think it is so uncommon.

[deleted account]

I did not realize the tradition was to have only the bride's father walk her down the isle. In our wedding, my husband stood with his parents at the "alter" and my family (mom, dad, and grandparents) walked me down the isle.
So, if only the father of the bride is walking the bride down, is he the only one that responds when the officiant asks for the blessing and support of the union?

In our ceremony, each family takes vows to support the new couple in their union. Is that just a Native American thing? I thought it was more universal....but that might explain why John's family seemed confused. They didn't say anything, but they all seemed odd about something, and I noticed that they did not do that part at his cousin's wedding, but she had a Presbyterian service...that was interesting.

Kori - posted on 04/16/2011

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My father and I don't get along very well but my hubby asked my mom if it was ok :) and my mom walked me down the aisle... I consider my mom one of my best friends so I thought it fitting for her to share that moment with me!

Charlie - posted on 04/16/2011

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We are getting married next year after 6 years together going through some of the hardest things any couple could have faced we are ready to celebrate .

Unfourtunately my Dad passed away last christmas so he wont get to walk me down the "isle " but my godfather and his best friend will be , not as in he is giving me away but more as a transition from one part of my life to the next ....cant wait !

[deleted account]

@Amber, We had been together for 5 years before we married. He is a 2 faced arse though and was very good at hiding it!

Lacye - posted on 04/16/2011

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I think it is pretty sweet if a man asks the father "permission". I don't see it as permission though. I see it more as the man is asking for the parents' blessings. My husband did not ask my father, nor did my father walk me down the isle (which was something I had wanted but we didn't get to have the wedding I wanted because of certain things). Personally, I like some of the old traditions. I think some of them are pretty romantic.

[deleted account]

I can't wait to get married to my man.



After ten years and two daughters later.Through all the ups and downs

Our wedding day is ours.Our friends and family get to share that day with us as we start a new chapter in our lives.

Its so exciting..as long as my man,daughters and myself are happy,,i don't care.

Things will be done our way..nothing will be done to please others.They need to respect that.

If there at the wedding they can be well assured then they mean the world to us.Be happy with that.:-)

Amber - posted on 04/16/2011

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@Shannen~ I think that's one of the reasons why we waited so long to decide on marriage.
Five years in, we've already hit the rough patches and had to figure out a way to get through them. Will more come? I'm sure they will, but now we know that we can get through them...even if it takes a few months or even a year.

Mel - posted on 04/16/2011

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my nanna said to my dad when he married my mum that he wanst right for her and they wouldnt last. They lasted 19 years until us kids were young.

[deleted account]

my father laughed at my ex when he asked (mind you he had a step father to ask as well) he just said "do you what you want its not like she'll listen to me anyway" we never got to the wedding bit thank god

Mel - posted on 04/16/2011

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I dont think it has anything to do with the parents, for starters these days half the parents dont approve of someone their kid is dating. The first time my husbands family and mine for that matter knew we were getting married was when I mentioned some planning stuff on facebook. Nothing to do with anyone else but the couple.

Sherri - posted on 04/16/2011

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In my family, it is disrespectful not to ask the parents of the bride first and yes is an insult if not done. We are from a traditional Catholic upbringing and is how all of us kids are raising our own children. It also was very important to all of us for our father to give us away on our wedding day.

Nikkole - posted on 04/15/2011

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My husband asked me to marry him at 15 lol (we met when i was 13) so he gave me a promise/engagement ring he asked my grandfather for his blessing (my grandpa helped raise me) and he said yes! We got married when i was 18 and my grandpa walked me down the aisle i wanted him to im his little princess and he really loved doing it, we have been married for almost 5yrs and together almost 9yrs :) i think its sweet for the man to ask the father for his blessing kinda romantic, cause now a days teen text each other i love you and don'rt come to the door to pick girls up or open doors for them it seems as time goes on we are loosing the romantic/sweet/thoughtful sides of a relationship

Elfrieda - posted on 04/15/2011

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I was 22 when I got engaged, and my husband went to ask my parents for their blessing. (both of them) I thought it was sweet, and my dad was over the moon. It was the right thing to do for my parents, it showed respect and involved them in one of the biggest decisions of their daughter's life.

Charlie - posted on 04/15/2011

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Well I proposed to Jamie .......and I didnt ask permission haha I like to be uncoventional ;)

[deleted account]

First off it is my hand. My ex asked my father for my hand in marriage. I think it's more a a sweet tradition i never felt as if it was my father giving me away but more of my father saying yes i think you are good enough for my daughter. I don't think if it is skipped that it is a problem at all and it's fully up to the individual's that make that relationship. In hindsight for me it was a load of crap my ex should never have asked if he wouldn't hold strong to that commitment.



@Amber

"My final reason is that I like the idea of saying we're in this together for life. Do we already know that? Yes. But it's nice to actually say it out loud sometimes. It will be nice to celebrate our relationship."

You know i thought the same thing about marriage but apparently my ex didn't feel the same :(

Jodi - posted on 04/15/2011

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We had a good laugh, because technically, my current husband didn't need to go to my parents. My parents gave me away to my ex husband. Soooooo technically, my current husband needed to get my ex huband's permission and my ex husband should have given me away :P



That was worth a good laugh over a few drinks :D

Tah - posted on 04/15/2011

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I think it's romantic and respectful really. I may be grown but I'm still his little girl and he wants the best for me. My husband didn't ask because we were in a different state and it was so quick there wasn't time, I didn't even get a ring until a few days after getting married in the jop. My ex fiancée did ask my dad. My older sister was walked down the aisle by my brother because my daddy married them so he was standing on the gazebo with the groom. My husband regrets not asking, but it would have been nice.

JuLeah - posted on 04/15/2011

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No all brides were asked if the groom was one they wanted. Many women were not/still not given any voice at all. This comes from the time when women were owned by their fathers' and 'sold' to the groom for a bride price.
In our culture today, women are not owned by their fathers, so the father does not have the right to 'give her away' - She is not his, she belongs to herself ... when bringing a new person into the family, I think it is respectful to be mindful of the process, but no permission needs to be asked

Amber - posted on 04/15/2011

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My brother is dying to give me away. He told me that this is his only chance, even though he's been trying since I was born!
I'm still opting to walk alone...but he had a good argument for it haha :)

[deleted account]

My hubby didn't ask my dads permission to marry me but I would have thought it was romantic if he had - I don't see it as anything more than a gesture, it wouldn't have meant that my hubby didn't respect me or my family either way (asking or not).

I guess though I am fairly traditonal with many of my likes, I wanted to be married before I had children, I wanted my dad to walk me down the aisle, I wanted to stay home and look after my children - you get the idea, but I only feel this way for me I have no judgement for women who feel differently on these things or people who choose to do things differently to me.

I actually loved the fact my dad walked me down the aisle and 'gave me away' and it still makes us laugh to this day - my dad walked me down the aisle so quickly because he was nervous I reckon he could have beaten the road runner in a race (blink and you'd have missed me kind of fast lol).

Jenn - posted on 04/15/2011

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I think it all depends on the families involved and their traditions or preference. My Dad is old school. My first husband asked for his blessing, not permission. Dad wasn't too keen on giving that blessing, as I understand why now :) When my now husband proposed,we had both gone through TERRIBLE marriages and divorces and had lived together 3 years. I was 30, a divorcee and thought it ridiculous for him to ask my father's blessing (my parents hated that we lived together). He didn't ask. My dad didn't attend the wedding. POW! Not sure I'll ever get over that completely but 8 years and 2 beautiful children later, our families have mended hearts, for the most part. (His family was VERY upset with my Dad's snubbing of me, which is sweet). Dad and my husband have never spoken of the situation but they have gained a mutual respect and understanding over time. Though I do know that neither will ever apologize for their misdeed :)

[deleted account]

Laura lol i always refered to my man as my partner.I do not now as i read on here its more refered to same sex couples lol..not that i have a problem with gay couples, don't get me wrong.:-)

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