Asking Dad First…It’s Still the Thing to Do

Call us old fashioned…but the tradition of the guy coming to his girlfriend’s dad and asking for her hand in marriage, well, as outdated as you may think that sounds…we still like the idea! After all, this is a big step. It’s more than just dating. It’s a commitment. A lifetime commitment. And no matter how close your future husband is to your parents, and/or your dad in particular, we can guarantee, that almost always, the guy is going to be nervous!

Sure, dad always tries to put forth that “no guy is ever going to be good enough for MY daughter” attitude. He jokes around that he’s always got the shotgun ready. He talks about buying a t-shirt that has some saying on it about “50 reasons for not dating my daughter”. He probably even has one of the humorous “application to date my daughter” papers that someone gave him when his little girl was old enough to start dating…you know, the one that asks the guy if he has life insurance, if he’s ever been arrested, if he plans on getting her home every night at 8:00, and ends with “I’ll let you know if your application has been approved in ten years or so!”
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Yeah. That’s her dad. And since you love her more than anything and want to marry her, well, you have to go to him and ask HIS permission. Asking her might be easier. Because you’re fairly sure she’ll say YES! Dad may be a different story.

Before we go any further, yes we know that times are different now. There are lots of cases where she lives with her mom, rather than her mom and dad. Dad may or may not be in her life. Or if he is, he may live out of town and you may never have even met him. (In which case, a trip out of town may definitely be in order! With your soon-to-be fiancée of course!) Or dad may have passed away, and her mom is the one you have to talk to. Or maybe an uncle or a stepdad.

Gets a bit complicated here, doesn’t it?

Bottom line is, unless there’s a really, REALLY good reason…there’s almost always someone that she looks up to whose permission you should get before you propose! Not only are you making the first of many public statements of how you feel about her by asking permission to marry her, you’re also showing your respect. And believe me, even though you may think it’s not that important, trust us…it is. And it also establishes the tone for your new relationship. You’re no longer going to be regarded as that boy who’s dating his daughter. You’re going to be a family member. A son-in-law as well as a husband! You’re taking on a whole new responsibility.
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So what’s the best way and time to do this? Definitely BEFORE you propose to her. There’s that asking permission thing. Just be sure that she has the same feelings that you do! Because you don’t want to get her dad’s permission, and then find out SHE has no desire to marry you! But that situation is few and far between, as the saying goes.

Having recently gone through this, we do have some good advice for any young man who’s made up his mind that he’s going to propose. (And let me add one part here…our future son-in-law Chris did everything the right way – we were out of town on vacation, and he drove over an hour to get to where we were staying to ask Ben’s permission, even though we were coming back the next day! He’d made up his mind, and already had the ring, so he wanted to make sure all the pieces were in place, even though the actual proposal was some two weeks away!)

So you’re scared? Nervous? Don’t be. Well, if you haven’t been around her dad a lot, we can sort of understand your being a bit apprehensive, but still… And by all means, don’t do it over the phone or by text message or email! Don’t tweet it or post a message on Facebook to him! Unless you’re on two different continents, and there are no plans to be together any time soon, well, in that case you can hook up your Skype and do it that way!

You need to do this face to face. Eyeball to eyeball. In private. You don’t want an audience. This is one of the most important conversations you’re going to have. And guess what. You have to start the dialogue, because chances are, her dad is going to know immediately why you’re there! And he’s going to wait until YOU start talking, because he wants to maintain that last bit of control that he’s getting ready to lose.
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You may have rehearsed what you’re going to say a hundred times in your own mind. But guess what…when it’s time to actually say those words to your future father-in-law, you may forget everything you’d planned to say. Which is fine. Because you really need to speak from your heart. This is the time to tell him how much you love his daughter, and how sure you are that you want to spend the rest of your life with her. And if you stumble over the words, well, that’s ok, too.

Your heart is what’s important. And trust me, he’s going to know where your heart is as soon as you start talking. And he’s going to keep picturing that little girl playing dress up, while you’re picturing your future wife walking down the aisle in her wedding dress! Two totally separate pictures!

Chances are by the time you’ve said all that, you’re finally going to be able to breathe again, because you probably won’t be breathing too well when you start the conversation.

Then you have to wait for his answer. And please be sure you actually ASK for his permission to marry his daughter. Because if you don’t ask the question, how can he give you his answer???!

Now you also have to remember there are a lot of things going through HIS mind as well! (And possibly one day you’ll be on the opposite end of this conversation!) He’s realizing that his baby isn’t a baby or a child any more. He automatically thinks about all the days with her when HE was her main guy! That’s sort of hard to take as a dad…or a mom. And there are a lot of thoughts in his head that he doesn’t know how to deal with either. And I don’t mean thinking about paying for a wedding, because that’s the last thing on his mind at that point!
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Bottom line…this is the time you and your future father-in-law really start to connect. Forget all the stereotypes you see in the movies, like where the dad yells and throws the guy out of the house, or threatens to have him disappear, or says something sarcastic like “I hope this time she actually goes through with it, instead of dumping you at the last minute like she did the other guys, because I think I actually like you!”

As much as you imagine in your mind all the bad ways this could go…it won’t. You’ll be fine. Her dad will be fine. Just be sure you make him promise not to say anything to his daughter until you actually get up your nerve to ask her!

Photo Sources: 1st Row: 2nd Row: miabridalcouture.blogspot- 3rd Row: 4th Row:; – 5th Row: via tumblr

Dad’s Idea of Buying a Wedding Gown

Not to pick on poor ol’ dad, but let’s face it! Sometimes they don’t see things like moms and their daughters do. Especially when it comes to wedding gown shopping! Not that I’m picking on anyone in particular, you understand…..but if the shoe fits…!

As soon as our bride-to-be (I just like that term!) got her engagement ring, we started talking about wedding gown shopping. We’d look at all the stores here locally, then venture up to Williamsburg, and then on to Richmond, and then probably the Washington, DC and Baltimore areas….oh yeah, we were going to make this THE shopping trip of a lifetime!
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We’d take some of the bridesmaids with us on each shopping trip. Of course! Part of their job is helping, isn’t it? And they also have to pick out some bridesmaid dress styles. Oh, yes, I envisioned all of these shopping excursions! Isn’t that a HUGE part of the fun of working with brides? Especially when it’s your own daughter!

Dad just didn’t understand all that. Or so he said.

His first suggestion…since one of our daughter’s best friends got married last year, and they’re the same size, he naturally figured that HER wedding dress would be perfect for Ashley to wear! After all, it’s only been worn once!

Really? Seriously here?

Yes, they’re the same size. Yes, her dress was beautiful. However….her friend is her Matron of Honor. Some of the same guests are attending Ashley’s wedding as attended Shadoe’s. And whether or not they remember the dress, well, it just wouldn’t be quite the same. That’s carrying “something borrowed” just a bit too far! (I do know there are brides who’ve happily done that, but this is not going to happen here.) We’ve actually heard for the past eight months or more about how she can wear her friend’s dress!

It’s not happening, Dad. Get over it! Move on!

Well, he did move on. Next idea was a consignment shop. “They’ve only been worn once. No one will know.” He may or may not have been serious. Then he went on to explain how she could get a $1,500 dress for probably a couple of hundred. And no one would recognize that one, because none of us would know where it came from!

“Really, dad? So you want me to wear someone else’s dress, who might have worn it and then gotten divorced so she’s selling it to make money? Maybe Chris should’ve gotten my ring at a consignment shop!”

Aha! Dad liked that idea and threatened to tell Chris, so he could exchange the ring he’d already given her. Not a wise move. (Dad just hasn’t learned the finer points of negotiating about wedding gowns. You’d think the husband of a wedding planner would MAYBE know a little better….?)

He even suggested that she could RENT a dress. After all, the groomsmen are renting their tuxes! (And up until a few weeks ago I didn’t know there was a place here locally where you could actually do that!) Then you can just return it afterwards. Sometimes he doesn’t know when to give up.

Then he saw a show on TV about a bride-to-be getting her dress at a pawn shop! There was this back room, and there were a bunch of wedding gowns on sale for $99. He was absolutely enthralled! And when the bride-to-be ended up getting her dress for only $49 because it was stained with beer and she had to get it cleaned, well…that just started him off again! Not to mention that the rest of the show dealt with having the ceremony on a basketball court and the reception dinner being twinkies and grilled cheese sandwiches. The whole wedding cost under $500. You could just see the wheels turning….

Should I even mention that he also suggested Ashley could wear the wedding gown I’ve had in storage since 1972? It’s not quite her style, since it’s long sleeves and lacy and heavy and well…a bit dated. But isn’t that why we have them preserved? For our daughters to wear for their weddings?
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Fortunately, as you can imagine, our bride-to-be ended up going shopping with me and several of her bridesmaids and found her dress. Her never-worn NEW dress. Unfortunately for me, though, we only went to two stores before she found THE one!

Which has been ordered. And is now ready to be picked up. (But as one of dad’s friends told him…don’t worry, if it hasn’t been altered yet, you can still convince her to return it!)

Sorry, Dad. But I did like the look on your face when she tried it on when we went to pick it up. Aren’t you glad you let her get what SHE wanted?

And isn’t she going to be a beautiful bride?

NOTE: There’s nothing wrong with getting your dress at a consignment shop, borrowing from a friend, or even renting it! Lots of brides happily do that, for various reasons. It’s what YOU want to do. Because it’s YOUR wedding!

Photo Sources: 1st Row: Blackburn Bridal Couture – London – 2nd Row: Personal Files – 3rd Row: 4th Row: – 5th Row: Personal Files

Adventures of a Dad at a Bridal Show

As you can very well imagine, as a part-time wedding planner, I’ve attended many, many bridal shows. Some as an exhibitor or to visit other exhibitors, and others with my brides!

A few weeks ago I actually attended one with someone who’s never been to a bridal show before. That would be my husband, the man who’s writing the checks for our daughter’s upcoming wedding! She was sick and I casually asked if he’d like to join me, and he said yes!

Hopefully not an up and coming Father-of-the-Bride “zilla”. He’s been good so far!

And yes, it was quite an adventure, because I never ever thought that almost every booth we stopped at where they didn’t know me, they’d ask us when we were getting married! Really? Well, I guess considering there weren’t many men there other than exhibitors and a few young grooms who seemed to have rather been anywhere but at a bridal show, well, maybe they were thinking they had a great opportunity for a big sale!

We probably should have started going along with them and seeing what they had to say! But we’ll leave that for another time.

If you’ve never taken a guy to a bridal show, much less your husband of almost thirty years, it really is an adventure of sorts. Especially when the first thing he does is ask the ladies at the Maya Couture Bridal booth if they have camouflage vests available with their tux rentals, because he and his future son-in-law want to wear them, even though his daughter doesn’t even want to consider it! (Of course they did, and of course that’s the first thing he said to Ashley when we got home, just so he could start something with her!)camo vest

He did like the Ice Art sculpture display and decided our bride and groom needed an ice sculpture deer rather than the carved marlin they’ve already decided on. Yes, our future son-in-law is a hunter; my husband isn’t. That isn’t stopping him! (Somehow hunting and a beach theme don’t go together too well!)

On to more vendors…fortunately he walked past the photographers since that’s already handled, but then he found the DJ booth. By the time we were through with that discussion (even though we later booked these DJ’s because of how much we all liked them!), he’d already planned part of their playlist to include Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” and Blake Shelton’s “The Boys ‘Round Here”. With a bit of Toby’s “Trailerhood” thrown in for good measure! And since these DJ’s are known for their signature hats, he’s already planned to give them camo hatbands to wear….

Time for the bridal fashion show event now. (Getting him away from the vendor booths! Before he found the wedding cake display and inquired about a camo wedding cake!)

At most bridal shows there’s about half an hour of entertainment before the actual event, and of course this was no exception. Ben had never experienced the “before show” show, and he thoroughly enjoyed watching as the DJ’s selected some unsuspecting brides to go onstage and dance to some of the more popular reception songs. (Some of them were actually rather good!) And he really enjoyed their version of “The Newlywed Game”, especially when one of the DJ’s came offstage and asked the audience to ask questions, and he got to ask one!

Of course the highlight of the event for him was when they brought up some of the grooms on stage to dance! One of the “volunteers” was a gentleman probably in his late 60’s, dressed very casually in his jeans and t-shirt, and going by the name of…what else…”Junior”! Well, Junior was amazing, and easily won the contest against all the younger guys. I actually thought Ben was going to try and introduce himself to him, and see if he wanted to talk about adding camo to HIS wedding!

I have to say, though, the hubby really enjoyed the fashion show, and was actually looking at each dress trying to figure out whether Ashley would like it or not. And wondering why they didn’t give the prices out….

And, the highlight of the show was at the end when all of the models came out carrying their bouquets, and tossed them into the audience! Guess who caught one! No, not Ben…but I did! That was a first!WIth Bouquet

So…since we’re already married…maybe that calls for a vow renewal ceremony? And Ben can have his camo for that!

What are YOUR thoughts?