Planning to propose? Etiquette guide explains how to pop the question in the 21st century – and asking permission from future father-in-law is a thing of the past
Proposals are unique to each couple – but there are some traditions that come with the territory.
At least, that was the case until now. The latest edition of the prestigious etiquette manual Debrett’s had indicated that change could be afoot for men (and women) who get down on one knee.
The Debrett’s Handbook Coronation Edition – the first to be published since 2017 – notes that the convention of seeking permission from the prospective father-in-law to propose is “no longer adhered to.”
It also states that proposing is “no longer just the man’s role.”
Described as an entertaining guide to modern manners, the handbook also includes advice for same-sex couples for the first time.
Proposals are unique to each couple – but there are some traditions that come with the territory. Pictured: stock image
It advises that they “may choose to use traditional practices to create their own ritual” around a proposal.
There are also solid rules for posting news of an engagement on social media — and who should be notified in advance of the proposal.
Debrett’s explains, “The parents of both the bride and groom should always be the first to know about an engagement.
‘News should be conveyed in person or at least by telephone as much as possible. Phone calls to the rest of the family, godparents and close friends follow; a round-robin email or text announcing the news is fine for everyone else.
Pictured: The Debrett’s Handbook Coronation Edition
“Then social media and the vine can be relied upon to spread the word, or you can opt for more targeted methods.”
The handbook also makes suggestions for when a prospective groom — or bride — should ask the question.
It says, “IIt is important that the proposal is not made on an occasion where it supersedes another major event, such as the bride-to-be’s graduation or a family wedding.”
‘MMost suitors choose to ask the question calmly.’
Perhaps the most interesting change is the references to asking the future father-in-law’s permission to propose.
Dabrett’s had previously said this was “common” practice.
However, the latest edition states: ‘It was tradition for the man to ask permission from his future father-in-law for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
“This convention is no longer observer, although some men still follow the formality of announcing their intentions to the father or parents of the bride before proposing.”