Travis Barker asks Kris for Kourtney's hand - but should the bride's parents still give 'permission'?

·5 min read
Travis Barker, Kourtney Kardashian are seen kissing on the red carper at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Photo: Jeremy Smith/imageSPACE /MediaPunch /IPX
She said yes. (Getty Images)

Kourtney Kardashian and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker have just got engaged. And while they're not what you'd call a traditional couple, there's one aspect of wed-iquette which was vital to them.

Kourtney's mum, Kris Jenner, revealed on The Ellen de Generes Show that Barker had requested Kris's permission to marry Kourtney, before proposing.

She gave it and the couple got engaged in a Santa Barbara beach hotel three weeks ago. Kris, 65, called her daughter's fiancé a 'sweetheart', and added, “I’m so excited; he was really cute, he did that [proposal] all on his own.” 

Watch: Kourtney Kardashian posts topless images that fiancé Travis Barker took on their engagement night on Instagram

Barker arranged for a heart-shaped circle of roses and candles on the beach, and presented Kardashian with a $1million diamond ring. Of course, it was all captured for the Kardashian's reality show. 

“They’re so happy. They can’t wait," added Jenner.

“Kourtney and Travis, they really are made for each other. They’re the cutest couple, they’re so in love and, you know, they let us know they’re so in love. Constantly," she added, referring to their very public displays of affection.

While asking your intended's mum for permission (Kourtney's dad, lawyer Robert Kardashian, died in 2003) is cute, it's traditionally the father who's asked - but isn't it somewhat out-dated?

Steve Martin walking down the aisle with Kimberly Williams-Paisley in a scene from the film 'Father Of The Bride'. (Photo by Touchstone/Getty Images)
Steve Martin in 'Father Of The Bride'. Controlling. (Photo by Touchstone/Getty Images)

Read more: Twitter praises 'beautiful couple' who got engaged in KFC

Traditionally, a groom-to-be would smarten himself up and visit the father of the bride to ask permission, while the judgmental dad quizzed him about his prospects. Steve Martin starred in the film Father Of The Bride in 1991, a remake of a 1950 film, in which he plays a man wildly possessive of his daughter and unwilling to 'give her away' - at the time it was a comedy, but now the character might be seen as something of a toxic, controlling presence.

In the new Channel 5 adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small, young vet James Herriot also asks girlfriend Helen's father's permission - but it's set in 1937, and in those days, when women were less likely to work, fathers wanted to know their daughters and grandchildren would be provided for after their own death. 

All Creatures Great and Small: Series 2 - Episode 1
Left: Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton)
Right: James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) Photographer: Matt Squire / Playground Television (UK).
Helen doesn't look too sure. (Channel 5)

As attitudes change, then, is 'asking permission' still something worth doing? Or is it simply an outdated idea that a bride is a man's 'property' to be exchanged in return for money or status? 

A survey by www.thestagcompany.com in 2019, asked men, would you ask your partner’s father before proposing? A huge 58% said they would. 

Many modern brides, however, aren't keen on being discussed over a manly cigar. 

Watch: Pop the question overlooking NYC skyline with this new Empire State Building proposal package

"I told my husband before we were engaged that he was NOT to ask my father's permission", says Kate Hall, an agricultural valuer. "If he was going to ask me to marry him, I wanted to be first to know. Also, it was never going to be up to Dad whether we got married or not!"

But while many feminist Generation X brides rail against the idea, Millennials and Gen Z-ers may be swinging back to a more traditional approach. 

"I wish you hadn't said yes, Dad..." (Getty Images)
"I wish you hadn't said yes, Dad..." (Getty Images)

Wedding celebrant Toni Frost says: "Asking permission is still popular and even the most modern Millennials will often seek a number of traditional aspects to their day. 

"Couples often still seek to uphold a number of traditional values whilst seeking some modern twists. For example lots want to walk up the aisle with their Dad or a nominated person. Many want to follow a traditional format but with personal twists and touches," she goes on. 

Read more: Last night's Emmy's proposal was epic, but public proposals aren't for everyone

"With Celebrant led weddings they are able make the ceremony their own and the script is bespoke to them with symbolic aspects if they choose that route. The crux of this aspect is that brides are on the whole romantic and the act of asking a parent for her hand is a romantic action for most."

She explains, "My daughter's husband asked me 3 weeks before he proposed - he's 35 and she's 28. When he proposed and she rang me in happy tears, she said, 'I guess you know, don't you, Mum' so she expected that he would have asked us, and she was thrilled that he had asked both her father and me, as we divorced 22 years ago."

"Look, fair warning son, she's already been divorced seven times..." (Getty Images)
"Look, fair warning son, she's already been divorced seven times..." (Getty Images)

"I'm sure that there are many that don't ask in these modern times, particularly if they live together but it's still considered a very beautiful and respectful thing to do."

Stacey Koks, owner of Navy Tux Events, adds, "men definitely do still ask for permission or make their intentions known to either dad or the main parent," although she adds, "it feels less like ‘permission’ these days and more a sign of respect for the parents. Quite a sweet tradition to keep!"

Sticking with ritual and doing things 'properly' is still important for many couples.

"I’m a wedding stationer and can tell you it is still seen as good etiquette to get the permission of the father of the bride," says Kal Osahan, of Quint London wedding stationery. 

"So many of my couples even ask me about the correct wording on their invitations and whose names should go first. They really do care."

Watch: Travis Barker gets tattoo of Kourtney Kardashian's lips

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