Parental Marriage Veto

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"I wish my daughter had never met you!"

Mr. James Wong, Stranglehold, during the final showdown.

"If you were ordered (by your father) to finish me off, feel free to keep trying. I’ll just avoid your attacks while staying in love. Wait, actually that feels more like true love!"

Claire Stanfield, Baccano! (Light Novel 1933 period)

You are a grown adult. You've found your true love, and he or she loves you back. You want to get married. Everything's great, right? Wrong! Your parents are convinced that you've picked the wrong person, and will do almost anything to prevent the marriage.

This is different than an Arranged Marriage. Your parents don't want the right to pick your spouse. They just want to veto your choice.

Maybe your true love is penniless, or is in a lower social class. Maybe your true love is of the "wrong" race, religion, ethnicity, or gender. Or maybe his or her family is somehow disreputable. Or maybe your parents just don't like your true love. (Especially if they have a Betty they prefer to your chosen Veronica.)

But all is not lost. If you and your true love can stay true to each other, and be persistent, your parents will eventually notice your true love's good qualities, and will change their minds. Alternately, you may hear the words "I Have No Son" (or daughter, depending) addressed to you in no uncertain terms.

Other times, it will turn out that they were wise to delay things, and you can come to your senses in time.

If you are in a Fairy Tale or a Fantasy story, your parents may give your true love an Engagement Challenge.

In extreme cases, your parents will be not be above Offing the Offspring. You may have to fight in order to be together.

Even though most people in the western world choose their own spouses, this isn't a Dead Horse Trope. It can still appear in historical fiction, fantasy, in stories not set in the western world, or in any story where parents believe that they have a right to meddle in their grown children's lives. Contrast Child Marriage Veto.

Examples of Parental Marriage Veto include:

Anime and Manga

  • An episode of Planetes inverted this when it turned out that Edel had to stay away from her husband for five years to prevent her parents from vetoing their divorce.
  • Happens more than once on Maison Ikkoku. One is in the Backstory, where Kyoko's parents objected to her marriage to her former teacher Soichiro, another is at the end, where Kyoko's father again objects to Godai's impending proposal. He gets over it in the end. A minor one is Godai's cousin, who ends up deciding to elope. Her father catches on and decides that if she and her boyfriend are willing to elope, then he'll give his blessing.
  • In the original Gundam series, Garma Zabi believes that his father will try and pull this trope on him and becomes desperate to find a way to force him to accept. Possibly subverted, as Garma was Degwin's favored son and it's doubtful the old man could have refused him anything.
    • It's then played straight in the case of Iserina Eschenbach, Garma's sweetheart. Her father was a rabid Zeon hater, after all.
  • Ai Yori Aoshi has Aoi and Kaoru's childhood Arranged Marriage being canceled, due to his leaving the abusive Hanabishis. As a young adult, Aoi sets off to find him, leading to their reacquaintance and later decision to override the veto.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Eva is very vociferous about her rejection of her son, George's, love for Shannon, a Meido who works for the Ushiromiya family's main house.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Nadeshiko falls in love with her teacher, and her parents disown her when she marries him after graduation. They disapproved of him partly because of their age difference and mostly because he wasn't rich like them, thus either feared he was a Gold Digger or disliked his lower social class. Years later, Sonomi still hates Fujitaka. (although in Sonomi's case, it's less that he's older and poorer and more that he took her beloved cousin away from her.)
    • A whole episode of the anime is dedicated to actually fixing this, with Nadeshiko's grandfather Masaaki apologizing to Fujitaka for the Amamiya family's shabby treatment of him. And Fujitaka forgives him.
  • In Aishite Night, Overprotective Dad Shige forbids his daughter Yakko from marrying her rock-star boyfriend Go when they wonder if they should get married as soon as he returns from the USA. When they persevere, Shige finally gives in.
  • Brutally used in a Detective Conan case in which the Jerkass father of a rich girl not only forbids his daughter from marrying her pianist boyfriend, but he stomps on the pianist's hand and breaks it, which ruins his career. The poor piano man commits suicide and the daughter runs away from the family. And the new family butler, who was the pianist's dad, kills the old man.
    • Used earlier when a diplomat with a shady past has a Freak-Out over seeing a photo of his son's girlfriend, the daughter of the old rival he sent to jail on false testimony... and of his second wife, the poor guy's stepmom. Even better/worse/whatever: said second wife/the girl's estranged mom had no idea of her second hubby's Uriah Gambit until then - and once she found out, she killed said husband.
  • In Final Approach Ryo learns late in the show that this is why his fiance was given to him at the start of the story. His grandmother and her grandfather were once in love but were torn apart by her grandfather's family for being from a poor family. He relented to his family's wish and married another woman. It turns out the entire setup for the series is her grandfather using his tremendous wealth to create a situation where his granddaughter can marry the grandson of the woman he lost to Parental Marriage Veto.

Fan Works

  • The first words Megatron ever says to Sarah in 'Shadows Of The Past' are along the lines of "Break up with Will or die."
  • Tuxedo Mask utterly fails to impress Ranma Saotome, the reincarnated Queen Serenity, when they first meet in the Ranma ½/Sailor Moon crossover fic Heir to the Empire, and his rose attack reminds Ranma entirely too much of Kuno. When Ranma finds out that he's Usagi's fiancee, her immediate response is "Not anymore he ain't." (She does relent by the end of the story, though.)


  • In The Lord of the Rings movies, Elrond tries to keep his daughter Arwen from marrying Aragorn, since this would require her to give up her elven immortality. Unlike most examples of this trope, he makes a very sound and very logical argument against it, and has no actual quarrel with Aragorn. Emotionally, he wants his daughter to be happy, but he understands the consequences, and he wakes her up to reality. She marries him anyway, and accepts the consequences.
  • Bend It Like Beckham is set in present-day England. The groom's Sikh parents try to break his engagement because the bride's younger sister has joined a women's football team and has been seen hugging a 'boy' in public (the 'boy' is Keira Knightley).
  • Meet the Parents centers around this. Although technically they are not yet engaged and Ben Stiller is just trying to preemptively win their approval so this trope won't come up when he proposes/asks for permission to propose.
  • In It Happened One Night, Ellen's father is trying to annul her marriage to King Westley. Of course, this turns out to be moot after Ellen meets Peter, who is played by Clark Gable.
  • In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye finds himself increasingly tested by his daughters' choices of husbands. For each daughter, he debates the positive and negative qualities of each husband, contrasting their poverty and low caste with the love each feels for his daughters. Although he eventually agrees to Motel (a tailor) and Perchik (a wandering teacher/vagabond/communist), he can't condone Chava's marriage to Fyedka, a non-Jew, and disowns her.

"But on the other hand... No! There are no more hands!"

  • In the Bollywood film Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham, adopted son Rahul marries Anjali against his father's wishes and is disowned. The father's main objection against Anjali - implied, rather than specifically stated - is that she is Muslim and not Hindu, and therefore cannot understand and carry on the family's honored traditions. Also an example of I Have No Son.
  • Letters to Juliet: this was the reason the romance stopped in 1957.
  • In Shrek 2, Fiona has already married Shrek, and the king tries to get rid of him, partly because he doesn't approve on his own and partly because Fairy Godmother is manipulating him to put her own son Prince Charming on the throne.
  • This is essentially what Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is all about.
  • Something New: Its made pretty clear that Kenya's mother would disapprove of a relationship with Brian. Her father gives his support to her unconditionally, however, giving her the strength to pursue their relationship.
  • Psycho IV has shown Norman Bates disapproved his mother of being engaged to Chet Rudolph. This results him murdering the both of them.
  • In Scarface, Manny and Gina are married behind Tony's back. When he finds that out right after he kills Manny, he finds regret for it.
  • The Godfather Part III: Although Vincent and Mary are cousins and didn't get married, Michael shows disapprove of their relationship because it would endanger his daughter. When Vincent becomes the new head of the family, he tells him the price: give up his relationship with his daughter.
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, McLean tells Angel she can't confess her love to Freckles for fear of her father's disapproval. She assures him afterwards that Freckles would not take her even with her father's consent, owing to his fear of disgracing her.
  • 2 States revolves around Krish and Ananya, a Punjabi man and a Tamil woman, trying to convince their parents to approve their marriage after a first encounter where their respective regional idiosyncrasies clashed caused each pair of parents to veto their children's partner. Ananya's parents are relatively easy to convince; Krish's, less so.


  • Many of Anthony Trollope's novels contain this trope.
    • In Doctor Thorne, Frank Gresham's parents don't want him to wed Mary Thorne, who is illegitimate and poor. However, illegitimate and rich is fine.
    • In Framley Parsonage, Lady Lufton doesn't want her son to marry Lucy Robarts, whose brother has become involved in someone else's financial scandal. But mainly because she doesn't think Lucy's is 'significant' enough (character-wise) to be the wife of such an important man.
    • In The Last Chronicle of Barset, Major Grantly wants to marry Grace Crawley. The Major's father is appalled at this, because Grace's father has been accused of forgery and theft.
    • In The Duke's Children, the Duke of Omnium is trying to stop two marriages. His daughter wants to marry a poor man. His eldest son wants to marry an American.
    • In The Way We Live Now, Lady Carbury is trying to prevent her daughter from marrying Paul Montague, who is apparently already engaged to an American widow.
  • JRR Tolkien's Middle-Earth:
    • In The Silmarillion, Thingol doesn't want his daughter Lúthien to marry the mortal Beren. While he doesn't know at the time that that would eventually result in her choosing to become mortal, he had premonitions of Doom around the whole matter. So he set Beren an impossible task to get rid of him (breaking into Angband and stealing a Silmaril), no doubt hoping he'd give up or die, which of course completely backfired in horrible ways for generations to come. (Don't mess with the Silmarils. Seriously.)
    • In The Lord of the Rings, when Elrond (Beren and Lúthien's immortal great-grandson) finds out that his daughter Arwen and his mortal adopted/foster son Aragorn are in love, he sets down what seems to be a impossible set of restrictions on their marriage: Sauron must be vanquished, Aragorn must unite the ancient kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor and become High King over them. This puts a great deal of stress on Elrond and Aragorn's relationship, but when Aragorn helps fulfill every single one of these conditions, Elrond allows the marriage to happen and Love Conquers All. Those nearly impossible tasks had the bonus effect of ensuring Middle-Earth would at least theoretically be habitable for them and their descendants.
  • The A-plot of every Blandings Castle book by PG Wodehouse, to the point where Wodehouse himself had his own names for all the character tropes involved. The "parent" was always one of his governess sisters, and the resolution almost invariably ended with the Hon. Galahad Threepwood (or sometimes Uncle Fred) blackmailing said sister into letting the marriage through, generally using an element of the B-plot.
    • The trope tended to turn up regularly in Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories as well.
    • There was a Lampshade Hanging in at least one book where a writer character said something like, "He forbids the marriage? I couldn't use that in a story nowadays!"
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the Dowager Marchioness (basically "queen mother") of the Sun family subverts this trope by blessing the marriage of her daughter to Liu Bei, then upbraiding her son Sun Quan and his right-hand man Zhou Yu (son-in-law of the State Patriarch who also supports the marriage) for plotting to kill the groom, since after word got out it would make her daughter unweddable (in a "what man who want her now?" kind of way).
  • Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey uses this as the Backstory and a running plot thread: when Agnes's mother chose to marry a poor parson, she was disowned by her father (despite annual visits with her daughters to her childhood home, they never even saw him); after Mr. Grey's death she receives a letter from her father telling her she can come back and her daughters will be heiresses if she will just say that she regrets marrying. All three Grey women (she would have done it had her daughters wanted the money) tell him to go to hell.
  • In Little Women, Aunt March tries to do this to Meg when she wants to marry John Brooke, a poor Englishman and Laurie's tutor. It backfires, rousing Meg's anger and turning her reluctant 'no' into a defiant 'yes.'
    • In Jo's Boys, Meg won't let Daisy marry Nat because—besides his being an ex-homeless nobody—Meg (a widow by this point) doesn't think the sensitive, very young and inexpert musician will be able to man up and provide for Daisy. However, when he returns to the States after two years' European study, an established violinist with a steady income and excellent future prospects, Meg relents. The beard he grows in the meanwhile helps.
  • Jane Austen really loves this trope. Then, it was the law of the land in her day, unless you escaped to Scotland.
  • Somewhat subverted in Anne Fine's Fly in the Ointment. The parents disapprove of the match and upset/insult their daughter by not coming to the wedding. The father is a petty tyrant who the daughter is glad to ignore. However, she soon concludes that they were right to dislike her husband and if they had not upset her so much by missing the wedding she soon would have run home to them.
  • In the second Apprentice Adept trilogy: Stile and Lady Blue object to Bane (or rather his Photon doppelgänger, Mach in Bane's body marrying Fleta the unicorn. Not for any species hangups but because Fleta wouldn't be able to provide an heir to the title of Blue Adept. Since this was a case of Reason Before Honor in a Piers Anthony work, this bites the good guys hard in the ass later.
  • Sorta used in Andersen's The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweep. The Chinaman isn't the Shepherdess's father for obvious reasons (they're porcelain figurines), but he still wants her to "marry" the mahogany satyr instead of the chimneysweep she fancies.
  • A fact of life in Funny Boy. One character was completely cut off from her family for marrying outside her ethnic group. Radha's parents and siblings definitely act as though this power is a given, and although Radha is willing to defy them, this is a very serious decision.
  • Elsie Dinsmore's father vetoes two proposals. The first is from a sickly childhood friend; Horace is afraid he won't reach twenty-one (and he doesn't). The second is from a con man after her inheritance. Elsie honors her father's wishes both times and ends up marrying the man who exposed the second candidate as a drunk and gambler.
  • In the Agatha Christie novel The Murder on the Links, Paul Renauld forbids his son Jack from marrying Marthe Dubriel, and cuts him out of his will. It transpires that Marthe is the murderous daughter of a blackmailing murderess, so he had a point.
    • Another Agatha Christie example comes from the Miss Marple novel A Pocket Full of Rye. Rex Fortescue threatens to cut off his daughter Elaine without a cent if she marries the Communist Gerald Wright. Elaine would have married him anyway, but Gerald was only interested in Elaine for her money and promptly dumped her. At least until Rex died, leaving Elaine a large amount of money...
  • The Lord Darcy story "A Matter of Gravity" by Randell Garrett. Count de la Vexin forbids his son from marrying the daughter of his chief guardsman. The Count's daughter believes that because he is a "psychically blind" rationalist, he is incapable of recognising or understanding True Love. As in Murder on the Links, which may have inspired this, he actually recognises the woman is a nasty peice of work, and gets murdered by her.
  • In George Eliot's Silly Novels by Lady Novelists, one novel has a mother ready to Curse her son because her marriage plans are not obeyed until his true love tells her that she will not, in fact, marry him without her blessing.
  • In David Copperfield, David's boss Mr. Spenlow isn't thrilled when he shows interest in his daughter Dora. (It's not helped by the intervention of Jane Murdstone either.) And in the same chapter, Spenlow dies in an accident.
  • Part of the backstory in Kathryn Hulme's The Nun's Story. Gabrielle/Sister Luke's much-adored father refuses to let her marry her longtime boyfriend, Jean, because he fears that insanity runs in Jean's family. It's one of the reasons, although not the only one, that she takes vows.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained, Prospero explains that he forbade Ferdinand to Miranda in hopes of getting her to defy him.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, though he and Virginia can marry without it, von Horn knows he must either get Professor Maxon's consent, or have him murdered to prevent his changing his will.
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's A Daughter of the Land, the Bates sons were too intimidated to marry without this, except Adam. The father's technique was to give them farms, but keep the title himself.

Adam was the one son of the seven who had ignored his father's law that all of his boys were to marry strong, healthy young women, poor women, working women. Each of the others at coming of age had contracted this prescribed marriage as speedily as possible, first asking father Bates, the girl afterward. If father Bates disapproved, the girl was never asked at all.


Live-Action TV

  • One plotline of That '70s Show had Eric and Donna planning to get married just after high school. Red is completely opposed to the idea and does everything in his power to dissuade Eric from going through with it, including threatening to not pay for Eric's college education and convincing others of not hiring Eric in part-time jobs. Eric persists and says that he's going to marry Donna no matter what Red does. Eventually Red gives his blessing and reveals that his obstruction was a Secret Test of Character for Eric.
  • In Waterloo Road, Tom is unhappy that Chlo wants to marry Donte. When she goes off to a registry office in secret to do it, he arrives, does the I Object thing (at the right time) then discovers he can't stop the marriage. He is not her legal guardian, her absent father has agreed to it (she's under 18, so he has to under UK law) and her mother is too dead to object, by virtue of having been murdered at the end of the previous season. Tom has now accepted the whole thing and the couple (having gone through a brief break-up) now intend to do the proper White Wedding thing.
  • In one episode of House, a married couple had assumed the parental veto was because of the father's apparently racist tendencies, and eloped anyway. It's much squickier than that.
  • In Mork and Mindy, Mindy's father is dead set against Mindy marrying Mork from Ork, citing practical considerations such as how Orkans age backwards. Eventually, he comes around and gives his blessing.
  • Jeeves and Wooster used this all the time. Sometimes they had to get past this, at others they were accidentally or reluctantly engaged and went to some lengths to ensure that the parents vetoed the marriage. There's also the time Aunt Agatha forbade her brother to marry someone, though they got around it by running away from her.
  • More or less every Korean Drama ever:
  • One episode of Everybody Loves Raymond dealt with this. Robert tried to propose to his girlfriend, but asked for her parents permission first just out of respect. Given he's just doing this as a formality, he's shocked when they say "No." When he goes ahead with the proposal anyway, which is very romantic and gets an enthusiastic "yes" from the bride-to-be, he's slightly distraught when she asks, "I know it's just a formality, but could you go to my father and ask for his blessing?"
  • In Boy Meets World's 6th season opener, Cory and Topanga want to get married after she proposed to him at their high school graduation. Everyone thinks they have eloped, though they didn't actually go through with it. Their families tries to fake being happy for them until Cory's mother reveals that she's completely against it ("This is a mistake, and I do not support it. Why couldn't you [Topanga] have just gone to Yale?") This leads to awkwardness when they reveal they hadn't gone through with it, and wish to know why exactly it would have been a mistake.
  • On Married... with Children, one of Kelly's "loves" asks Al for "his hand in daughter-marriage". Al responds with a one-punch veto.
  • In Lost, Desmond gets harshly, brutally put down when he asks Mr. Widmore for his permission to marry Penny.
  • A bit of a retroactive one in CSI, with Betty Grissom upset because Gil didn't marry Julia and did marry Sara and because of their Long-Distance Relationship.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • Older Than Dirt: The Egyptian air god Shu tried to prevent his son and daughter, Geb and Nut (earth and sky), from marrying each other and having kids. In another version, the sun god Re tried to prevent their marriage. Either way, it didn't work, and Geb and Nut became the parents of Wesiri/Osiris, Aset/Isis, Sutakh/Set, Nebet-hut/Nephthys, and maybe Haruw/Horus the Elder. Nonetheless, Shu still holds them apart.


  • Shakespearean examples:
    • A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare—Egeus wants his daughter Hermia to marry Demetrius rather than Lysander, the man she loves.
    • Subverted in The Tempest: Prospero seems to vehemently disapprove of his daughter Miranda's budding romance with Prince Ferdinand, only to reveal that he had them pegged for each other all along and that his disapproval was a Secret Test of Character mixed with Genre Savvy.
    • Possibly subverted in Romeo and Juliet. Both the Capulets and the Montagues seem to be a lot more comfortable with the idea of marrying across the feud lines than either Romeo or Juliet give them credit for. Of course, they didn't need the Montagues' permission, because Romeo was both an adult and male, so his parents had no grounds at all to mess with his marriage anyway even if they didn't like it. The one who did have a problem with it, however, was Tybalt, who hated the Montagues anyway and was pissed about Romeo entering the party despite the prohibition. Not to mention Paris, to whom Juliet was arranged to be married.
    • In Two Gentlemen of Verona, Sylvia's father goes so far as to banish Valentine when he learns that they're in love. Admittedly they're trying to elope at the time...
    • A variation in The Taming of the Shrew: Bianca's father will not allow her to get married, not due to any objections with her suitors, but because he swore not to let her marry until her older sister Katherina is married.
  • The Fantasticks is the story of two neighboring families trying to arrange a marriage between their children by building a wall between them and faking this trope. Their Batman Gambit works.
  • The importance of being Ernest. Gwendolyns mother said that 'to lose one parent is unfortunate, to lose two is careless' and refused to allow Gwendolyn to marry Jack until he had found his parents again.

Video Games

  • In John Woo's Stranglehold, the major contributor to the game's emotional drama is the fact that Mr. Wong's daughter Billie is in love with maverick cop Tequila. Wong despises Tequila both because he is a cop and because back in the movie Hard-Boiled, Tequila killed Johnny Wong, whom it turns out is Mr. Wong's son. Eighteen years ago, Wong intimidated Billie, who was pregnant with Tequila's daughter Teko, into breaking up with Tequila so that Wong wouldn't kill them all, and when Wong had to entrust Tequila with the task of rescuing Billie and Teko from the Zakarovs, Wong had Billie killed by Tequila's own partner Jerry, both to protect his syndicate (Zakarov had threatened to make her reveal everyone connected to Dragon Claw in a court of law to protect Teko's life) and to deny her to Tequila forever in a nasty Kick the Dog moment.
  • In Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure, the King of the Frogs doesn't approve of Princess Caroline's relationship with Michael, a commoner. After catching Michael inside the castle, he almost has him executed on the spot, but then claims that Michael can only earn his respect if he helps Cornet retrieve the Earthstone. After they succeed, he then promptly declares that now Michael must be executed for breaking into the castle and defeating the guardian, and has him killed on the spot. This solves nothing, leading to Caroline and Michael being Together in Death.
  • Final Fantasy XIII has Lighting object to Snow and Serah's engagement until a good ways into the game. As her and Serah's parents are dead and she cares for Serah, it's very much this trope despite them being sisters.
  • Super Paper Mario had Blumiere's father banishing Timpani to wander all dimensions forever because she was of a different race and he didn't want Blumiere associating with her. Didn't work out for him.
  • Tekken 6 has Miguel planning on killing his sister's boyfriend, but eventually declines to make her happy.

Web Comics

  • In Red String it's been recently[when?] revealed Miharu and Kazuo's Arranged Marriage, which has developed into love anyway, was all his mother's idea in order to give him a chance not to be married to be a snotty society girl. This is against his father's wishes, who wants it called off. When he tells Kazuo to do so (Kazuo having overheard the details already a day before) it doesn't go down well.
  • In PvP, Brent and Jade's wedding reservation was canceled by Jade's mother due to them arranging the wedding in a way she didn't like, fortunately Robbie allowed them to have it at his mansion.
  • In Erstwhile, Maid Maleen's father rejected her love.

Web Original

  • One of the laws of the Pantheon in Thalia's Musings, even for the Twelve Olympians. Apollo tries to invoke this as Governor of the Muses, but is quickly shot down by Calliope. It's strongly implied that Artemis, as her twin brother Apollo's legal guardian, can invoke this to him.

Western Animation

  • In Fairly Oddparents, Mama Cosma hates Wanda and Big Daddy hates Cosmo. The two parents end up as a couple of their own for their mutual hate for each of their kid's spouse.
  • Princess Sissi is all about the trials and tribulations Sissi goes through to try to marry the unapproved-of Franz, being loosely based on the life of Elizabeth of Bavaria. In real life, it didn't end up as happily as the cartoon says.

Other Media

  • There's an old joke based on this:

One Sunday morning William burst into the living room and said, "Dad! Mom! I have some great news for you! I am getting married to the most beautiful girl in town. She lives a block away and her name is Susan."
After dinner, William's dad took him aside. "Son, I have to talk with you. Your mother and I have been married 30 years. She's a wonderful wife but she has never offered much excitement in the bedroom, so I used to fool around with women a lot. Susan is actually your half-sister, and I'm afraid you can't marry her."
William was heart-broken. After eight months he eventually started dating girls again. A year later he came home and very proudly announced, "Dianne said yes! We're getting married in June."
Again his father insisted on another private conversation and broke the sad news. "Dianne is your half-sister too, William. I'm awfully sorry about this."
William was furious! He finally decided to go to his mother with the news.
"Dad has done so much harm.. I guess I'm never going to get married," he complained. "Every time I fall in love, Dad tells me the girl is my half-sister."
His mother just shook her head. "Don't pay any attention to what he says, dear. He's not really your father."


And I would marry Johnny but my father up and said:
I hate to tell you, daughter, what your mother never knew,
But Johnny, he's a son of mine, and therefore kin to you.
(repeat with at least two other names)
The lads in town are all my kin and my father is the cause.
If things should thus continue, I shall die a single miss
I think I'll go to mother and complain to her of this.

Oh daughter didn't I teach you to forgive and to forget.
Your father sowed his wild oats, on that you needn't fret.
Your father may be father to all the lads but still....
He's not the one who sired you so marry who you will!


Real Life

  • Many gay and bisexual people risk getting disowned by getting married, if they can even legally get married. Also, if they belong to an organized religion that is against same-sex marriage, they may end up being excommunicated and excluded from certain aspects of involvement with church activities if they dare to marry someone of the same gender as themselves, which can be just as depressing as having one's parents reject them for their marriage. AND WE ARE GOING TO LEAVE IT THERE RATHER THAN DEBATE THE GEOPOLITICS OF THE ISSUE, OKAY?
  • The historic pattern of Elopement to Gretna Green, Scotland and the "wedding over the anvil" was a response to English law which, at the time, set a minimum age of twenty-one for marriage without parental consent and required the banns of marriage be read in the church for multiple consecutive weeks before any wedding – making it difficult or impossible for these couples to wed in secret in England. These legal differences largely no longer exist in Great Britain, but some do still elope to Scotland for tradition's sake.
  • Beatrix Potter got engaged to the publisher of her storybooks. Her parents objected because he was a tradesman but eventually relented, if she would wait out the summer to make sure her love for him was real. Unfortunately, he died before summer's end and the wedding never happened. You can imagine her parents' reactions...
  • Peculiar example because it's based partially around an Arranged Marriage: a Jewish rabbi has set up a system in which Jewish children (on a voluntary basis) are tested to see if they're carriers of the recessive Tay-Sachs Syndrome genetic disease, which kills by age two should a child receive two copies of the gene. In this project, the children are not told the results of the test, but are given a number. In later life, should their families be contemplating a match between two people who have been tested, they just send the numbers in and are advised to drop the match if both of them are carriers... a rare genetic Parental Marriage Veto.
  • Then there is of course the royal families. For example, a recently[when?] engaged princess had to have her relationship of seven years approved by the local government as well as her family, and there have been rumors that the king has been stalling the engagement for quite some time.
  • A rather extreme version of this trope - the bride-to-be's parents kidnapped her on her wedding day to keep her from marrying her husband. She got married anyway a few days late, and they got charged with a felony.
  • In the Baha'i faith, a couple cannot get married unless they both get the consent of their parents. If one of them vetoes it, they'll just have to wait until the grouch keels over.
  • Consuelo Vanderbilt had hoped to marry Winthrop Rutherfurd. Her mother refused, because she set up her marriage to Duke of Marlborough. To this end, she first begged, ordered, and even faked a fatal illness to force her daughter to marry the Duke. Her daughter finally relented, after which her mother's fatal illness miraculously got cured.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's own romance, which became the basis for the story of Beren and Lúthien. Tolkien met Edith Bratt at 16 and 19 respectively and fell in love, but his guardian Father Morgan later forbade contact between them until Tolkien became a legal adult at 21. He wrote her on the evening his twenty-first birthday and found out she was engaged to another man. She broke it off, though, when she learned he hadn't forgotten her and accepted Tolkien's marriage proposal.