Again it really comes down to working distance. A lens can have really great properties, but the working distance is a game changer. You can get the "dream lens" and then go out to use it and realize you're restricted due to working room.
If one really just wants blurry backgrounds and creamy bokeh, etc, you don't have to get a $4,000 lens to do it. An 85mm really is one of the easiest lenses to get into. Short working distance, so a lot more versatile. Light weight and small, so you're not lugging around a canon or brick just to get some blur. And inexpensive enough that you're really not going to have to sell a kidney to feel ok about getting something, just to get a lot of out of focus blur area.
Here's a cheap $200 85mm F1.4 manual lens at F1.4 (Samyang):
Another with a cheap 85mm F1.4 @ F1.4:IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/GwQN6w IMG_6900 by Martin Wise, on Flickr
Here's the cheap 85 F1.8, generally $250, with autofocus. One of the best cheap lenses you could get for a Canon, and it blasts out backgrounds and is sharp just fine:
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/vCRe5X IMG_4388 by Martin Wise, on Flickr
Of course, if working distance is not an issue, another inexpensive killer outdoor portrait lens is the cheap 200 F2.8L, usually $400~500, and it's a total steal for what it is. It creams out backgrounds at distance and is inexpensive, sharp and fast:IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/rJeaoH IMG_2935 by Martin Wise, on Flickr
Sometimes you actually want weird bokeh, one of my favorites is the cheap Helios 44-2. It's a short 58mm F2 lens, but it has weird bad swirly bokeh, which is fun. But it only shows up with very specific ranges of distance of subject to background, too far, and you get no swirl, just cream, but just a touch behind the subject and you get swirly swirl which is fun:IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/q59vWP IMG_0888 by Martin Wise, on Flickr
The other thing to consider is how a telephoto lens effects the background. Longer focal length draws the background forward and can completely change the look of something, regardless of aperture. The longer it is, the more it will draw that background forward. This can of course be very pleasing. You need a lot of distance for it not to show up between subject and background. A shorter focal length is a lot less likely to do this, and the background objects are not drawn forward nearly as much, and it looks totally different.
I did an experiment just to see the look & perspective of both background changes and location changes of objects in the background with similar composition of subject with two very different lenses. 85mm F2 and 200mm F2.8.
Here's examples of how focal length draws the background forward for example:
85mm:IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/uyUvtF IMG_4218 by Martin Wise, on Flickr
200mm:IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/uyfN7N IMG_4223 by Martin Wise, on Flickr
To me, the background blur isn't enough to fuss over.
You can get supreme blur from slower lenses just by having the right environmental condition (large distance behind subject to background, even F8 will blur to a cream).
The most important factor is honestly going to end up being working distance. Especially if we're talking family and family photojournalism. You're not there if you're 50 feet away. But an 85mm lets you be right up in it, part of it, while still documenting it with photos.
My favorite thing to do portrait with, regardless of a lens or any of that blur stuff, etc, is actually just light.
Here's a general 90mm at F2.8, nothing fancy or fast, but lighting is where the game changes:
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/GurMQ1 IMG_3266 by Martin Wise, on Flickr