A Leap Year Proposal
2020 is a Leap Year so we get an extra day in February with an unusual tradition! Originating in Ireland, this tradition states that on February 29th, proposal etiquette is twisted so a woman may ask a man to marry her. Of course, women can propose any day of the year if they want, but this is a good excuse! So, we have discovered how this tradition came about, why it’s an excellent option for a modern woman and some advice on how to take the plunge!
Traditionally, a man asks for her a woman’s hand in marriage, historically from her father. But on February 29th, a woman is allowed to take control of her own destiny, thanks to Irish folklore!
Many centuries ago, in the 5th century in fact, St Brigid of Kildare complained to St Patrick that women had to wait too long for shy men to propose! So, St Patrick decreed that on one day in February, every four years, a woman is allowed to propose herself. She did have to wear either breeches or a scarlet petticoat while doing so though!
This ancient rule soon spread. In Scotland circa 1288, a law was passed, giving this tradition legal bearing. It also stated that any man who declined the proposal on this day would have to pay a fine. This was embraced in many European countries where the fine ranges from a kiss to money, a silk dress or 12 pairs of gloves. The gloves were so the woman could hide her embarrassment at not having an engagement ring!
While these laws may not be enforced any more (especially the fine!), the tradition is still popular around the world for several reasons…
Reasons to Propose to Him
Life’s too short!
Stop dropping hints he may never notice and take action. There are only so many times you can subtly walk past jewellery shops or leave a wedding magazine lying around! After all, men often need a bit of a push when it comes to making decisions! You may worry that you’ll never know if he was going to propose to you. But, we are pretty sure if he says yes, that indicates he had it in mind!
It’s only once every four years!
Like we said, there’s only so long you can wait before the perfect proposal before it gets a bit frustrating. So, treat yourself and create it – after all you don’t want to wait another four years!
Why stick to tradition?
Technically, you could propose anytime you want. This just gives you the perfect opportunity to use a tradition to break tradition! After all, we’ve come a long way since the 5th century, so make St Brigid proud.
You can pick your own engagement ring
If you’re still on the fence, this should convince you! You won’t have to worry about your ring being the wrong size, shape, stone, metal etc.. Instead, you can get the ring of your dreams and not have to practice your fake happy face!
How to Propose to Him
Make sure he’s ready
Our first tip is the same advice we give to anyone thinking of proposing – make sure you’re both on the same page! Be sure that your man is ready for marriage before you think about proposing, otherwise you’re facing an awkward conversation and potentially a ‘no’. Test the waters with an honest chat and be sure that you both have the same life goals when it comes to marriage.
Do it for the right reasons
Don’t propose to your boyfriend just because you’re sick of waiting for him to propose to you! Do it because you know you want to spend the rest of your life with him and because you know he’d love the gesture of a proposal. If you’re the kind of couple that doesn’t do conventional, then this is a sweet way to show him that you’re ready for the next step in your journey together.
Buy him a gift
It doesn’t have to be a ring, but having a symbol of your engagement is a nice thing to be able to present to your other half when you’re proposing. It could be a watch, a pair of cufflinks or a bracelet, depending on your man’s style.
Make it thoughtful
When it comes to the actual proposal, put some thought into it. Take him somewhere meaningful to the pair of you, or arrange a dinner at his favourite restaurant. Consider whether he’d want the proposal to be public, or private, and prepare some words in advance so that you don’t get nervous and ramble!
Actually ask the question
If your guy isn’t expecting a proposal, then three things will set this out as an actual proposal rather than just a declaration of love – getting down on one knee, having a ring or present, and saying the words, ‘Will you marry me?’ It’s a classic for a reason!
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