So the story goes that sometime in the fifth century, a saint called Bridget mentioned to fellow Saint Patrick that it seemed rather unfair that men were in charge of all the proposing, and suggested there ought to be a day set aside for the fairer sex to pop the question.
Patrick wasn’t keen, but grudgingly agreed to allow womankind to go down on one knee once every seven years. Bridget proved to be an artful negotiator, and once every four years was settled on. Nice one, Bridge.
According to a British Heart Foundation survey carried out in our last leap year, 2012, a third of unmarried women in relationships were considering popping the question.
Life’s too short to wait until February 2016 to put a ring on it, but if you’re planning to propose to the man in your life, why not take inspiration from these leap year lovelies…
The way to a man’s hand in marriage is through his stomach – but mind the pigeon poo
When fashion journalist Kelly Bowerbank decided that 2012’s leap year was going to be the one when she popped the question to her unsuspecting boyfriend, she chose a low key setting that meant something to the two of them. ‘After a wobble where I almost booked a speedboat ride down the Thames, I was left with three basic areas that I knew would tug on his heartstrings: good accommodation, good drinks and good food.
‘The week before I popped the question we had had an offer accepted on a flat. Outside our future home just felt like the 'right' place to do it. I lured him there on 25 February under false pretenses, and, just as he began to suspect that something was up, I went for it. My voice cracked, his eyes boggled. My heart skipped, his jaw dropped. Then a pigeon pooed from the tree above, narrowly missing us. He got down on one knee and said yes. [Then it was off to] Hawksmoor steak house for a feast of cow, followed by peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice-cream. And we both wore Haribo rings for the rest of the day.’
Raise the stakes by inviting a journalist along for the boat ride!
‘You can’t hurry love’, sang Diana Ross. But try telling that to a woman who’s waited eight years for a proposal that never came. As 29th February 2008 approached, Hannah, of Nelson, New Zealand decided to take matters into her own hands, and pop the question to Dean.
There’s a strong chance Dean had an inkling something was up. Hannah had called him up at work, insisting he jump on a boat and row to a secluded island. Plus, she’d ironed his shirt for him the previous evening, ‘and I never iron his shirts,’ she said. If Dean needed another clue, the cameraman doing a not very good job of hiding in the bushes probably swung it – Hannah had invited a film crew along for the ride so she could propose on national television. ‘Will you make me the happiest woman in the world?’ she stuttered, taking a gulp of champagne. ‘Beautiful day, beautiful woman,’ Dean mumbled, nervously twiddling his new gold ring. All’s well that ends well. Watch the drama unfold below.
Nothing says ‘welcome home after two years away’ like ‘will you marry me?’
So you’ve met the man of your dreams. You’re even considering proposing. Maybe you’ve already penciled in 29th February to give him the shock of his life. But then he decides to slope off halfway round the world on a two-year church sabbatical. What’s a girl to do? Well, if you’re Brittany Jones of Oklahoma, you bide your time until your would-be fiancé returns, upon which you’ll surprise him with a flash mob proposal at the airport.
Mormon missionary Austin Spitler was shocked to see friends and family performing a choreographed dance to Bruno Mars' hit Marry You as he passed through security. When you consider that the couple’s only contact in two years had been via email and letter, it could have gone horrible wrong. Luckily for Brittany, Austin Spitler was on her wavelength. After she told him that she’d ‘wait an eternity to have [him] as [her] husband,' he whipped an engagement ring out of his hold-all and returned the favour. Clearly, it was all meant to be.