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A leap year occurs every four years when an extra day is added to the end of February. The 29th February is also known as Bachelor's Day or Ladies' Privilege. It’s called this because of an Irish tradition where unmarried women are ‘allowed’ to propose to men based on a legend of Saint Bridgid and Saint Patrick (but more on that later). Leap year proposals actually once had a legal basis in Scotland and England! Since 2024 is a leap year, we thought this would be perfect to discuss! At the end of the day, who proposes really doesn't matter anymore. At Rock My Wedding, we’re all about having Your Day, Your Way! If you’re ready to get engaged and the folklore of a Leap Year proposal seems magical, you may as well pop the question!


Leap year proposal ideas to help you propose to your partner! 

What is a leap year proposal? 

Feeling the luck of the Irish? Then a leap year proposal could make sense for you! The legend goes that hundreds of years ago an Irish nun (St. Brigid) asked the Irish patron saint (St. Patrick) for permission for women to propose. After discussion, St. Patrick agreed to allow females the right to propose—but only on one day, every four years: February 29th. St. Brigid had her own motives for this, though. After St. Patrick agreed, she asked the patron saint to marry her. Unfortunately, he declined. To soften the blow, St. Patrick gifted the nun a silk gown instead. Fair compensation in our eyes. 

 

Leap year proposals actually became legal when Queen Margaret passed a law allowing women to propose to their beloved on February 29th. The catch was, that any man who declined the proposal on February 29th would have to pay a fine. A  silk gown, 12 gloves (so the shameful unmarried woman could hide the fact that she didn’t have an engagement ring) or a kiss. It’s all pretty archaic, right? So why is this tradition still a thing? 

Why should you propose on a leap year? 

Actually, as the name suggests, the point of a leap year is to flip the script on societal norms and this tradition has been reclaimed as a feminist stand. Leap year proposals are only going to become more popular! Plus, how many couples can say they got engaged on a leap year? Not that many! While it’s okay to get engaged on a leap year, according to a Greek superstition, it's considered unlucky to get married in a leap year! 

 

1. If you want it done right, do it yourself 

Worry that your partner will never pop the question? Take hold of the reins yourself. 

2. Use a tradition to break tradition

Of course, women can propose anytime they want but a leap year gives you the perfect opportunity to use a tradition to break tradition! 

3. You get to pick the ring!

You won't have to worry about not liking your engagement ring if you get to choose it yourself!  

How To Propose to your partner 

Decided a leap year proposal works for you? Then here are our top tips for organising a proposal!

 

1. Make sure you’re on the same page

Make sure you're both on the same page by dropping hints about the next steps in your relationship! Be sure that you have the same life goals! 

2. Do you have the best intentions?

Don't propose to your partner just because you're sick of waiting for them to pluck up the courage. Make sure you’re taking this step because you know you want to spend the rest of your life with them! 

3. Find the perfect ring or symbol of engagement

You need something to propose with. That could be the traditional ring or a symbol that means a lot. It could be a watch, a pair of cufflinks or a necklace, depending on your beau’s style. A Haribo ring could also be a cute gesture!

4. The proposal details 

When it comes to the actual proposal, put some thought into it to make it authentic to you both. Consider a public or private setting and prepare some words in advance so that you don't get nervous and ramble! 

 

Your complete guide to a leap year proposal! 


Now you know what a leap year proposal is, you can decide if it’s the right move for you. If you do, here are the best proposal speech ideas to help you guarantee a ‘YES!’. Maybe the leap year isn’t the right time for you. Christmas is the most popular time of year to pop the question, so take a look at these Christmas proposal ideas

Leah Blundell

Written by Leah Blundell

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