The four-year wait is over and February 29 is fast approaching giving, traditionally, the female population the opportunity to propose to their other halves. Are leap year proposals outdated or a sweet tradition?
It is believed the history of leap year proposals dates back to the 5th century when an Irish nun called Bridget is said to have been rather upset at the length of time women had to wait for a man to ask for their hand in marriage. Upon discussing this with St Patrick, he told her that women could from then on propose on the leap year.
Weddings and tradition still go hand in hand. From the bride being given away by her father, wearing something borrowed and blue, to a ring exchange, much of the wedding industry is based on what couples, their family and friends expect.
History shows that getting engaged is no different and in the majority of proposals involving heterosexual couples it is the man who pops the question. A leap year can be the exception.
For those women who fancy being the one to get down on one knee but perhaps don’t have the confidence, the 29th February can be the extra push and invitation to get it done. A kind of one-off 24 hour offer to take advantage of.
Several surveys have shown that men are more than happy for their partners to take the initiative.
In a survey by Vintage jewellery specialists William May, 66% of men and 61% of women said “yes” when asked if women should ignore tradition and propose to men.
Stag and hen do events company Chillisauce recently conducted The Marriage Proposal Survey. Of the 10,000 people surveyed, 43% of women declared they would not be brave enough to do it, however 76% of men think women should.
It’s not such a big deal for women to be proposing. It’s also true you don’t need to wait for a special day to tell someone you want to spend the rest of your life with them. When you know, you know.
Photo Adriana Watson
Same-sex relationships mean statistically things are changing. Across the globe there are women proposing every day of the year and men being proposed to.
Same-sex relationships are helping to normalise the idea that the traditional gender role of the male proposing is changing.
Why do you need a proposal anyway? A whole separate subject but a few couples I have written ceremonies for did not need the traditional question popped, they just felt the time was right to seal the deal.
I speak from personal experience. Maybe not seen as romantic, but we knew we’d end up getting married so it became a fait accompli and we agreed that’s what we’d do whilst planning a trip to Vietnam that turned into our honeymoon.
In today’s modern society couples are realising when it comes to getting married there don’t have to be rules or restrictions.
The proposal ritual has remained male-driven but deep down I get it. In fact, let me share a secret with you.
Despite my belief that equality should be encouraged and championed in every scenario I love a good proposal story. It creates such a magical part of my couples’ stories. I’m on my second marriage, neither of which began with a traditional proposal, and deep down I feel I have missed out. Even in the year 2020, a new decade, tradition can be romantic, exciting and something to celebrate.
What do you think?
Traditional or spiritual, wildly alternative or totally badass (Helen's words!), Helen will help you to plan and create a memorable ceremony for all the right reasons, which is unique and appropriate to you and your lifestyle.Read Helen's profile here
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