Have you been waiting for your boyfriend to take your relationship to the next step? Who says you can't make that next step happen yourself. One of our amazing writers at the Wedding Shoppe recently proposed to her beau as a part of a Leap Year tradition. But who is to say you need a special day that comes once every four years? Read Felicity's awesome story and get ideas for how to propose to your boyfriend, too!
How to Propose to Your Boyfriend & Why You Should!
Brian Bossany Photography
As most of you know, this past February included a leap day, which only comes once every 4 years. February 29th has many traditions, superstitions, and tales attached to it in cultures around the globe. What does this 366-day year mean in some European countries? Ladies get to use this rarely observed calendar day to pop the question to their favorite guy, of course!
Leap Year Proposals: Origin Stories
Exactly when this leap day tradition started is unknown, however some people place its origins as far back as 461 AD, when St. Brigid asked St. Patrick to give ladies with procrastinating suitors permission to propose, and he obliged. Others believe the tradition originated in Scotland when Queen Margaret passed a law allowing women to propose, as long as they wore a red petticoat (the red petticoat was intended to warn the future husband of an intended proposal). Any man who refused a lady’s plea on this day would face a fine. In Denmark, another silly stipulation is attached to this tradition; any guy who refuses to accept the proposal is obliged to purchase 12 pairs of gloves for his scorned gal to cover up her ring-less hand. In Finland, any man who refuses must buy his lady enough fabric to make a skirt. It’s all quite strange, but that’s tradition for you!
Cadey Reisner Weddings
Leap Year Proposals Today
While many women around the world are aware of this age-old custom, very few actually take advantage of the opportunity for a gender role reversal by getting down on one knee and asking for their love’s hand in marriage. Some ladies view the act as too forward or desperate, while others simply want to be the one who is asked. It is engrained in our minds that men are the ones who propose, so it’s no surprise more women don’t take advantage of the opportunity. Why did I propose, then? It’s pretty simple… I love the man I am with and I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I know he loves me too and we have a dedicated, strong relationship… so why should I let my gender hold me back from asking for his hand in marriage?
Doubts, Fears, and Deciding to Take a Chance
My father told me about the leap year custom when I was a young girl, and the idea always seemed pretty awesome to me. I’ve never been someone who holds back when I want something, so it makes sense that this would be no different for me. My fiancée (it still feels so crazy to say that!) and I have known each other for almost a decade and have been in a relationship for almost 4 years; in that time we have built a pretty fantastic life together. We’ve survived long distances, have moved across the country a handful of times together, and have become each other’s best friends and support systems in the process. We have talked about marriage many times before and I have always known it was on the table, but we didn’t really ever talk about a realistic timeline for when we would actually get married. About a week before February 29, I looked at my calendar and realized this would be my one chance to propose, unless I wanted to wait another four years for the next leap year to come around (and he would have likely beaten me to the chase by then!) I got butterflies in my stomach at the mere thought of popping the question, but it was something that I really wanted to do. I toyed with the idea and went back and forth the entire week leading up to the day, building myself up and then talking myself out of it over and over again.
Nina Francine Photography
After evaluating why I was so afraid of the thought of breaking convention and embracing a little gender bending, I realized all of my fears were based around what other people would think. The doubts were stifling: Would our friends and family even know about this tradition? Will people think I am emasculating my beau? Am I going to look like a desperate spinster just trying to lock a dude down? Is this un-ladylike of me? Then I stepped back… and realized all of these fears and reservations weren’t valid reasons to back out! I wasn’t worried about whether I had found the right person to spend my life with! I didn’t have any concerns about choosing him as my partner… everything I fretted about was how people around me would perceive this unorthodox milestone. And those doubts simply weren’t enough to hold me back from chasing what I knew I wanted.
Popping the Big Question
After coming to terms with society’s unfair gender roles, I had resolved the morning of February 29 I was definitely going to ask my love for his hand in marriage! After attending a morning class and running a few errands, I went ring shopping for my main man. I really had no idea of his ring size (who knows their boyfriend’s ring size? Nobody!) So I found a super stylish ring with a flexible exchange policy that we could easily trade out if it wasn’t his favorite look or if the sizing was way off. I stopped off and grabbed a bottle of champagne (since I could only hope his answer would be yes) and headed home to meet my sweetheart. I had a beautiful monologue planned out and memorized, but I didn’t want to go over-the-top cheesy with rose petals and a violinist, so I decided I’d make the move when we were taking our dog out for an evening walk.
The proposal went a little something like this:
Me: “Do you know what day it is?” My love: “February 29th… leap day!” Me: “Yes, do you know what that means?” My love: “Are you going to propose to me or something?” Me: (forgetting my eloquent, romantic, tear-jerker of a monologue)…. “Uhhhhhh, yes! I had a bunch of stuff planned I wanted to tell you, but I can’t remember any of it now! But I love you so much and you make me so happy every day… I want to spend the rest of my life with you!” (getting down on one knee) “Will you marry me?” My love: “Yes, of course!” (Cue the champagne pop.)
Vicens Forns Photography
After the Big Moment
I was shaking, I was sweating, I started crying pretty soon afterwards… I was a hot mess. And I think my fiancée was in total shock. I feel like it’s safe to say that no man ever expects the marriage proposal tables to turn on him, so it definitely took awhile for everything to properly sink in and feel real for the both of us. It took probably 3 or 4 days to finally come off of the strange high that this moment created for the both of us, but we were overwhelmed with the love and support our friends and family gave us after announcing our big news. Since I (obviously) didn’t go out and buy a ring for myself, my aunt offered up my late grandmother’s engagement ring for me to wear while we take the time to go shopping for the perfect piece of jewelry, which was such a sweet and meaningful gesture… and will allow us to take some time to find a ring we both love. The range of emotions and entire experience definitely wasn’t something we could have prepared ourselves for, however we are over the moon that we are finally affianced and are able to start planning our nuptials with our loved ones surrounding us.
Brovado Wedding Photography
Thinking of Taking the Leap?
If you’re a gutsy girl and love the idea of asking for your love’s hand in marriage, don’t wait until 2020 to roll around! This is the 21st century, ladies. Traditions can absolutely be reshaped and repurposed to fit our lives, and I can say from experience that taking matters into my own hands was a freeing, exhilarating, and unforgettable experience. This proposal fit our particular relationship perfectly, and his affirmation of my question was one of the most romantic and exciting moments we’ve shared together! Even if you and your beau like to stick to traditions a bit more and the thought of getting down on one knee seems like a mortifying experience, don’t be afraid to break the mold in other ways when planning your wedding. If there’s something that just doesn’t feel right or you want to do things your own way, take the liberty to make it your own! This is your relationship, so you can change things up however you two like… whether that means breaking away from the white dress and choosing a blush tone, foregoing a garter toss, or doing away with having the bride and groom’s families sit on different sides of the aisle. Take the leap and make your wedding story the one of your dreams… I’m so glad I have! You may also like...