On leap year proposals…

Published by Claire Gould on

We absolutely can’t let a leap year pass by without mentioning leap year proposals – a cute tradition, perhaps a little outdated now the patriarchy is beginning to crumble (who’s with me?!), but still makes for a fun blog post!

If you haven’t a clue what I’m on about, a leap year was traditionally the one day of the year when women could propose. Of course, 1) I’m not sure where that leaves queer couples and 2) it’s not the 1800s any more so ANYONE can propose at ANY TIME!

Still – the point of traditions in the 21st century is that they’re adorable and if you want to use them as an excuse for something a bit special, absolutely go for it!

Here’s your leap year proposal tips! 

Samantha Gilchrist, the owner of The Gilchrist Collection, has had the pleasure of working with thousands of newly engaged couples, across 12 venues including three US, meaning she’s heard all the tales of proposals that have gone right… and wrong!

“I love a Leap year! It gives ladies an excuse to step into their power and take control of the romance by proposing to their partner.

“As women, we may think that proposing is something that will happen to us. Not the case! Whilst women don’t need a reason to forgo tradition and propose to their partner, a Leap Year can act as an extra push of bravery for girls to get down on one knee and pop the question to their loved ones.”

“Over the years I have heard so many proposal stories. Most are wonderful tales about the start of a couple’s happily ever after, however a few have had an element gone wrong! I have a few tips on how brides-to-be can avoid an embarrassing fumble as they ask the most important question and instead make their proposal truly special”


Where you consider popping the question can make or break the moment. After all, if you know your partner is incredibly shy, a flash mob proposal in the middle of Piccadilly Circus may not be right for you. I always recommend thinking back to a special time you and your partner have spent together and think about where you were. Was it the bar you both first met, or maybe simply your kitchen as you cooked a meal together and danced to the radio? Make the location personal to you both.


“If you’re proposing to your partner and big diamond rings aren’t really their thing, think creatively! Consider what your partner would like to be presented with when you pop the question. Picking a ring can be tricky, particularly if your partner doesn’t usually wear jewellery. Would they feel more comfortable with a simple white gold band? Or how about a ring with the date of the first time you met engraved? Of course, you don’t have to propose with a ring at all, watches, chains and other gifts make great engagement presents.


The number four is considered very lucky on a Leap Year so why not incorporate that good fortune into your proposal? Write your partner four handwritten letters that tell them where to meet you as you pop the question or ask them ‘Will you marry me?’ four times before waiting for them to respond, or how about simply timing your proposal for 4pm? This is a fun and on theme way to bring even more magic to your proposal.


If all goes to plan you should only be proposing once in your life, so make sure you have someone on hand to discreetly capture the moment. If you plan on getting down on one knee whilst with family and friends, ask a few people to quietly record the special moment. If you are keeping your engagement as a surprise from loved ones for the time being, consider hiring a professional photographer. They will be well versed on keeping a low profile so not to intrude on this personal moment between you and your partner.


I get it, post-proposal you’ll be feeling elated that your partner just agreed to spend the rest of their lives with you – so much so you want to shout it from the rooftops. Think carefully however about how best to announce your engagement. Most importantly ask your partner their thoughts. Maybe you want to enjoy stepping into the next stage of your relationship privately for a short while, so posting that engagement pic on Instagram may not be the way forward. Of course, you and your partner may want to let everyone know your happy news in which case have fun making a splash! It’s your moment!


For such a special moment it is essential you think about who you would like to include as you ask your beloved to marry you. If you know your loved one would like their family or friends present at such an important moment why not get them involved in the proposal? I’ve heard Gilchrist Collection couples plan everything from flash mobs to getting children in the family to hold signs and it can be a lovely way to share your special proposal with those closest to you.


Picture this, your partner has just agreed to marry you, and you are both so happy… but now the night is over and you have nothing else planned but a cup of tea and bed. Think about what you and your partner would most like to do after they agree to marry you this Leap Year. Book a table at your partner’s favourite restaurant, plan a romantic walk together or head out dancing! Take time to savour the fact that you and your partner have just agreed to take the move into the next chapter of your love story and make a day or night of it. You deserve to celebrate together!

“All engagements are special but there is just something so lovely when a woman decides to take matters into her own hands. I wish each new engagement all the luck this Leap Year.

To see the Gilchrist Collection’s full list of venues and to find out more about Samantha Gilchrist please visit: https://gilchristcollection.co.uk/


Images via Unsplash

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.


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