Thinking of heading down the aisle but haven’t quite made it official? 29 February is the day that women can traditionally propose to their men (as it’s a leap year and only happens once every 1461 days). And the next one is in 2020!
The custom apparently dates back to 1288, when the Scots passed a law that enabled women to propose to the man of their choice every leap year – and if he declined (rude!) the he would be legally obliged to pay a fine. Legend has it that in high society Europe, this ‘fine’ would be in the form of 12 pairs of gloves (to hide the fact there was no ring presumably!). Oh and if a woman did want to propose on leap year, she would be required to wear a red petticoat while doing so, otherwise the whole deal would be null and void.
Of course, us ladies can propose all year round – it’s the 21st Century after all! – but some traditions are nice to keep, and if you were wondering when you should propose, the 29th gives you the perfect excuse. So what are you waiting for? We’ve whittled down our favourite ways to say Will You? to the man of your dreams. Good luck!
1. Wild About You
Whisk him away on safari and make him your Tarzan as you ask for his hand in marriage surrounded by the awesome African plains, home to majestic wild beasts including the elusive Big Five. Africa Odyssey offers safari packages across Kenya, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa; then book in for some serious seclusion (with a lot of luxury!) at the Selous Safari Camp in Tanzania.
2. Wife Carrying Race
What man wouldn’t say ‘Yes!’ to a world-class sporting event? Originating from Viking times (presumably when invaders carried off unwilling wenches from the local village), the 13th Wife Carrying Race takes place in Dorking, Surrey on Feb 29 – but participants don’t have to be married to take part! So your beloved can hoist you up onto his shoulders in a fireman’s lift while navigating hay bales “It’s A Knockout”-style – and then you can pop the question once you pass the finish line. rionium.com/wife
3. Ancient Romance
Speak to his inner Indiana Jones and pop the question perusing the historic sites of Egypt and Jordan: wow him with the mighty pyramids and wonders of the world. Wannabe archeologists and history buffs will fall for the Ancient Encounters tour with Encounters Travel.
4. Keeping it close to home
Yes proposing in theatrical style with some picturesque backdrop is all very well and good, but what if you just want to keep things simple? If your other half isn’t one for big romantic gestures, perhaps staying at home, lighting some candles and playing your favourite song are all you need to set the scene. Being at home where you feel safe and secure can also help calm any pre-proposal nerves. (And if you have little ones, perhaps send them to their grandparents or a friend’s house for the evening…)
5. Love Story at The Shard
Are you both city-dwellers or just love London? Enjoy jaw-dropping views of The Big Smoke lit up at night from the top of the Shard, the ideal spot to get down on one knee. They even offer a special proposal package, where you can hire out the entire top floor to yourselves, decorated with rose petals and candles – together with champagne and a ‘proposal concierge’ to ensure everything goes swimmingly (and he doesn’t suspect!). theviewfromtheshard.com
6. Setting the scene
When it comes to the best resorts to propose, it doesn’t get much better than Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru in The Maldives. If it’s good enough for A-listers and Bollywood stars, it’ll be good enough to pop the question to your beloved. The beach views and incredible variety of sealife here are hard to beat, with Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve on your doorstep, as well as special ‘water villas’ which allow you to step outdoors and right into the ocean for the ultimate life aquatic. fourseasons.com/maldiveslg
But there’s one place you should NEVER propose – come hell or highwater. And that’s another person’s wedding. Really, it’s just too rude – but this is exactly what happened to one unlucky couple. Read all about it here.