As another leap year approaches, women all over the world are planning to pop the big question to their partners. Such is the tradition of leap year proposals: when every four years on February 29, women are encouraged to stop waiting and start proposing to their partners.

This unique day is guided by a legend dating back to 5th century Ireland, when St Brigid challenged St Patrick about the duration women were waiting to receive marriage proposals from their boyfriends. In response, St Patrick permitted women to propose to their partners every February 29.

Thinking about proposing this February? Here are the top 10 tips for leap year proposals: 

  1. Make sure you’re both ready.

Before proposing, make certain you and your love are on the same page in your relationship, and that marriage is on the cards. You might also consider why he hasn’t proposed yet. Just lazy or commitment-phobic? On the flip side, double-check that you’re proposing or the right reasons, and that you aren’t doing it to fix a relationship issue.

2. Be prepared for ANY answer.

Admittedly, leap year proposals are still a novelty – so it’s best to be prepared for whatever answer you receive. Whether you receive a ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘I’ll think it over’, keep the experience positive by having your response ready. Be open to discussion. After all, he may be genuinely floored by the surprise proposal – or disappointed that you beat him to the punch.

3. Personalise the proposal to suit him.

Make your proposal a gift your man will adore: if he loves AFL, take him to a game, buy him a pie, and write the proposal on the serviette. Or if he’s a beer enthusiast, take him on a brewery tour and stick a stubby on his beer with your proposal imprinted on it. Make it all about him, and he’ll remember it forever.

4. Pop the question privately.

Leap year proposals go against convention, so there’s always the chance you’ll take your love by surprise. For this reason, it’s best to avoid grand gestures in front of audiences. Instead, go somewhere more private, romantic or special between the two of you. In the end, you’ll both feel more comfortable and are more likely to enjoy the experience.

5. Propose during an activity.

Get the most out of your leap year proposal by doing it when you’re engrossed in a favourite activity. Any type of action, from walking on a beach to cooking in your kitchen, will keep you both energised and focussed – the perfect proposal scenario. All the better if you can do it on a holiday, when you’re both calm and happy.

6. Can’t say it? Write it.

Terrified about being tongue-tied during your proposal?  Write it down instead. Some send their partner on a scavenger hunt, collecting meaningful clues until they find a big ‘marry me’ sign at the end. Others fill diaries with all the reasons they love their partner, then pop the question on the final page. After all, it’s the thought that counts.

7. Skip the ring, give a gift.

Rather than an engagement ring, personalise your proposal by gifting your boyfriend a watch or engraved bracelet, for example. This not only commemorates the event, but also gives him the option to buy an engagement ring for you later, so he doesn’t feel he’s missed out.

8. Keep it meaningful – but comfortable.

Certainly the tradition of leap year proposals is a little wacky, but it’s meant to be fun. So while you should make your proposal meaningful, keep it light. Don’t stress about making it so flawless that you can’t enjoy yourself. Have fun doing something you both love – share some steak or head to your favourite haunt. Your memory will be just as lovely. 

9. Be confident.

It’s only natural to be nervous about proposing to your man, but go in with the assurance he’ll be glad you did. When you think about it, an adventurous proposal like this is a ripper start to your next chapter together. However, if you worry he’s more on the conventional side, check in with friends and family to get their take on it.

10. Lock in the logistics.

Planning out the logistics of your proposal is a great way to ensure a memorable evening, without the stress. This means having alternative plans in case of weather, and picking a day when you know your partner won’t be working late or stressed. Be sure to double-check any reservations, too – so that your only surprise is how much your proposal exceeded your expectations.

Take these 10 leap year proposal tips, but don’t stress. If you’re both happy and confident in your relationship, everything will work out. Congrats! 

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