Proposing on Leap Day

Feb 27, 2024
formal reception - happy couple

Thursday sees that relatively rare event – the extra day added to our calendar to mark Leap Year.

It’s a correction to counter the fact that Earth’s orbit isn’t precisely 365 days a year.

It gives rise (for some reason) to “bachelor’s Day”. This is an Irish tradition for Leap Day in which women propose to men instead of the traditional other way around.

This got me thinking about proposals. (Naturally, in the course of my celebrant work, I am in contact with a lot of engaged couples.)

I proposed to Isobel over 25 years ago. It wasn’t a Leap Day or even month. In fact, it was July, but that shouldn’t prevent me telling the story. It wasn’t all straightforward, particularly as I wasn’t at all sure that I’d be accepted

I did stack the odds in my favour, though! I was finishing a job in Rome, so I arranged for Isobel to come out and join me there for a few days. Apart from the early start this entailed, she was more than happy to comply.

I had four days during which I could pop the question. Unfortunately, I was afraid that if Isobel rejected me, we would have a tough remainder of our holiday to endure. I therefore decided to postpone my proposal till the last evening, when I had planned we would be in the lovely Piazza Navona.

As it turns out, the Piazza would be inundated with people and, atmospheric as it still was, this was not the place for a quiet proposal (especially if a rejection was to occur!).

Fortunately, a couple of days earlier, on a perfect day weather-wise, we had taken a trip to Tivoli and had the glorious Villa d’Este almost to ourselves.

Now if you’re looking for somewhere romantic, then that is as good a spot as any. I hadn’t been expecting to propose (so was not worrying, but enjoying myself. Before I thought what I was doing, I was down on one knee, blurting out my proposal.

The fact that it was accepted joyfully was such a relief! The rest of the holiday went like a dream. In fact, most of the next quarter of a century have gone like a dream.

Whoever actually does the proposing, it’s something I can warmly recommend!