Leap Year Proposals Are a Thing, & They Could Be Right for You

The leap year proposal tradition goes back centuries, but it might be the fun detail your engagement needs.

Published January 17, 2024

Leap year proposals started as a tradition that allowed women to pop the question to their male partners every four years. These days, we know that men aren't the only ones proposing, and women no longer need permission to do so. But the leap year proposal is less about societal norms and more about pure fun. If you want to honor an Irish tradition and take control of your fate, consider proposing on Leap Day with our fun ideas.

What Is a Leap Year Proposal?

Leap year proposals started in Ireland during the fifth century when Saint Patrick agreed to allow women to propose to men every four years on Leap Day. Saint Bridget went to bat for all the ladies back then as she pointed out to Saint Patrick that women spend far too much time waiting around for men to propose. 

These days, women don't need permission to pop the question, but the tradition is still recognized. It's easy to get stuck on the outdated notion of women needing a special reason to take charge. But this tradition is more of a recognition of the small win that women of the fifth century had. Getting to propose as a woman during that time was a big deal, and women certainly took advantage of it.

Fast Fact

Leap Day comes around every four years as a way to keep our calendars on track with Earth's orbit. Leap Day always occurs on February 29th. 

Why You Should Do a Leap Year Proposal?

If you're ready to take a cue from Saint Bridget and take a confident step toward your future, the Leap Day proposal tradition may be right for you and your partner. There's something fun about celebrating a day that only occurs once every four years. If your engagement day is officially February 29th, it'll make the occasion even more momentous. 

Proposing on Leap Day doesn't suggest you believe in the old idea of needing a male partner to take charge of where the relationship is going. It can just be a fun way of surprising the one you love and starting your journey toward forever. Plus, it gives you an exciting and unique engagement story to share for years to come. 

Need to Know

Did you know you can celebrate this tradition even if you're already engaged? Use Leap Day as a way to "propose back" to your partner and see just how nervous they must have been proposing to you.

How to Have Fun With a Leap Year Proposal

If you've decided to take the Leap Day proposal plunge, you probably don't have much time to pull it together. But spontaneity is the point here, so lean into it. Try some of these ideas for having extra fun with this centuries-old tradition. 

  • Plan a spontaneous trip with your partner and pop the question at midnight on Leap Day.
  • Invite your sweetheart over for an authentic Irish meal on Leap Day and drop to one knee during dessert. 
  • Swap the traditional ring for another piece of meaningful jewelry.
  • Take your partner to a store they love, give them the Sweet Home Alabama proposal treatment, and let them pick out their engagement gift. 
  • Watch Leap Year together and slide a ring into their hand as the credits roll. 
  • Wake your partner up on Leap Day with breakfast in bed and say, "Do you know what day it is?" as you lead into the simple proposal.
  • Invite all your friends over for a leap year celebration and pop the question to the sound of their cheers.

Related: 10 Engagement Ring Alternatives for an Out-of-the-Box Proposal

Quick Tip

If you and your partner are on the same page, skip the proposal and invite family and friends over for Leap Day and surprise them with your wedding ceremony. 

Take the Leap & Pop the Question

You don't need anyone's permission to propose forever with the one you love. But Leap Day is a fun way to make the occasion more memorable. If you're taking the leap, leave the nerves behind and let February 29th be the first day of the rest of your life. 

Leap Year Proposals Are a Thing, & They Could Be Right for You