It has always been a bone of contention between Pat, the owner of Brinsop Court, and her husband of 30 years that she proposed to him (all be it from a pay phone in Bridge North). However, an estimated 10% of women are planning to follow Pat’s example this year by popping the question in an attempt to get their relationship moving and celebrate their commitment officially.

A marriage blogger recently stated that ‘women’s proposals are like hearing a dog miaow.’ Yet, as gender equality takes off and more women prepare to grab the wheel, this kind of attitude towards females proposing might now be slightly out-dated. In fact, a woman proposing on the 29th February is an age old tradition growing out of a complaint made by St. Bridget to St. Patrick that women have to wait too long for men to propose. And indeed, we can all empathise with this grievance centuries later – some men just don’t get the hint and won’t get their act together.

In light of this, Brinsop Court has compiled a few tips and pointers for those plucky brides-to-be preparing to propose. We believe that since men have 1,460 days worth of practice compared to women’s 1 day, you might benefit from a few words of advice on the matter…

1. Make sure that he wants to get married.

As tempting as it is, 29th February is not an opportunity to ambush your partner or bully him into submission. If he is the right one for you and it is the right time, the chances are that the topics of marriage and children will have been covered already to some extent, so you can be more confident of his response. Perhaps you already know he wants to get married in a country house venue or next to a moat or in a banqueting hall.

2. Make sure he doesn’t mind you doing it.

It may sound like a contradiction; almost obtaining permission before you ask your boyfriend to marry you, but tradition is an important aspect of proposing and marriage as a whole. You need to make sure he will be happy for you to ask him, instead of the other way around. If you have a partner who you know wants to propose, don’t spring a 29th February proposal on him to speed up the process. According to relationship experts an organic proposal that both parties are comfortable with breed the healthiest marriages.

3. Don’t get him a sparkling diamond.

Since proposing for your boyfriend is a little outside the box, it’s safe to say that a few other parts will need to change too. Most will realise that presenting your boyfriend with a diamond isn’t entirely appropriate, unless he’s into that sort of thing. What might work better is buying him a very special, symbolic gift or trip to make the occasion. How about a night in Ivy Cottage – if you do end up booking your wedding with Brinsop Court, the cost of the stay is deducted from the total price.

4. Do I get down on one knee?

This one is slightly trickier and can only truly be decided by you. You know your boyfriend the best, only you will know if this is the right or wrong way to do it. However, ensure that if you do take the knee route that you do it with conviction. You don’t want him mistaking your movement for tying a shoe lace or some other unremarkable gesture. Be confident, clear and choose somewhere with a soft landing.

5. Ask and then listen.

Unfortunately, the most significant part of a proposal is the answer, not the asking. Try not to lose your nerve and start spluttering explanations or laugh to break perceived tension. The seconds that allow the question to sink in are the most important, so if you interrupt or disturb his thinking process you’re risking confusing him or detracting from the proposal itself.

One final note to remember is that if you ask a man to marry you on the 29th February he must say yes or pay a fine of your choosing. So, if you didn’t already have a reason to ask this leap year, now you do.

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