Leap year proposal stories: Real life women share the moment #hesaidyes

Would you pop the question? These women did - and here they’ve shared the moment #hesaidyes

leap year proposal

by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

A recent study conducted by new online wedding planner Bridebook.co.uk found that nearly two thirds of brides married last year would have been happy to propose to their other half.

In fact, it’s more popular than ever for women to get down on one knee and take the taboo out of ‘I do’. What’s more, sites like Bridebook are encouraging men to get involved in the planning too – making it something for the couple to enjoy together.

Hamish, CEO of Bridebook and groom-to-be also advised brides and grooms to take advantage of the process – ‘If you can, go to as many cake tastings as possible. You’ll never be offered as much free food as when you’re planning a wedding!’

With the leap year just around the corner, there’s never been a better time.

We found out from a group of real life brides why they chose to take the plunge and pop the question...

Abbie Steinman

"I took him out for a meal to our favourite restaurant on Feb 29th 12 years ago. I proposed with a Haribo ring and obviously he said yes! He didn't keep the ring though; he ate it straight away! We got married in Paarl, South Africa 10 years ago... and then honeymooned in Cape Town and safari near Port Elizabeth.

"It was the most amazing country and the scenery was stunning! My husband's name is Neil, I think he guessed something was going on as I was so stressed and nervous and he was more embarrassed than anything at me doing it in a restaurant I think!"

Anna Harrow

"We’d had the perfect lunch with family and friends to celebrate his birthday and on the way home, I just asked him.

"He said no. It was horrible.

"But two weeks later, on holiday in Paris he got down on one knee - turns out he had been planning it for ages!"

Keely Collins

"I proposed as the clock struck midnight on 31st December 2004, we were out with friends in Sheffield City Centre and we started 2005 as an engaged couple.

"My hubby went and bought me an engagement ring a week later as a surprise and we set the wheels in motion picking a date venue and church etc. It was one of the best days of my life and now nearly ten years on we've done so much, moving house 5 times and 5 babies and new careers and still going strong and very much in love.

"I wouldn't change our life for anything!"

Jo-Anne Tompkins

"I proposed on the 29th Feb last leap year to keep some kind of tradition. I bought a selection of beer bottles I knew my now hubby would love. I covered the labels up cutting windows out of the cover to reveal the message "will you marry me".

"I set it all out for hubby to find at our home. I have never been so nervous waiting for him to notice them. He said yes and we got married later that year. We got married in the October, which we chose as it is the same month as my parents and my husband's parents got married.

"We returned to the town where we met, Loughborough, and married in the same church as my parents. We had our son, James, in May 2014. I was far more nervous than I expected to be, asking Mick to marry me, but it was worth it. I think we were both ready for marriage anyway.

"We had a lovely wedding day and have since changed jobs to start a family, and happily managed to have our son. Parenthood is tough at times, we both work full time and different hours as my husband is a chef, but the marriage proposal kicked all this off, and this is where we wanted to be in our lives.

"I will always wonder what it feels like to be proposed to, but it is a small price to pay, and we do have our own unique story. I would love it if one day he did surprise me with a proposal the way he would have done it. I'm hoping at least one of my friends might ask their partner this year."


"My boyfriend was never an amazing present buyer, and he was so badly organised. Over the years I always had to book the holidays, or arrange for people to get together for his birthday, I even bought his grandparents’ wedding anniversary present. He was just so chilled out he was horizontal.

"I knew he loved me, I knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, but I also knew he wouldn’t be organising anything. So I thought, why not!? I organised a weekend trip to Bristol where we’d met at University and proposed on one knee and everything.

"I got to choose my own ring too! This makes me sound like a control freak. But I wouldn’t change it for the world."

Rose Dearnley

"I proposed on Valentine's Day, in a leap year and have just celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary on the 12th Feb.

"I had signs for him to follow when he came home from work, they had words and arrows on them and sent him to our bedroom saying will you be my, then I was sat on the bed with a ring and the last sign which said fiancée. Then I made a lobster dinner. It was such a lovely evening.

"My wedding was in February and the theme was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and I was going for the ice queen look. There were icicles around our cake. That's why the colours were white and blue."

Christine Park

"I'd been planning the proposal for a while, we had been together since 2009 and been living together since 2010. I knew 2012 would be a leap year and started to joke with Chris and my friends that on Feb 29th Chris had better watch out!! Then I started to take it seriously and thought ‘why not?’

"I'd considered lots of different ways to do it but realised that as I had mentioned it there was no way I could take Chris out for dinner or even take the day off work without him getting suspicious (29th Feb 2012 was a Wednesday!) and I so, so wanted it to be a surprise.

"I realised that the most important thing about proposing was the actual question and the response, so I started planning. I knew he loved a particular Omega watch so I bought that and smuggled it into our flat without him noticing. Then I borrowed a special lamp off my friend which projected hundreds of wee stars all over the room and I smuggled that in too as well as setting up some candles and things in preparation.

"On the night of the 28th I went to bed as normal, but Chris was out with a friend and got home late which nearly scuppered my plans, however I set my alarm for 02:00 and did my best ever impression of being fast asleep when he got in. When my alarm went off at that ridiculous hour I pretended it was a mistake and that I was just getting up to nip to the loo.....then I switched on the lamp, lit the candles and got out the watch and knelt on the bed beside Chris who is now wondering what the heck is going on!

"I had a whole script planned but my nerves and emotions got in the way and I just managed to say ‘I love you, will you marry me?’ Chris was so shocked! Thankfully he said yes! But also said ‘really?’

"We moved back to Glasgow in Feb 2014 and it has been a challenging time with family illnesses and buying our first property but we now own our own home and have baby Park on the way due at the end of May 2016!"

Steph Lawson

"I suppose it all started after attending a wedding that neither of us wanted to attend, but seeing as our daughter was a bridesmaid we made the effort, put on our best clothes and went over.

"It was the same boring day, the groom wore a suit, the bride a big puffy dress that you could hide eight adults under and maybe nine small children too! The bride cried during the service and it all ended with a sloppy love song for their first dance. Both Mal and I are alternative and prefer things a little different, anything that doesn't scream SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE!

"So, this one Friday night, we opened a bottle of wine after a stressful week and we were discussing different things and for some reason the wine had kicked in and we started talking about the future and what we wanted it to be. We had been together for eight years, always said that marriage was out of the question. We were both from families of divorce and Mal had been married and divorced before I was even out of nappies (there is a 21-year age gap between us!).

"I still don't know why I said what I did, but I opened my mouth and the words ‘I think I'd like to be married before I'm 30 and no one else will want me!’

"Mal replied ‘Yeah 30, old wrinkled, you might as well take up knitting and buy a cat!’

"That's when something inside me said ‘pick up the bagel and get down on one knee!’

"I did and said ‘As I am going to be old wrinkled and on the shelf soon, I thought I may try! Mal you are the biggest pain in the butt that I have ever lived with and the last eight years have been filled with love and nightmares but we made it, will you marry me?’

"Mal did the whole fake 'I wasn't expecting that' move and said ‘you spoke the words that mean everything to me, you are the biggest nightmare to live with, you never pick up after yourself and nag my ears off of course I will marry you!’

"I put the bagel on his finger and nothing else was said about it that night. I'm still slightly annoyed that he didn't return my bagel as I was enjoying eating it!

"We booked the wedding at the local registry office for six weeks’ time, we had a rockabilly wedding… big hair, lots of make up, lots of laughs and no tears. Mal got married in new rock boots, jeans and shirt with a skull on.

"The first dance wasn't sloppy but Jack Rabbit Slims from Pulp Fiction and we even wrote our own vows. At the reception we didn't have a top table, we had homemade banners and a black biker wedding cake, the day was definitely unique just like the proposal!"

Before you even THINK about proposing on 29th February, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you discussed marriage with your partner?

  • Have you agreed how you’ll solve issues that might arise?

  • Do you share the same goals for the future?

  • Are you equally committed to reaching them?

  • Are you happy in your relationship?

  • Do you trust your partner?

  • Have you discussed children - and do you agree on whether or not they are in your future?

You need to make sure that every single answer is a yes before popping the question.

Otherwise, try using this Leap Year to discuss your future together; that way, you can decide whether or not marriage is truly on the cards.

Would you propose to your partner?

Let us know via Facebook or Twitter (@CloserOnline).

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