Ladies… Thinking of a Leap Year Wedding Proposal?

Although you may have thought it was a myth, according to the old Irish tradition, the leap year is the perfect chance for a woman to take matters into her own hands and get down on one knee.

You may or may not know that 2020 is a leap year. If you do, then you may or may not know about the legend of St Patrick and why he brought about this somewhat random Irish tradition of a Leap Year Wedding Proposal. Although a well known topic, it is apparent that very little is known about how this tradition came about. We dug a little deeper and find out why it was decided that women could propose to men on Leap Day, during the course of a Leap Year. The truth is quite surprising.

It All Began With St. Patrick

The science of how they calculate a leap year is quite complicated to understand but how did the tradition of women proposing to men on Leap Day came about. There are various versions of the story but most seem to suggest that the tradition began in 5th century Ireland when Saint Patrick and St Brigid struck an accord. They decided that to balance the traditional roles of men and women in society, women would be able to propose to men on Leap Day (February 29th). This would apparently reflect the way the Leap Year balances our calendar.

A Fine for Those Who Said No

This is where it gets a bit interesting. There are many variations of the consequences facing the man if he was to decline the proposal. These fines and forfeits were introduced:

  • The man must buy the lady 12 pairs of gloves (to hide the embarrassment of not bearing a ring).
  • The man must buy a silk dress for the lady.
  • The man should pay the lady £1
  • The man should pay the lady a kiss

Weddings at TLH Leisure Resort

We’ve had many happy couples tying the knot here at TLH and see couples returning to celebrate their anniversaries with us which is great! In order to celebrate Leap Year wedding proposals, wedding co-ordinator Joss Smith ( is offering a complimentary Champagne Breakfast to any bride-to-be who proposes to their partners this Leap Year and marries at TLH during the Summer of 2021 plus we have a great wedding package available. We’d love to hear if you’ve proposed and how you did it so get in touch and share your story with us.

outdoor weddings in Torquay

Anything Goes

After learning about Leap Year wedding proposals and how they came to be, no doubt that in today’s diverse society, women shouldn’t have to wait for a Leap Day or year to propose, if they feel the time is right for them. It definitely seems like anything goes! Take a look at our wedding blogs for inspiration!

What are your thoughts? Ladies, would you propose? Guys, how would you feel about being proposed to? Comment below to join the debate.

Sally Starling

Sally Starling

Marketing Assistant at TLH Leisure Resort
Second generation full 'Torquinian'. Passionate netballer, big fan of the great outdoors and all things unusual.
Sally Starling

2 Replies to “Ladies… Thinking of a Leap Year Wedding Proposal?”

  1. Looking back through ancient Irish history, it is said that the tradition began in 5th century Ireland when St. Brigid of Kildare bitterly complained to St. Patrick that women had to wait far too long for men to propose. Patrick decreed the women could propose on this one day in February during the leap year. While relaxing, ask him to get you something out the kitchen, like a drink or napkins. While he’s up, he’s likely to ask you if you need anything else. Say, “Yes, for you to spend the rest of your life with me.” Walk into the kitchen, get down on one knee and ask him to marry you. Leap Day has its own brand of magic.

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