Proposals & Weddings

Leap Year Proposal: How To Propose To A Man

Written by
Sarah-Jane Santos (DGA - Design Consultant & Gemmologist)

One of Queensmith's first in-house gemmologists, Sarah-Jane has a keen eye for aesthetics having worked for a decade in the fashion industry in Sydney. Her passion lies in crafting timeless heriloom pieces that blend continuity and sentimentality.

February 15th, 2024 • 8 min read

With the last leap year taking place in 2020, many people will be excited for the one day that comes around four years when it’s deemed ‘acceptable’ for a woman to propose to her other half.

Whilst some women may take this opportunity to control the direction of their relationship and ask that all-important question, Queensmith asked their Instagram followers how many women would propose on a leap year to find that only 3% would await February 29th. Meanwhile, as many as 36% said they would propose anytime, any year, despite societal norms and traditions. We love that!

Though every couple will decide how to approach this time in their life differently, Queensmith has shared tips to help women pull off their proposals on February 29… or anytime it feels right. Who said we have to wait around for a man to ask us?

5 tips for women thinking about proposing:

1. Be prepared for any outcome

It’s quite a daunting yet exciting time planning a fabulous proposal, but be sure you’re both on the same page before going all steam ahead.

It’s important to take into account how you think your partner will feel at the thought of a proposal. A staggering 84% of men said they want to be the one to propose, so it's worth trying to figure out if you might be stepping on their toes, and whether they have a proposal planned already. That said, what's to stop you both from proposing? Double proposals are a common trend where both partners plan separate proposals for each other.

Keep the topic broad by discussing a recent engagement that’s happened - whether this is someone you both know or a celebrity- and lead the way of the conversation around this. Finding out your partner's views on marriage will help you decide whether a proposal is the right next step for you as a couple.

2. Choose the perfect location

Unless you want to, there’s no need to splash all your cash on an extravagant proposal location. Instead, find a meaningful location that has significance for you both as a couple.

Whether that’s taking your partner to the first place you ever met, going back to the restaurant where you shared your first ‘I love you’s’ or somewhere that has history, making the setting as personal, private, and intimate as possible will create that perfect romantic and special environment.

For those wanting an even more low-key spot, you can even propose in your home. Deck the room out with beautiful candles, music, and roses to change the feel of the space, whilst being somewhere comfortable and private.

Take the time to also think about the time and date of the proposal. Are you going to plan on doing it on an anniversary or a day that has meaning or sentiment? Proposing on February 29th is a lot like picking a rare wedding date. It stands out for its novelty and sentimentality, offering the allure of a rare engagement date compared to others.

Of course, it’s not just about the place, it’s all about your connection and the beautiful words you speak to them, but a gorgeous and thought-about location can set the tone for the proposal.

3. Don’t let others determine your decision

Hopefully your friends and family like your partner and will be ecstatic with the news of the proposal. But, there are always going to be some people who like to force their opinions and expectations on you.

One of the biggest reasons for women not wanting to ask their partner to marry them is firstly due to traditional customs. Queensmith found that 84% of men said that they wanted to be the ones who proposed, whilst 79% of women liked tradition and dreamed of being proposed to.

Additionally, some women might hesitate because of social norms. According to some (quite frankly, outdated!) views, proposing can make the woman seem too assertive and unfeminine - which could emasculate their partner. While times and views are thankfully changing, some women may not propose due to fears of rejection, denting their partner's ego or fear.

Although it might seem intimidating for women to take the lead, if your loved one puts in significant effort to craft a special and romantic proposal, chances are they will say yes because they cherish you.

In regards to women wanting to experience their dream proposal, organising something special for your partner can feel just as rewarding and beautiful! And if you let them know you'd like something special in return, they'll probably be more than happy to plan to propose to you too.

4. Find out your partner's ring size

One of the most difficult parts in planning a proposal is finding your partner an engagement ring you think they’ll like, but also one that fits! You don’t necessarily have to propose to your partner with a ring; maybe you’d prefer to design your own engagement rings together, post-proposal. For more information on bespoke rings, our 6 steps to a custom engagement ring guide gives you information from expert jewellers.

But if you do choose to propose with a ring, there are multiple ways to do this - it just depends on how discrete you are.

Of course, it’s not always that simple, and your partner may not even own a ring. In this case, you still have plenty of options. Enlist family or friends to do some digging or take them ‘window shopping’, but make sure you’re subtle about it! If you're brave, you could try and measure their finger whilst they’re asleep but only do this if your partner’s a deep sleeper, or you risk your cover being blown.

Rest assured, a good jeweller can estimate your partner’s ring size according to their height and clothes size - plus a photo of their hand can help. Also, a great jeweller will offer free resizing as standard, so it isn’t the end of the world if you get it a little wrong.

You also don’t have to propose with a ring, consider a unique or classic gift for them to cherish as a symbol of your engagement. This could be a watch, another piece of jewellery or something else that resonates with their personality.

If you’d like some additional ideas on how to choose, our engagement ring buying guide helps to walk you through the process.

5. Decide what to say when you propose

Now the easiest part is done, you have to start preparing what you’re going to say when you propose. Some people may wish to wing it on the spot, but it’s always good to practise ahead of time so you’re not as likely to fumble your words from the nerves.

While no one expects you to draft a full-fledged script, jotting down notes outlining what you want to express during the proposal can boost your confidence on the big day.

Use this speech as an opportunity to tell your partner how much they mean to you and what you’re excited to do with them in the future. Remember, every couple is unique, so if you lean towards humorous and sarcastic speeches rather than overly romantic ones, go with what feels authentic to you.

Before the big day, rehearse your proposal in front of friends, family, a mirror, or even your pet!

It’s 2024 and gender roles are definitely evolving. We’ve witnessed an increasing number of women proposing to their boyfriends in recent years. It's so great to see women taking the lead and breaking traditional norms in such a meaningful way.


Get inspiration by Carys and Harry’s beautiful proposal story

We spoke to Harry and his partner Carys, who proposed to him last year, to share their thoughts and experiences around women proposing to men.

Talking about the proposal, Harry says, “Carys booked me a microlight flight experience as a birthday present, which is something I had been wanting to do for ages. When I was on my return flying over our house, I saw ‘MARRY ME?’ on a few large tarps pinned into the garden.

“Obviously I couldn’t say yes to her at the time because I was in the air, but the pilot heard me say ‘of course!’ because I was so excited.

“What made the surprise even better, was that it was so memorable and personal. The intention and message felt so special.”

When discussing Carys' decision to propose, Harry stated “We always discussed how we both would like to be ‘proposed to’ rather than it being just one of our decisions. I’ve always been all for women proposing, if you’re feeling it then why wait for someone else to do it for you? Our plan of making it a double-proposal turned into a shared feeling which we both really liked the idea of.”

Carys added “When I booked the flight, the proposal idea was never planned, the pilot didn’t even know I was doing it. It just felt like the perfect opportunity, although I was really nervous even though it was a given Harry would say yes.”

Discussing whether the proposal challenged their beliefs about gender roles. Harry stated, “We’re definitely not subscribed to any idea of gender roles or stereotypes in that sense.”

When asked by Queensmith for their advice to other couples considering a similar non-traditional proposal, Harry and Carys replied, "Don't overthink it! Whatever you do, it'll be memorable!"

Discover your dream engagement ring with Queensmith

Whether you know your partner inside out and want to surprise them with a beautiful engagement ring of your choice, or you want to design the perfect engagement ring at a later date, our expert jewellers at Queensmith are here to help.

Explore our ring guides for education and advice around engagement rings or book a consultation with one of our expert design consultants.

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