On 29 February, we expect the onslaught of adverts and articles telling women the world over: “This is the day you’re allowed to propose.”
If you’re popping the question today, more power to you – we sincerely hope it goes well. But in 2020, the idea that a woman has to wait for her one day in four years feels outdated and decidedly heteronormative.
So, we asked five women who proposed to their partners how they did it and why they’re glad they didn’t wait for February.
‘I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve done’
Sophie North, 29, decided to propose to her partner Eliot Ruocco-Trenouth in August 2018, on his 27th birthday – just before their 7th anniversary. While speculating in conversation that Eliot might propose on their upcoming holiday, a friend made a throwaway comment that she could always do it if he didn’t.
“That sowed the seed and now, here we are!” says Sophie, who lives in London. “I’m almost annoyed with myself that it took my friend’s comment to make me think about proposing to Eliot – I think of myself as someone who doesn’t blindly follow tradition, but I really hadn’t thought of it at all.”
Eliot is an animator and illustrator, so Sophie wrote a proposal speech and asked a talented friend to animate it for her. “I didn’t actually have to speak any words, which was a massive bonus as I was in tears as soon as he started watching the video,” she says. “He was shocked – he had absolutely no idea it was about to happen – but really happy.”
The pair are due to tie the knot with a low-key ceremony later this year and since proposing, Sophie has “strong feelings” about women only proposing on 29 February. “Why do we only get one day every four years when it’s ‘acceptable?’” she asks. “I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve done, and can recommend it to anyone.”
‘People should feel free to propose, simply because they want to’