Leap Day Proposals

Happy Leap Day!

February 29, 2024

Every four years, we add a day to the calendar to account for the fact the Earth does not complete an orbit around the sun in exactly 365 days. This ‘Leap Day’ is a day to compensate for this time difference and to prevent our seasons from shifting later and later into the year. Historically, Leap Day was also part of a tradition to compensate for something else; A woman’s desire to choose her own partner in marriage when she otherwise had no say of her own.

“He loves the Ring!”- Greta

Can a woman propose to a man? In the past, this type of proposal was relegated to that rare Leap Day. Accounts vary regarding the origin of this tradition, though some say it began in the fifth century when St. Brigid of Kildare gave counsel and comfort to many single young women whose sweethearts just wouldn’t pop the big question. St. Brigid demanded St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, address the problem. St. Patrick suggested that women be allowed to propose only once every seven years, but this did not satisfy Brigid. She pressed on, and finally, Patrick allowed for proposals from women every Leap Day. Clever Brigid immediately dropped to one knee and asked for St. Patrick’s hand in marriage. Needless to say, Patrick refused her offer but gifted her with a beautiful silk gown to take the sting out of his rejection. Ever since then, Irish tradition instructs that if a man refuses his lover’s Leap Day proposal, he must give her a silk gown.

Wandering the cliffs, as one does, in your Leap Day rejection gown.

Another legend comes out of Scotland: In 1288, an unmarried Queen Margaret created a law that allowed a woman to propose to a man on Leap Day. Should he refuse the proposal, and be unable to prove his engagement to another young lady, he would be assessed a fine. (Though he should have seen it coming– This law also dictated that the proposer wear a red petticoat in order to warn her intended.) 

Historians dispute both these accounts for a variety of reasons, but what we know for certain is this tradition is outdated! Today, everyone is empowered to make their own proposal regardless of gender, and definitely regardless of the day. If your heart is telling you that you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, what’s stopping you from proposing? 

Proposals are for everyone:

They said yes! He said yes! She said yes!

At Green Lake Jewelry Works, we design every ring specific to each couple and individual, so we love that our clients are building their own traditions and memories when we craft their rings. If you are feeling a little stumped for ideas outside the traditional diamond solitaire engagement ring, or how to create a meaningful surprise, keep reading to get inspired.

1. Come to the Studio Together

Many Green Lake couples start their wedding journey together in our studio. Make it a night! Come in on an anniversary or before a dinner out with your partner. Try on designs and see what you both like. Creating your ring design together is a shared experience you’ll remember fondly whenever you see your ring.

2. Share a Motif or Theme in Your Designs

Make something matching, or make something complementary! There are no rules. Our designers will fit your sentimental stories into your ring with innovative design elements. Share the same shaped center stone, engrave your favorite sayings on each of your rings, or highlight a place you’ve been together. Custom design makes your ring personal! Check out our Best Rings of 2023 to see more examples of our most personalized custom ring designs.

3. Propose with a Simple Ring and Unique Gemstone or Diamond

Do you know your partner’s favorite color or gemstone for a ring? Start there! We can set a gemstone in a presentation mounting so you are ready to propose. You can then design your rings when you return to the studio together.

4. Celebrate Your Journey Together

A proposal can be whatever you want it to be! Celebrate your lives together with a hike to your favorite lookout, include your family in the surprise, or …..? You tell us! We love receiving photos from our couples’ proposals!