couple holding hands with wedding rings

Take a leap with Dudley Registrars

Tomorrow is 29 February, the day for leap year proposals and Dudley Registrars are keen to act as host venue for any leap day proposals.

While these days there’s nothing to stop a woman proposing, this was rarely done in the past. An Irish tradition, which has since been adopted much more widely in the English-speaking world confers upon women the right to ask their suitor to marry them on 29 February.

Legend has it that St. Brigid of Kildare complained to St. Patrick that maidens had to wait too long for their suitors to ask for their hand and so St. Patrick decreed that on the extra day of a leap year, women could propose to men. This became known as Bachelor’s Day.

Irish monks took this tradition to Scotland and in 1288, Queen Margaret passed a law allowing women to propose to their chosen sweetheart on February 29. Any man who declined the proposal on this day would have to pay a fine of a silk gown, a kiss or 12 pairs of gloves, hiding the embarrassment of the lack of a wedding ring. The tradition spread throughout Western Europe and in time the tradition evolved.

It’s no longer taken seriously but adds a light-hearted touch to any proposals on 29 February.

Dudley Register Office and the Thomas Robinson building both offer ceremonies for any couple, whether or not they proposed on 29 February. 

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:

“We’re keen to hear from any couples who get engaged tomorrow and who choose one of our venues for their ceremony.

“Our registrars always make sure that every one of our couples feels special on their big day, but a leap year proposal is always something else.”

Anyone who proposes on 29 February is welcome to share their engagement pictures on the Dudley Registrars facebook and instagram pages. Search ‘DudleyRegisterOffice.

Contact Information

Dudley Council