Leap Year Day: 'I planned an £800K marriage proposal'

image source, Natalie Jennings

If you hadn't noticed - it's leap year day.

Yep, the one day when people whose birthdays happen to fall on February 29 actually get to celebrate it, there's a Scottish tradition that it might be a day of bad luck, and women are reportedly more likely to pop the question.

Because - even though it's 2020 and we're meant to be living in an age of equality - there's a still a lot of chat online about women seizing the chance to buck tradition and be the ones to go down on one knee.

And it seems where's there's romance, there's money to be made.

Welcome to the proposal industry - a sector apparently becoming bigger and more bling than ever before.

Imagine the most OTT, Disney-themed Love Island-style date night and add a dash of 'good for the gram' heart filters.

Daisy Amodio is a proposal planner - someone who actually organises peoples' marriage proposals. She thinks reality TV and social media play a "massive role" in how people now propose to their partners.

image source, Daisy Amodio
image captionDaisy Amodio charges a minimum of £1,000 to plan your proposal

She founded her company nine years ago and has planned more than 1700 proposals.

"1,600 of them have had a photographer or videographer there to capture the moment and put on Instagram to show everyone.

"So people are conscious of that."

She says seeing the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West - where Kanye proposed in a massive baseball field with fireworks, an orchestra and huge signs - has inspired people to want something similar.

"And because of social media, people are wanting to show how they got engaged and want more of a story."

image source, Zak - Epic Moments
image captionOne of the more elaborate weddings planned by Daisy

The average cost of a wedding in Britain is estimated at £30,000 - and marriage proposals are now also becoming occasions to spend big money on, with people going to ever more extreme lengths to declare their love.

For those who aren't confident to create their own Sleeping Beauty style proposal, there's always options - there's even a spike in 'placeholder' rings being sold in Poundland.

And that special touch can take you a long way from the kind of of money spent in a typical Poundland.

Try £800,000 - that's the amount Daisy was paid to plan the most elaborate proposal she's ever done.

It spanned seven countries, involved a castle and an elaborate "will you marry me?"

"He initially said he wanted their faces beamed onto the Eiffel Tower, which obviously wasn't possible. So instead, we hired Disneyland Paris for them and beamed their faces onto the castle.

image source, The Paris Photographer
image captionThe Disneyland Paris stage of the £800,000 proposal

"They went on a private jet to seven different countries that were meaningful to them. And in each country they had their faces beamed on to a certain iconic place."

It ended up in the Niagara Falls.

"We had their faces beamed onto that - and then it said: 'Will you marry me?'"

But Daisy says there's still a problem with proposals generally - there aren't enough women proposing.

"99.9% are men. We've only ever had six women proposing.

"So it's not enough in this day and age. Women should be able to propose wherever they want and whenever they want."

image source, David Christopher Photography
image captionIconic landmarks are a regular place for proposals according to Daisy

But in a leap year - and on 29 February - the likelihood of women proposing increases.

That's because of a leap day tradition dating back to the 5th century where instead of men, women would propose to their loved ones. And there's evidence to suggest this is still a thing.

According to Google Trends, 'men's engagement rings' received an average of 14,800 searches per month in 2019.

Daisy says she thinks there's a stigma attached around women proposing.

"Traditionally it's guys who propose, and the girls have always thought about their dream proposal.

"Even in films, can you think of many films where women propose to men?"

image source, The Proposers
image captionDestination marriage proposals are a big thing according to Daisy

She adds that she has proposals by women planned for 29 February - and the women are "really nervous".

"It's gotten a bit out of control, I don't think it should be a tradition anymore. Women should propose whenever they want.

"Not just because I'm a proposal planner. Because I'm a woman too. And I really believe that women should be able to do what they want."

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