"In the end, I knew I just had to ask him," says Krista.
Legend has it that back in 5th century Ireland, St. Bridget begged St. Patrick to give women the chance to propose marriage to the man of their choice. She believed it was taking longer and longer for men to propose marriage and thus felt it unfair to force women to wait so long. After listening to her plea, St. Patrick decided that women would have that chance, but once every four years on Leap Day.
There are many traditions associated with Leap Day. First off, it was believed that a woman could only propose marriage on Leap Day while wearing a red petticoat. It was believed that the colour red was a symbol of love, warmth, passion and fertility (qualities every guy wanted to make sure his soon-to-be-wife possessed). Second, it was believed that if a man said “no” he would have to buy the woman who proposed a silk dress and pair of silk gloves (so she could cover up the embarrassment of being without an engagement ring).
While most of those traditions are no longer practiced (and barely remembered) the act of a woman proposing to the man of her choice is one idea that’s been carried through the ages. We talked to a few Canadian ladies who took it upon themselves to pop the question. Here are three stories of women who thought, like St. Bridget, it was time to turn the tables on their men.
<strong>Krista & Andrew</strong><br />
"Andrew and I met in the fall of 2009 and it truly was love at first sight. We knew within weeks of knowing each other that nothing was going to keep us apart, and we just had to be together. As our friendship grew, so did our love and admiration for each other and each day we found we had more and more in common," says Krista. <br />
"I felt as though getting married wasn't necessary and I think Andrew finally accepted my reluctance, however, my desire to be fully committed to him forever was a constant thought of mine," she explains. <br />
"After many hours of researching men’s engagement rings and proposals, I DID IT! I purchased a simple, yet masculine, men’s white gold diamond ring and on Wednesday November 15th while he was working away in our home office I slipped the jewellery box onto the desk in front of him," says Krista.<br />
"His first reaction was 'What did you buy yourself?' and I just continued to smile. He could sense my excitement and opened the box to find it was actually a ring for him. I asked him to marry me and of course he said 'YES'. We spent the remainder of the evening chatting with our family and closest friends, telling them the good news," she adds.<br />
"Andrew and I will be married on Wednesday December 12, 2012 at Mont Tremblant in Quebec City -- a very important location for us," says Krista. "I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else; my true love and my very best friend."<br />
<i>Photo courtesy of Claire Lachance from <a href="http://stillmomentsphotography.ca/" target="_blank">Still Moments Photography</a>.</i>
"In the end, I knew I just had to ask him," says Krista.
“In the end, I knew I just had to ask him,” says Krista.
<strong>Joanna & Darren</strong><br />
"I had moved away from Ontario to Halifax for work and school in June of 2001 and Darren was actually the very first single man that I met in Halifax," says Joanna. "I was attending a staff appreciation party with my friend Deb and Darren was working as the manager on duty. I knew the moment we shook hands that he would be my husband!"<br />
"Before the night ended I approached him and asked if he had just enough time for a dance. I had never seen jaws drop so quickly! He did indeed dance with me and we began dating immediately with thoughtful picnics to Peggy's Cove in the dead of winter and wacky fun dates on a friend's motorcycle in the rain," recalls Joanna.<br />
"Only five months in to our relationship Darren proposed in an informal but very genuine way. I rejected his proposal as I had been engaged twice before but within a month or two ended both relationships. I explained that I didn't feel ready but that I would let him know when it was time," she adds.<br />
"Over the next few months our love blossomed and our friendship strengthened and I knew that I wanted to marry him. We talked about what we would name our children and made all the typical future plans together. As Christmas drew closer and the one-year mark closed in, I decided after having a couple of gentlemen choose me, it was time that I did the choosing instead," she explains. <br />
"Darren arrived home at about 4am after a very long shift on Christmas Eve. I had decorated the Christmas tree with handmade paper hearts while he was at work and on one of those hearts I had written my proposal. He noticed the heart as soon as he got home," says Joanna. "He came running in as happy as I've ever seen him. 'Of course I will marry you!' he shouted as he jumped on the bed, waking me from a deep sleep. He was as happy as he could be and so was I. He loved his ring and it fit perfectly."<br />
<i>Joanna St. Jacques is a wedding photographer who owns and operates <a href="http://www.stjacquesphotography.com/" target="_blank">St. Jacques Photography</a>. Her studio is located in Hamilton, Ontario.</i>
"I'm never embarrassed to tell people that I proposed to him because he was the best choice I've ever made," says Joanna.
“I’m never embarrassed to tell people that I proposed to him because he was the best choice I’ve ever made,” says Joanna.
<strong>Corrie & Erik</strong><br />
"Erik and I met about eight years ago when he joined the fitness club I worked at," says Corrie. "Now, I'm not your typical girl. I didn't dream of fairy tales and happily ever after, and marriage was never on my mind. Over the next two years every time Erik came into the club I would turn red. I would find any excuse to talk to him. The fact we had mutual friends in common tortured me because he was always around! One night, we all went out and my life was forever changed. I was forever changed. For the first time I knew what it meant to be a girl with butterflies. I had that kind of excitement every time I saw him. Everything I thought I knew or believed flew out the window. We were inseparable from that night on. Within a month we were living together, diving head first into something more special than either of us imagined. We are more than two people in love, we are best friends."<br />
"Four fabulous years later and I got this crazy notion to flip the tables on Erik. I wanted to turn his world on its head like he'd done to mine," she explains. "For the next year I drove family and co-workers crazy with my planning. It had to be perfect! The date was set for November 8, 2011, and the rings were purchased. I also made a slide show of all of our special moments and people we've shared them with over the past five years, featuring an instrumental version of 'Marry Me' by Train."<br />
"On his birthday I had a limo with a picnic basket full of his favourite treats pick him up at work and bring him to me," says Corrie. "I rented a presidential suite at the Sheraton in Niagara Falls. I had the room and mood set. Of course anyone that knows Erik, knows that when Erik saw the basket of food and the bed it took me a while to convince him to stop lounging and go along with my plans. I was a nervous wreck as the minutes ticked by, and trust me when I say I felt every single one of them. Finally, I couldn't wait anymore. The moment of truth arrived. We watched the slide show and as I fumbled for the ring I'd hidden under the sofa, I cried and stumbled my way through the craziest, scariest most exhilarating experience I've ever had. Erik's reaction and response was more than I hoped for."<br />
"We have now been engaged for a few months. We are happy and blessed to have each other and our families. We are just two simple people who were lucky enough to find what others sometimes spend their lives hoping to," says Corrie.
"The first time I laid eyes on him, I was a 'smitten kitten'," says Corrie.