A crack team of undercover operatives has been assembled by a top hotel as it prepares to assist in surprise proposals this leap year.
The hand-picked crew are being made available between now and February 29 to assist with anybody planning to pop the question at the four-star Abbey House Hotel and Gardens in Cumbria.
And their services will be open to both men and women, in a departure from tradition which states leap year day is the chance for ladies pop the question.
Hotel Operations Director, Brian Conroy (pictured) said, “There’s something very special about a proposal on February 29. Of course tradition dictates it should be the woman who asks the big question, but we believe this four-yearly occurrence should be there for all couples to take advantage of.
“I have handpicked a team of discreet, experienced and dynamic hotel colleagues who will be on hand to help anyone who wishes to make the Abbey House Hotel and Gardens the venue for their proposal.”
The team will work with anybody planning to pop the question to ensure logistics on the day are perfect. And they will try to accommodate special requests, providing they are not too wacky.
Because this year, February 29 falls on a Saturday, it creates the perfect excuse for a non-suspicious evening out, paving the way for unexpected proposals.
Leap year day proposals have their history in Ireland where February 29 is called Bachelor's Day. The Irish tradition ‘allows for women to initiate dances and propose marriage’.
If the proposal was refused the man was expected to buy the woman a silk gown or, by the mid-20th century, a fur coat. The tradition is said to originate from a deal that Saint Bridget struck with Saint Patrick.
“Of course society has moved on significantly since then,” said Conroy. “But February 29 nevertheless creates an opportunity for anyone to make a statement proposal.
“We would be absolutely thrilled to share in such a special moment. Our undercover team are briefed - and on hand to help.”
The hotel, which sits among 14 acres of gardens and woodland, is an award-winning wedding venue and is almost fully booked for 2020. It is also home to the critically acclaimed AA Rosette Oscars Restaurant and Bar, which proved to be very popular over Valentine's weekend.