OK girls: today's the day. The one in 1461 when you can propose to the love of your life!
This rather charming, but possibly fruitless, tradition goes back to a time when 29 February had no recognition in English law (the day was 'leapt over' and ignored, hence 'leap year') meaning a break in tradition was acceptable. Apparently, in the 13th century, Queen Margaret of Scotland decreed that a woman had the right to propose to any single chap and, if he declined, she could claim a dress in compensation. Presumably the unsuccessful or successful - depending on your point of view - man didn't choose the outfit!
For any of you brave ladies who've popped the question, the adventure has only just begun. There are venues to be chosen, flowers to be ordered, caterers to be scrutinised...and then there's the music.
Where does one start when it comes to deciding what sort of band would be most appropriate for the reception and (particularly for a church service) whether there should be an alternative or addition to an organist, with or without a choir? Often these decisions can be influenced by the ethnic background of one or both parties, or by them having lived and worked abroad. An agency such as ours with a vast range of world music and dance acts on the books, together with a terrific choice of top class covers bands and classical musicians, can be a useful one-stop shop when these potentially daunting but vitally important decisions are being made.
If they want a Gospel choir or fanfare trumpeters at their service, if they want wandering acoustic performers playing during the wedding breakfast, and if they want a Rat Pack tribute or a group covering the 50s to the noughties (something for the Mums and Dads, Aunts and Uncles, girls and boys...you get the drift) at their evening reception, they only have to ask. Favourite songs can be requested and, just as this year "Marriage Proposal" masterclasses were being offered for the more hesitant members of the female population, "First Dance" lessons can be arranged to spare any embarrassment and ensure that the happy couple live the Strictly Come Dancing dream for a few photographable moments.
So, as that's taken care of, it's over to you ladies. Good luck if you're thinking about popping the question. Will you...?