IT COMES around once every four years, a leap year tradition when women pop the question to their men - and one romance planner wants to help it along in a big way later this month.
Unforgettable Proposals founder and Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur finalist Samantha Davies will host a 'pop-up proposal' in Sydney on February 28 for ladies who want to turn the tables on their partners.
The couples will arrive at private romantic set-ups at a secret location and hopefully leave engaged. After a quick photography session, they will celebrate with other couples at a cocktail party.
According to Celtic tradition, a man who is proposed to on leap day on February 29 must accept the offer.
Davies says about 50 couples will participate in the pop-up proposal. She says the event has attracted an older demographic of women who have been previously married or have a more relaxed attitude about proposing compared to their younger counterparts.
"It can be quite daunting for women to do this, so we thought we'd make it a bit of a celebration with the other couples," Davies says.
"At first we were worried about how some people might take it or if there'd be any interest, but we've found the response to be positive."
Davies came up with the concept after being inspired by the pop-up wedding trend. Instead of a lavish affair, couples tie the knot in a shorter, intimate ceremony then celebrate at a cocktail party after.
The pop-up proposal will also be televised on Channel Nine, providing invaluable publicity for the small business.
Unforgettable Proposals was launched in 2013, while Davies was working at a hotel and inundated with guest requests to help create the perfect proposal setting.
The business has achieved consistent growth, starting with a few proposals a month to about five a week.
Indecisive partners can select a pre-made package, or the team can help bring a client's elaborate ideas to life based on their love story, a location or favourite things. The proposal process can take anywhere from a day to four weeks to put together.
The Gold Coast-based Davies says she has a small team of sub-contractors to keep pace with demand, with the majority of the work now coming from Sydney.
"I'm more involved in the concept and creating the package, and the team are there to coordinate it on the day," she says.
"I have a team in Sydney working for me now, so they handle a lot of jobs there and I will work a lot of the jobs on the Gold Coast and up north.
"When I first started, I thought it would mainly be on the Gold Coast, but about 90 per cent is based in Sydney so I hired someone to look after that market."
The cost for each proposal depends on inclusions, with a picnic package around the $500 mark while an elaborate occasion with luxury boat and fireworks could set you back up to $20,000.
Davies says the team has planned more than 300 proposals with a 100 per cent success rate, but they still get 'nervous' about every job.
"We had this great couple last year, where we planned a puzzle treasure hunt around Sydney," she says.
"We hid the pieces around the city and she collected them all and arrived at the final location to put it together. The puzzle said 'will you marry me?' and they finished off with a candlelit dinner."
Unforgettable Proposals is also attracting interest from gay and lesbian couples, as well as partners who want to plan a romantic date or anniversary celebration.
Davies says the ultimate goal would be to expand to other cities such as Melbourne and Perth, as well as launch a product line to complement the proposal service.
"We'd love to grow across all the states and dominate the Australian market in romance," she says.
"It's definitely the best job in the world. We're there for their most intimate moment, creating it, putting it together and transforming rooms with romantic dinners."
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