An old Irish tradition collided with new technology last week when a Dawsonville woman took matrimony matters into her own hands and texted the question to her beau on Leap Day.
"We've talked about getting married a couple of times, but he knew I wasn't ready, and he said he'd wait," said Tammy Hession. "Then Leap Day happened and I knew about the tradition, but I had been reminded about it on Facebook, and I just decided to do it."
The tradition of women proposing on Feb. 29 dates back to 5th century Ireland, when St. Brigid of Kildare supposedly told St. Patrick that women had to wait too long for their suitors to propose.
Later, the Scots picked up the unconventional custom and went as far as to fine men that declined a proposal.
There will be no penalties for Hession's now fiancé Mark Mchan.
"My first text to him was, ‘you know I've been praying a lot.' And I told him I loved him," she said.
Mchan, who was at work where he couldn't talk on the phone, texted back.
"Well, you know it's Leap Day, so you have till the end of the day to ask.'"
Keeping with the unconventional, Hession's reply was a photo of a Taco Bell mild sauce packet with "will you marry me?" printed on the front.
"I know it's not traditional," Mchan said. "She had to text me, because she couldn't call and I wouldn't be home till after midnight because I work second shift."
Hession chimed in. "And then I would have missed the Leap Day."
The couple met just over a year ago, introduced by mutual friends at a birthday party.
Though neither was looking for love at the time, the planets aligned for them, they said.
"We'd never met each other all these years, and when we did, it was just the right time. We started seeing each other in March and have been together since," Hession said. "And we're very happy."
Mchan's three adult children are also happy the couple found each other.
"My daughter, she cried when I told her," he said.
His two sons are also planning to walk their future stepmother down the aisle.
"We all have bonded really well," said Hession, who does not have children of her own.
A few days after the proposal, the couple tossed several possible wedding dates in a bowl and had Mchan's youngest son Zachary pick one.
The wedding is set for Oct. 15 at Set Free Church in Dawsonville.
"I'm 46-years-old. I've never been married before, so I do want to have a nice wedding, nothing huge or anything, but I do want to take some time to plan it," Hession said. "Plus, we need to save a little bit."