From punting trips to televised proposals, find out how Cambridge's romantics wooed their college spouses.
Cambridge provides one golden opportunity besides its academic excellence and beautiful architecture: a marriage with no strings attached. College marriages are a slightly bizarre approach by welfare to helping new students settle in. Freshers are placed within a ‘family’ of older students who help them out in their first couple of weeks. Few places uphold tradition quite like Cambridge so, before you can get kids, you need to be married first.
This is no mean feat: college marriages ceremonies occur during the Lent and Easter terms depending on your college. Freshers have but matter of weeks to win over the platonic man or woman of their dreams. This is where the all important proposal comes in. While most stick to the Haribo ring or drunken Cindies proposals, others get a little more imaginative when it comes to wooing their college spouses.
A more risky strategy was adopted by a love-struck Downing student who had his future wife led to Parker’s Piece at sunset only to be serenaded by a cellist in black tie and given a cake from Patisserie Valerie. The catch? He was stark naked with ‘Be Mine’ iced over his chest. The threat of indecent exposure can bring a scintillating rush to any proposal.
For the more traditional Cambridge student, a Magdalene undergrad created a treasure hunt for the object of his platonic affection. It sent her throughout the city culminating at the Cam. There she was confronted with the knee-weakening sight of her future husband strumming on the guitar while reclining in a punt.
Any regular UL frequenter will recognise the picturesque terrace along the river at Trinity Hall. Its peaceful views of tourists ramming each other in punts or students desperately trying to cycle over ‘Orgasm Bridge’ would be enough to set most hearts aflutter. Yet in the hazy early evening, one Tit Hall student put on a three course meal by the Cam to charm his girl where he popped the question in the moonlight to a violin accompaniment.
Tit Hall must be living up to its romantic name as another student’s love was so strong that he threw all concern for fire safety to the wind. His passion burned quite literally as his beloved looked out of her window only to find ‘Marry Me’ laid out in candles on one of the ancient lawns. Let us only hope that the porters did not hear of his reckless abuse of health and safety law.
At Caius things took a more dramatic turn. One admirer staged a proposal involving champagne, roses and, every 15 year old girl’s dream, a speech from The Notebook. The only issue was that she was already engaged. Blown away by the promise of a quasi Ryan Gosling, she jilted her original man. Her first betrothed naturally tried to upstage his rival. He persuaded the waiters to let him stop hall while he emerged on the balcony professing his undying love to his two-timing fiancée. A row of girls had been arranged opposite this lucky woman who then held up cards declaring ‘Marry Me’. All is indeed fair in love and war.
Good connections come in handy in all walks of life including college proposals. One Corpus student happened to be family friends with Britain’s Got Talent star, Piers Morgan. He called in a favour and persuaded Piers to hold up a sign on live TV, declaring his intentions.
Romance is not dead after all. Every college has its own platonic love story ranging from the inspired to the simply bizarre. All you need is a creative mind, a tender disposition and a boldness bordering on insanity.