Happily ever disaster – how to have the perfect college marriage

Tom Ball & Naomi Polonsky offer some tips on proposals, picking ‘the one’ and strippers

Arriving at Oxford you might have been somewhat bemused when the kid in the year above you dropped into the conversation that he and his wife were heading to the pub later on.

This is the bizarre and unique tradition (in an institution already riddled with too many quirks to count) of the College Marriage. But rather than dropping your knees on the floor of Varsity in a moment of panic because your friend proposed to the girl you’d been eying up since the start of term, make the most of this most sacred of unions because, hey – it could be your last.

Spouse Selection

Don’t rush into it. You don’t want to be that guy that in a year’s time looks like a socially stunted recluse because you’re wracking your brains to think of two words to say to say to the person who is supposedly one of your closest pals.

The happy couple


Break away that well-trodden path of Black tie and Haribo rings. Be that legend that acquires a mythical status for generations of freshers to come for his pioneering proposal.

All 5 of these guys proposed to poor Lindsay

Ordinarily this is where the college marriage ends, but for those who are having serious concerns as to whether that knot will ever get tied for real, you can learn from our experience of a college marriage gone too far.

Stag Do/Hen Night

As is visible from these snaps, there was a slight disparity between the ways in which we chose to celebrate our last night of freedom.


While the blushing bride went for night of poundland tiaras and ‘Never Have I Ever’, the equally blushing groom had a quiet evening in with mates, beer and a stripper.


The Wedding

With your college as the perfect setting and entourage of happy well wishes in their Sunday best, it’s almost possible to convince yourself that this is the real deal. You will of course have to procure a priest, but a friend in a dog-collar will suffice.

Literally none of these people had anything better to do

A bit of drama is always welcome too: in an Eastenders style fashion, we had a friend of ours interrupt the ceremony with the revelation that the groom was already married to his sister – amazingly, this deterred neither the bride nor the priest.

Married life is treating us well as we write this from our honeymoon destination at a B&B in Jericho.

We await with eager anticipation the patter of tiny feet across the Teddy Hall quad in October.