The Catz out of the bag at ball

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The diners present at the banqueting hall at St Catz ball bore witness to an especially momentous occasion in the lives of a young couple on Saturday, as Mark Curtis, a second year DPhil student at St Catz, proposed to his girlfriend of ten months, Nadia Smith.

Curtis climbed onto the table holding a wedding ring as a drum roll erupted across the room on the final note of Elton John’s “Your Song” performed by acappella group, the Oxford Alternotives.

Nathan Jones, St Catz Ball Committee President, said, “Mark and Nadia’s engagement was an amazing moment. This heartwarming and poignant gesture was the icing on the cake of a stunning banquet, and we send our very best wishes to the happy couple – and wish them all the best for a very special wedding day”.

Curtis, who had been planning to propose for three months, arranged the proposal beforehand with the Entz team at St Catz, and attended rehearsals with the Oxford Alternotives.

“He asked her to marry him loud enough so that most could hear and Nadia looked so happy. Nadia said yes and the whole hall was filled with rapturous applause whilst the couple shared a kiss,” commented Olivia Cooley, a member of the band.

Curtis said, “She was a little taken aback and remained completely fixated on me – not really noticing all the singers and drum rolls! But she didn’t hesitate in saying yes.”

A whirlwind romance began between the couple after an international Maths conference in Oxford, as Smith, a PhD student at the University of Madrid, was delayed in the UK as a result of the Icelandic volcano eruption in April last year. 

Smith said, “Although the volcano was so disruptive to so many people, I was secretly glad to be stuck in Oxford with Mark!

“Even if there wasn’t a volcano I would have probably found some other excuse.”

“It feels awesome and totally the right thing to do. I knew a few months into our relationship that he was definitely the one, so it was either wait three years and get engaged later in life or just do it now; I’m really impatient so did it now.

Cooley expressed her best wishes for the newly engaged couple. “It was amazing! It was so lovely to witness.

“His gratitude [to the group] was so nice because if you ask me he had the most nerve-wracking role to play! Mark and Nadia make a lovely couple.”

The wedding is scheduled to take place in Spain later this year.

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