A fairytale proposal on stage at a West Sussex theatre on Saturday (November 28) exceeded the wildest dreams of the emotional bride-to-be.
Martin Bracewell dropped to one knee to ask Becca Attfield to marry him at the Capitol theatre in Horsham - the venue where he first laid eyes on her, and on the final night of the show the pair were performing in.
The couple, who live in Three Bridges, are members of Horsham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (HAODS), and Martin proposed at the end of the society’s ‘White Christmas’ show in front of the shocked cast and audience.
Becca said: “When you’re a kid and you think about being proposed to, it was exactly like that but better. I am very lucky, he is quite a charmer!”
It is believed to be the first on stage proposal at the new Capitol since the theatre was redeveloped in 2004.
After the final production, Becca, 26, was handed a bouquet of roses and Martin, 28, began to make a speech about her.
He then cued the band to play Beauty and the Beast before popping the question - and her response was accompanied by a confetti cannon firing across the stage.
Becca said: “We had done the show, and essentially we do a bow and the curtain drops. But this time the curtain didn’t drop and someone came and handed me a bunch of roses.
“I don’t really remember much of what he said because I triggered something was going to happen.
“He cued the band to play Beauty and the Beast, one of my favourite Disney films. I was in bits at this point, and then he got down on one knee.”
The North Street theatre has played a vital role in the couple’s relationship.
Martin was in the audience at the Capitol when he first saw Becca - she was starring in HAODS’ production of The Mikado in April 2012 and was dressed as a sumo wrestler.
He was looking to join a drama group and signed up for HAODS, where they met.
Their first date took place just across the road from the theatre, at the Black Jug pub.
With her family in the audience and her HAODS friends filling the stage, Becca, who grew up in Horsham, said she was spared the hassle of working out who she needed to tell.
She added: “All my family were in the audience and all his family came down from Manchester to see the show.
“HAODS is my second family and I spend most of my life with them. I have grown up with them, but I never thought I would meet the person I would marry through HAODS.
“I wasn’t expecting him to propose for quite a while so it was just disbelief. It went seamlessly, I don’t know how he pulled it off.”
Martin revealed that his meticulously planned operation involved keeping it a secret from most of the cast.
He said: “It was a top secret mission, very much a need to know basis.
“I was talking to the audience and it could have come across as a bit of an ego trip.
“I wanted the flowers to notify the cast that something a bit different was going on, it wasn’t just me losing my marbles and going on a rant.”
He added that the proposal ‘couldn’t have gone any better’.
He said: “HAODS brings people together and forms a community and that is where I met her and our relationship developed from there.
“The Capitol is a special place to the two of us. With our family there and the emotion, it seemed like the perfect time.”
Martin thanked staff at the Capitol for ensuring the lighting and special effects were spot on.
And although the theatre has played an important role in their relationship, he ruled out the prospect of tying the knot at the venue, insisting the couple would have a traditional church wedding.
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