As the wedding party was asked if they knew any reason why John and Gemma could not be joined in matrimony, the registrar replied: “No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”
Yes - it was a Monty Python wedding complete with a dead parrot, lumberjack sketch and neon sign urging: ‘Always look on the bright side of life.’
John Wood and his fiance Gemma Harris from East Grinstead spent a year planning their Python wedding to coincide with the programme’s 50th birthday.
Eventually, on Saturday, October 5 Gemma walked up the aisle at Ravenswood near Sharpthorne to the theme music which ends with an explosive ‘anal salute.’ From then on, John said: “It was a total blast.”
The party sang ‘All Things Dull and Ugly’ during the ceremony during which, instead of saying “I will” John responded “Perhaps - Oh all right then.” The ring was handed over by the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. As soon as the register was signed, John picked Gemma up and ran out of the room with her.
The wedding breakfast comprised ‘salmon mouse,’ Spam, ‘strawberry tart without so much rat in it’ (from the Dead Bishop sketch) and Whizzo chocolates.
John had written to the remaining Pythons and female lead Carol Cleveland. Michael Palin replied saying: “I hope the marriage lasts as long as Monty Python and is just as silly.”
And although Carole had declined an invitation, to John’s astonishment, she turned up to the ceremony, eating Spam for the first time in her life.
During the reception John, his best man and two male guests performed ‘Sit On My Face’ from ‘Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl’ dressed as waiters with long aprons and no underpants. Guests drooled over the themed exhibition including more than 100 Pythonesque signs and images. A ‘16-ton’ weight hung overhead, there was a silly walk zone, a nine-foot dead parrot and an albatross on an ice cream tray. Also there, a tank of fish with human faces from ‘Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life’s’ opening scene.
A ‘conversation card’ menu gave people options of things to talk about including the Franco-Prussian Alliance of 1821 or Australian table wines. And of course there was the chance to visit the argument clinic. John’s verdict? “Everyone told us it was the best wedding they had ever been to! It was such a pleasure to hear but it was quite overwhelming!”