On October 5th John Wood (East 1978) married Gemma Harris at a wedding at Sharpthorne in West Sussex which reflected the couple’s passion for all things Monty Python.
Wood founded a Python-inspired Facebook group called Pythonesque Dating after divorcing his first wife in 2010, in part because she “did not get all my [Python] references … I decided my next girlfriend had to really get it. It’s intellectual, it’s not just silly. I was on a couple of dating sites and would see people who had on their interests ‘I like Monty Python’ but then they’ve just seen one of the films. Forget about it.”
Gemma’s uncle saw an article in The Sun about the site and said she should go on it. She and Wood met as a result and five years later married.
They got engaged in front of Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin at a fundraiser after party. Palin sent them a wedding message saying: “I hope their marriage lasts as long as Monty Python, and is just as silly. Good wishes, Michael.”
The wedding took place 50 years to the day after the show’s first broadcast, two took two years to plan, and featured a mass of Pythonesque details.
Gemma walked down the aisle to the Python theme music, including the fart noise ending. “Then, we signed the register to the intermission music from Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” John said.
“There was a 9ft parrot, a handmade albatross, all sorts of things. We commissioned artists to make some of the props, but most things we did ourselves.”
The couple’s cake was topped with the pair dressed as lumberjacks and instead of cutting it the newlyweds squashed it with a foot. The rest of the menu followed the theme. “The salmon mousse is a reference to the salmon mousse which kills everybody at the end of The Meaning of Life,” John said. “And of course we had to have spam,” said Gemma. Dessert was “strawberry tart without so much rat in it”.
“It was all silly for the sake of it,” John said. “We thought that only about five per cent of the guests would understand all the references, but everybody kept telling us that it was the absolute best wedding they had ever been to.”
A huge neon sign with the words ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ was erected over the reception.
The wedding attracted widespread media attention and reports even made it into the Guardian and the Daily Mail.