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Spam, dead parrot and a giant foot: themed wedding for Monty Python superfans

John Wood and Gemma Harris got married in West Sussex on 50th anniversary of show’s first broadcast

Spam, dead parrot and a giant foot: themed wedding for Monty Python superfans
John Wood and Gemma Harris on their wedding day, West Sussex, UK, 5 October 2019. Photograph: Supplied

A British couple spent two years and thousands of pounds planning their Monty Python-themed wedding in the hope of inspiring other superfans to try to find their Python-mad soulmate.

John Wood, 59, who once won a competition looking for the biggest fan of the surreal comedy sketch show, and Gemma Harris, 35, tied the knot in a “totally bonkers” ceremony in West Sussex on 5 October, the 50th anniversary of the first Monty Python broadcast.

When Wood got divorced from his first wife, who didn’t like Monty Python, he was certain that his next partner had to appreciate it.

Monty Python at 50: a half-century of silly walks, edible props and dead parrots

“The way I look at the world, everything reminds me of it,” he said. “I wanted a woman who likes and understand Monty Python. It was the most important thing in my search for a new partner.”

Wood even set up his own dating platform for Monty Python fans, a Facebook group called Pythonesque Dating.

Harris saw an article about him and joined. “That’s how we met,” Wood said.

After a proposal, staged in front of Python stars Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam at a fundraising event in London, the two social media managers from East Grinstead spent more than two years and £15,000 to create their dream wedding.

During the ceremony, attendees were treated to farting noises as the bride walked down the aisle, a “hand of God” pointing at the couple, and later to a sketch featuring the bare bottoms of the groom and three friends.

“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,” Wood said.

“Instead of saying ‘I do’, I said ‘Perhaps...’ to which Gemma replied, ‘Oh, say you do!’, to which I replied, ‘Oh alright then.’”

Even the menu didn’t escape unscathed, with wedding guests enjoying salmon mousse as a starter – (which killed the dinner party guests in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life film) – and a main course garnished with spam, in reference to another famous sketch. Dessert was “Strawberry Tart without so much rat in it”.

Instead of cutting the cake, the newlyweds squashed it with a foot.

“It was all silly for the sake of it,” Wood said.

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