Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition *
Offbeat partner: Gemma Wood
Offbeat partner: John
Date and location of wedding: The Ravenswood, Sharpthorne, UK — October 5, 2019
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We decided to have a Monty Python-themed wedding on the 50th anniversary of the first episode (5th October 1969) as we are considered the biggest fans of the TV show in the UK. John even proposed in front of Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam on my birthday.
We decided to create a Python world filled with props, posters, sketches, and even a “Silly Party” election! And to make the day even more special, “seventh” Python Carol Cleveland even made a surprise appearance.
Luckily I’m a graphic designer and was able to showcase sketches via posters, books, the invitation, etc. We even managed a lot of DIY including creating a ‘St Looney Up-The-Cream-Bun-And-Jam’ church sign from scratch.
Tell us about the ceremony:
With red roses in reference to the opening credits of the show, I walked down the aisle to ‘The Liberty Bell’ (Monty Python theme tune) and arrived next to John just as you heard the sound of a fart.
For our first hymn, we sang ‘All Things Dull and Ugly’, which had the guests in stitches. The ceremony books were designed to look like ‘Monty Python’s Big Red Book’ but was changed to ‘John and Gemma’s Big Wed Book.’ When the registrar asked if anyone objected to the marriage, and no one replied, she said, “I only ask because no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.”
When John was asked, “Do you take this woman to be your wife?” he replied “Perhaps” which brought the house down. Gemma replied “Oh, say you will!” He replied “Oh, alright then.”
The ring holder was the Holy Hand Grenade, of course, and the signing of the register was signed to the ‘Intermission music’ from Monty Python and The Holy Grail.
All this was conducted under a pointing Hand of God and sign which read “This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who.” Straight after the ceremony, John carried me out of the room whilst the guests were led into a second room where they watched a prerecorded video of John carrying me through various places, including Ealing High Street, before we entered the room to recreate Monty Python’s “The Mattress Sketch” alongside the best man and friends. We even got everyone to sing Jerusalem.
Tell us about the reception:
The tables were themed around the Silly Elections (the save the date and wedding invites were designed around the concept of “Join The Wood Party” as ‘Wood’ was our married name and also, coincidentally, featured in a Python sketch). So every guest had a rosette with their name on and the tables were all named after different candidates.
When we arrived at our table we noticed that Carol Cleveland was sitting at the next table! We couldn’t believe it! A real Python at our wedding! It just made our day even more special.
After a Python-themed wedding breakfast (salmon mousse, strawberry tart without so much rat in it and, of course, spam, spam, spam!) we did our speeches behind a six-foot dead parrot, as you do. The groom and friends then changed in order to perform “Sit on my Face” in barber’s clothes and bared their bottoms.
Instead of cutting the cake (which was themed around the Lumberjack Sketch and the toppers were the bride and groom dressed as the lumberjack and his best girly by his side), we SQUASHED it with a foot in homage to the opening titles. Then we danced under a 16-ton weight that was suspended from the ceiling, in front of an albatross and a neon sign saying ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.’ It was the best day of our lives.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I guess our biggest challenge was to create a themed wedding without it looking “tacky” (ed. note: everything is tacky). We knew that theming a wedding based on a comedy show that a lot of our guests hadn’t seen could be an embarrassing failure. So, we decided to make it SO big and SO fun that it would be impossible to not get some enjoyment from the day. We also made sure that everything we were going to do was very professional (quality flowers, nice glassware/cutlery, etc.) to make the guests feel special.
Neither of us are fans of the traditional white wedding and so we just focused on making it fun, brightly coloured, and different — basically a Monty Python event with a wedding thrown in. Our only advice is if you want silly-themed wedding then do a silly-themed wedding. We didn’t care about tradition and we absolutely loved every second of it.
Venue: The Ravenswood • Photographers: York Place Studios• Videographer: Green Biscuit • Dead Parrot/16 Ton Weight props: Hotwire Studios • Albatross/Fish props: Miles Ascough • Neon Sign: Weon Light • Hand of God: Onward Display •
“Happy Occasion” Calligraphy: Kalidariart • Florist: Lily Lupin • Cake: Fat Cakes • Glassware/Cutlery: Classic Crockery • Makeup/Hair: Stephanie Dorelli • Invites/Posters/Books/Graphics: The bride, Gemma