Remembering Tom Thumb Weddings

Saturday, May 16, 2020 | 10:12 AM

Tom Thumb Weddings were plays in which children performed mock marriage ceremonies while dressed in fancy costumes. Dozens of youngsters, some as young as two or three years old, appeared as brides, grooms, bridesmaids, groomsmen and guests. Wildly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the plays were presented as fund raisers in schools, churches and social halls.

The theatrical “weddings” were inspired by the real life 1863 marriage of Charles Stratton aka General Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren. The couple were little people who performed in P. T. Barnum’s circus. Following their wedding, the couple toured Europe and America with great fanfare. It was Queen Victoria who bestowed the title General on Stratton.

This c1948 photo shows the cast of a Tom Thumb Wedding that was performed in Franklin Park’s Fairmount Presbyterian Church.

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