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A Wedding Tradition

What is a 

Tom Thumb Wedding ?


Illustration in the New York Illustrated News Feb. 21, 1863


The Greatest Little Wedding     

     The Tom Thumb Wedding was inspired by the famous couple Charles Stratton and Lavinia Warren. They appeared at P. T. Barnum's, Barnum's American Museum in New York in the 1800's.  Charles Stratton known as General Tom Thumb was deeply in love with Lavinia Warren. It was said they fell in love at first sight. On February 10, 1863 the couple married in New York's Grace Church. It was a Lavish affair. The New York Illustrated News wrote, "The History of General Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, reads so much like some fanciful fairy legend, that it is nearly impossible to regard the affair in any other light." Also written was ," For several weeks past, the approaching nuptials of the little pair have been the one absorbing topic discussed by high and low." 

     Everyone wanted to attend the ceremony.  The only way you could get in to see the couple exchange their vows was to have an invite. This consisted of a Wedding card created by Gimbrede, and it bore the words, Church - Tuesday, February 10th, at twelve o'clock. Reception - From one till three o'clock, Metropolitan Hotel. Accompanying that card was also two individual cards. One of Miss Lavinia Warren & one of Charles Stratton. This was not all. With each individual card was a ticket of admission, signed with the initials of Tom Thumb's private secretary. These were neatly tied together with a white ribbon and given to their guest.  Without these items there was no admission in the Church. 

The Tom Thumb Wedding Is Created

     The fascination of this wedding still carries on to this date.  Shortly after, "The Greatest Little Wedding," people everywhere were putting on their own Miniature Weddings as plays.  The Walter H. Baker & Co. of Boston put out a play 35 years later called, 'The Tom Thumb Wedding."  It was published in 1898.  Many churches and schools put on theses plays for the fun of it and also as fundraisers. (Original invitation from 1915)

NOTE: I am aware that people reference this page to sell their Tom Thumb Wedding photos of Children putting on the play.  While I love to see them for sale, it is sad to see that some people try to sell them for shameful amounts. I do not endorse them.  I have been buying these photographs for over ten years now. The usual cost is about $5.00 to $25.00  depending on subject and clarity of the photos. Same thing applies to the original Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton) photos with a few exceptions. As a rule, the asking price of an item is not the value of an item.

Are you putting on a play?

         The old original play is a bit out dated with some of it's vocabulary in the wedding vows. You can still find it sometimes on the internet.  If you are to putting on a Tom Thumb play today, it is always nice for the kids to take part in writing the play with their own vows. I think they could be very creative. Don't get stuck on it having to be the same as the older plays. Just have fun with it.


Disclaimer: All announcements are provided to me from emails I have received asking me to post their play information. I have no way of confirming any aspects or legitimacy of this announcement. I am not responsible for any money spent on the tickets, etc, or any actions you have with this announcement. You are responsible for your own actions concerning any posting.  Thank You


     I was emailed by Mrs. Dorothy Davis, informing me that her husband Forest Davis took part in a Tom Thumb play. Mrs. Evelyn  Kelner also in the play, and a friend of Mrs. Davis gave permission for Mrs. Davis to show me the photograph. See photo 

     Mrs. Davis & Mrs. Kelner enlightened me on a nice little fact about the plays. They said that there was a woman that traveled around helping churches and clubs to put on their own Tom Thumb Wedding. This woman carried costumes with her and helped to put on the program. I found this most interesting that the Tom Thumb Weddings provided a income for a few. What a great way to make a living.    

     Forest Davis is in the second row with the glasses looking out between a bridesmaid and the best man. Mrs. Kelner, then Thomas, is in the second row, 4th from the left. Her face is partially hidden but cute as a button. The woman top row left, was thought to be the woman who put on the program. Many Thanks to Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Kelner.

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