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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)

Are you putting on a play?

         The old 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.

          If you feel you need a script or simple guidelines and do not have the time to write your own, I have written some updated vows for the children's play. You may purchase the play "Wedding in Miniature" for a fee of $5.00  and a copy of it will be emailed to you using a wordpad file and jpg files. No hard copies. You may make as many copies as you need but not for resale. To receive a copy by online payment see below. I run this site from home so it may take a few hours for you to receive the emails. To order by mail  By Mail

We would love to post your Tom Thumb Play to get the word out for your fundraiser. If you are about to have a play and would like it posted just  send us  email. Put in the subject line Posting a Play. To view upcoming plays, photos of past plays, or if you are putting on a play, visit our Post your Tom Thumb Play and we will be happy to list it's Time and Place for you.  

 Contact Us No purchase is necessary. 

     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.

Attention: All orders placed on Oct 7th - Oct 14th will not be processed until the 15th of October 2014.

Online Payment

I work from home so it may take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours to receive your play. I check for Play payments several times a day. If more then a day has gone by let me know. 

Wedding in Miniature play sent in jpg & worpad format

A Wedding Tradition website is Copyright protected. All contents are therefore protected.

A Wedding Tradition is Designed by Cheryl Sharpes