What is a Tom Thumb Wedding?

These weddings are named for Tom Thumb, a dwarf in P. T. Barnum’s circus, who married Lavinia Warren in an elaborate ceremony in Manhattan in 1863. Historically, churches and various organizations later held Tom Thumb weddings as youth activities or fund raisers.  In these wedding pageants – all of the major wedding roles are played by small children, usually under ten years old. In a Tom Thumb wedding, children are assigned to portray the bride, groom, attendants, and sometimes the minister. Smaller children would sometimes play the flower girls and ring-bearers. Usually, everyone would be costumed, and there would usually be many photographs.

Although the 10-year-old couple will probably not abide by most of the vows, the Tom Thumb “wedding” was an opportunity for them and 20 other children, ages 1 to 10, to have fun and be different. Different because, unlike in other mock weddings held nationwide, the children dressed up in tuxedos and bridal gowns.  It also focuses on the importance of friendship.

During last weekend’s event, the 10yr old minister asked the bridegroom: “Do you promise to take Nyla to the movies?”  “Do you promise to buy her popcorn and bonbons if she wants them?” The minister asks – Do you promise to let Lenox play X-Box Kinect in peace? Do you promise to push him in the swing when you are in the park?”  The 10yr old minister concluded the ceremony by announcing to the guests that “Nyla and Lenox have vowed to be kind to each other and share their childhood as friends.”

Staging Tom Thumb weddings was a big American fad during the 1920s, but they were also staged fairly regularly until the 1970s.  Well, these weddings appear to be back in style!

Last weekend’s Tom Thumb wedding was a success.

8 Comments

  1. Bruce Sallan (@BruceSallan)

    What a beautiful tradition. Gee, to think kids should aspire to marriage! What a radical, un-PC thought!

    • Nichelle

      And, gee, what a pointed, aggressively anti-pc statement. Fun!

  2. Barbara Baldon

    Can you help me obtain a copy of the Tom Thumb wedding vows? Who should I contact? Thanks

    • Mary Raglin

      Ms. Barbara Baldon did you get the Tom Thumb wedding vows and have you actually put on a Tom Thumb Wedding fundraiser? I am interested in finding others who have done this. I am actually planning one for July 11, 2015. Thank you for your time.

      Mary Raglin

  3. Renee Smith

    Want to do a Tom Thumb wedding in the future. Do you have written directions or guidelines as to how to do this as a fund raiser?

  4. Bethel Terry

    Hi…We are having a Tom Thumb wedding next Saturday and I have jotted down a few “vows.” Do you have a copy of the script or vows that you used in the past? If so, would you be willing to share them? Thanks in advance!

  5. Beverly R.Douglas

    Where can I get a copy of a Tom Thumb Wedding Script?

  6. Joyce Williams

    I would love to obtain a copy of some “written vovs” of the Tom Thumb wedding as l would like to have as a fundraiser for my church. Thanks In Advance

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