Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - A Tom Thumb Wedding

Grayson Cosby in Tom Thumb Wedding,
ca. July 1896
A Tom Thumb wedding pageant, like this one which was held in Richmond, Virginia, is where all of the major wedding roles are played by small children, usually under ten years of age.  In these mock Lilliputian weddings, children would be assigned to portray the bride, groom, attendants, and sometimes the minister.  Smaller children would sometimes play the flower girls and ring bearers.  There would usually be many photographs of the event such as this one where my grandfather, Grayson Cosby, happens to portray the groom.

The term "Tom Thumb wedding" comes from an actual wedding, the marriage of the famous little person General Tom Thumb (born Charles Stratton) to Lavinia Warren, another little person, in 1863. The wedding attracted considerable publicity and was a major event of the time. Tom Thumb was a celebrity promoted by the circus entrepreneur P.T. Barnum, who gave him a stage name inspired by the folk hero Tom Thumb and managed his career starting at an early age.

©2011 – Frank’s Daughter All Rights Reserved


  1. This is awesome! I learned something new today as I had not heard the story behind the term. And I've never seen a picture of one of those mock weddings! What a treasure!

  2. What a blast from the past. I was in such a wedding. It must have been a fund-raiser for a woman's club. All the kids in my kindergarten were assigned a part. I can remember my blue bridesmaid dress to this day. The younger girls were the flower girls in pink and yellow. I was quite jealous that my friend got to be the bride. She grew up to become a model in New York and in Europe. Figures!

  3. Thanks for your post comments; I'm glad this triggered interest and happy thoughts. This photo would never fail to stimulate our family conversations!