Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tom Thumb Weddings

Reading Robertson Davies' The Manticore on the train this morning, I stumbled upon this gem:

"A Tom Thumb Wedding is a mock nuptial ceremony in which all the participants are children, and the delight of it is its miniature quality."

The two pages that follow describe a Tom Thumb Wedding in detail. I was immediately intrigued and did a bit of research.

According to this excellent article, the tradition began with the "real" Tom Thumb, a little person named Charles Stratton (b. 1838) who at the age of four became an entertainer with the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, and in 1863 married a dwarf named Lavinia Warren (pictured right). It was a highly publicized and lavish wedding.

Ever since, Americans have been staging their own Tom Thumb Weddings, with children standing in for the bride and groom, and the entire wedding party (as pictured above). In many places, Tom Thumb Weddings have evolved into amazingly successful community fund-raising events.

The good news, of course, is that in the future, because the population will be two feet smaller, every wedding will be a Tom Thumb Wedding. In other words, cha-ching! Never again will a father-of-the-bride need to shell out thousands. On the contrary, the first under-four-feet generation will be a true cash cow. Another unforeseen benefit of Project Live Small.

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