Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Celebrity Wedding: Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, 1863

No doubt about it. P.T. Barnum was a showman extraordinaire.  He knew how to get attention. In April 1863, two of his stars General Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton) and Minnie (Lorinia) Warren married.  These well-known celebrities were well known to the American public.  
A re-enactment of the original wedding scene. Different versions of it were used as a lithograph on sheet music. Smithsonian.

Their wedding was a spectacle. Warren's dress was designed and made by Madame Demorest, at her establishment in New York City. Demorset was a fashion trend-setter with her magazine, "Demorest's." Two thousand people witnessed them exchange vows. Instead of reception at home, Stratton and Warren held their event at a hotel. Barnum paid all the expenses. Unlike other weddings of the time which were private affairs, the media was present for these nuptials. The New York Times and newspapers around the country published the details.

The couple posed for multiple images that were later sold by E. & H.T. Anthony under the title of "The Fairy Wedding." Individuals purchased carte des visite images of the couple in their wedding attire, the bridal party, and even scenes in the church.

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