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How to Plan a Tom Thumb Wedding Fundraiser

A wedding that is really a play.
wedding celebration image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com

Tom Thumb Weddings are based on the wedding of two little people, Charles Stratton (Tom Thumb) and Lavinia Warren. They were well known from PT Barnum and they wed on Feb. 10, 1863. It was considered “The Greatest Little Wedding.” Since everyone wanted to attend they came up with a very strict entrance policy. Two cards, one bearing the likeness of the bride, one with the groom as well as individually signed tickets were sent to the guests and without those items you were not admitted to the church. Thirty-five years later, a play was put together and the fundraising began.

A wedding that is really a play.
wedding celebration image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com

Things You'll Need:

  • Ticket/Money Collector
  • Actors
  • Play
  • Announcements
  • Stage/Facility
  • Stage Hands/Director
  • Invitations

Get the organization you are raising money to agree to a Tom Thumb Wedding and then you should procure a copy of the play. Next you have to decide how you will cast, whether it will be an audition process or you will assign the roles. The leads should definitely be children. The director can choose whether to cast the rest of the play with adults or children.

Put together the location while the director works with the actors. If you are doing this through a school or church, you might already have a venue. If you do not have a venue that is the next step, secure a location for the play.

Re-create the original invitations. If you have a mailing list, you can choose to send a direct mailing to all those you would like to attend, including the price of the event. If you do not have a mailing list you can choose to put up fliers or take out ads in the newspapers.

Issue invitations as people purchase their tickets. The invitation will serve as their entrance to the play. Most people hand out the cards with the images of Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren as the actual tickets, once they are paid for. Consider whether you will offer a “will call” option so people might pay when they arrive at the show.

Decide how you will be collecting the money. If you are having children, sell the tickets or other parents give specific directions in regards to accepting cash, checks and credit cards.

Work on putting together the costumes and set for the “nuptials.” This should be done concurrently with getting the tickets sold. The nice thing about the play being a wedding is decorations can be as limited as you would like with simple flowers and candles. For the costumes, thrift shops are often a good location to track down vintage-looking clothing. You can also rent from a costume shop.

Put on the play. You might choose to do multiple performances or focus all your energies on a single event.


Be sure to offer food and beverage as you will be able to bring in additional funds doing so.

Ask for help. Putting on a play requires lots of work. Find people who can head up departments so each area of the play can run smooth.

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