That supreme showman of visual delights, Phineas Taylor Barnum, certainly had his spectators in mind—more than two thousand of them, and no one got in for free—when he planned the elaborate and highly publicized “Fairy Wedding” for Charles Sherwood Stratton (better known as General Tom Thumb) and his darling bride, Lavinia Warren Bump, on February 10, 1863, at Grace Church in New York City. Barnum had primed the audience with hyperbolic prose about the battle for Lavinia’s affection between Tom and George Washington Morrison Nutt—Commodore Nutt for short. Lavinia chose Tom, and Nutt was man enough to swallow his heartache and stand up as Tom’s best man.
The newspapers swooned over the diminutive spectacle with mock rapture. What a wedding! No detail left unattended to! What a vision of miniature perfection! Of course the bride was the focus of attention. With orange blossoms in her dark upswept hair, a flowing white gown of snowy satin and lace, white satin slippers, and tiny gloves to match, little Lavinia stood only thirty-two inches tall and weighed a mere twenty-nine pounds. How charming! How delightful!
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