Today’s @ncnewspapers headline, from Raeford in 1953, reads “Lions Club Plans Womanless Wedding.” While womanless weddings of a different sort are in the news these days as North Carolina prepares to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment, the event mentioned in the headline was a popular form of entertainment in small towns a few decades ago.
A “womanless wedding” was usually held as a fundraiser and involved prominent men of the community dressing up in full bridal outfits for a mock wedding ceremony. From the stories I’ve heard, it was common practice to get the burliest man in town to play the part of the bride, backed up by a train of equally rough-looking bridesmaids.
I found a couple of newspaper photos of womanless weddings in the DigitalNC collection. The first is from Burgaw in 1957 and was held as a fundraiser for the local high school (from the Burgaw Jaycees Scrapbook, 1957-1958
, contributed by the Pender County Public Library). The second is from a Bennett College fundraiser in 1974 (from the Bennett College Scrapbook, 1972-1977