Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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Womanless Weddings

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).

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