Wilmington was once the place for quick marriages

A History Program for Valentine’s Day
Getting Hitched in a Hurry in Days Gone By
Old State House — First State Heritage Park
Fri., Feb. 10, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. – Free

The Friends of Old Dover is sponsoring this talk by Mike Dixon that explores stories about getting hitched in a hurry in days gone by.

Eloping couples once came to Wilmington for a licenses and a quick ceremony, but just before World War I, Delaware passed more restrictive laws. A city newspaper, proclaiming that Wilmington was no longer a “mecca” for marriages, remarked that “Wilmington’s Days as a Gretna Green has gone glimmering.”

Since the “honeymoon express” was no longer able to deliver cupid’s hurried business to the City, passenger trains steamed on down the tracks, stopping at the first county seat beyond the Mason Dixon Line.

There the marrying parsons picked up the trade as the marrying parsons worked overtime completing a ceremony every 15 minutes. Quirky marrying parsons, humorous occurrences, and an international incident involving Iran, are part of this colorful narrative.

The program will also sketch out marriage practices and customs and how they have changed over the longer period.


When Wilmington was the place for elopements and quick marriages


Photos: Courtesy of the Delaware Public Archives



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