To Money Dance, or Not to Money Dance

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First off, what is a money dance?  The money dance is an event that occurs during the wedding reception; male guests pay to dance with the bride briefly and female guests pay to dance with the groom briefly. The amount of $1 is usually given, but could be more if the guest chooses. This brief dance time allows for one on one time to congratulate and chat with the newly married couple.   Certain details vary culture to culture but the main concept is the same.  This tradition began to help the bride and groom pay for their honeymoon, wedding, future home, or first born.  In the United State, guests normally pin the money to the bride’s gown or veil or the maid of honor will hold an apron to collect.  The best man joins in by offering shots of whiskey to participants.
Some couples place a small bowl on each table for guests to leave cash or checks so guests won’t feel obligated to ‘pay’ for face time with the bride or groom.  For those of you that aren’t big on the money aspect of it, there are many different alternatives to this tradition.  Exchanging play money or chewing gum for that brief dance time is a fun alternative.  You could also have a ‘couples dance’ and have everyone switch partners every 15 seconds or so, providing a great way for the newlyweds to mingle. You could do an opposite money dance and instead of receiving money, hand out tiny gifts of appreciation to your guests as they come dance with you.
– It gives the newlyweds an opportunity to make a little extra money to pay for the honeymoon or the wedding.
– It’s another chance for the newlyweds to dance and talk with guests.
– Ability to add in an extra slow song or two where otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to
– You don’t want your guests to feel obligated to spend money.  They’ve already spent money on the shower and wedding gifts, traveling, and outfit expenses.  It’s important to make it clear that the money dance is optional.
– Sometimes guests use opportunities like this to sneak out and call it a night.  I recommend keeping your dance to a 10 minute minimum so you don’t loss too many of your guests or bore the ones that don’t participate.
– Many etiquette experts do consider this tradition tacky and recommend against it
A money cake jar is similar to the money dance but with no dancing. Set up near the cake table are two jars, each labeled with the bride and grooms name.  Guests put money in the jar of the face they wish to see smashed with cake.  Before the cake cutting ceremony begins, the amounts are totaled, and the jar with the highest amount gets a face full of cake!  This is a fun alternative for the couples that don’t like to dance and a cute way to get guests involved.
So if you’re torn between whether to hold a money dance or not, those are the main points you should consider.  If it’s a tradition that your family’s use to; then go for it!  If this is something new to your family, then ask some close family member opinions. Your wedding is your special day and its details like these that personalize the wedding.


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