Thursday, July 19, 2012

Show Me The Money

Until I had moved to Louisiana I had never even heard of the money dance. But every single wedding I've been to in the state of Louisiana has had one. So in case you're like me from a few, you may be wondering just exactly, "what is a money dance?" In the simplest terms, it's basically a dance set aside for the bride and the groom to dance with their guests. Except the catch, and where the name comes in, is that in order to dance with the bride or groom, you're supposed to pay them.

via Mrs. Espresso
See the dollar bills under Mr. Espresso's suspenders?
If bring up etiquette and weddings, the number one topic that's going to cause conflict is probably the money dance, and I can definitely see why. After all, your guests have already bought you gifts, they may have spent quite a bit of money to travel to come see you, and now you're going to force them to pay to dance with you. When I first heard of them, I was definitely against them and thought there was no way I'd ever do one at my wedding.

Except I've slowly started to change my mind. I think the idea that it gives you the chance to dance with someone that otherwise you may not have the opportunity to, is what did it for me. And since it's encouraged for people to cut in, you could dance with far more people in a given time than you would otherwise.

via Mrs. Lioness
Mrs. Lioness dancing with all her bridesmaids.
I don't think anyone would be offended if it was called "A Dance with the Guests," but it's not. Although I can't imagine there would be a bride or groom out there who would refuse to dance with someone if they didn't bring money with them. A friendly term, which it's sometimes called, is the Honeymoon Dance, since the thought is the bride and groom are collecting spending money for their honeymoon. Except the boy & I aren't planning on taking a honeymoon immediately after the wedding, so that doesn't quite work. (And no I haven't blogged about this yet, but I promise I will.)

via Mrs. Ballet Flat
I can't imagine this guest was contributing his own money.
At this point we are planning on doing a money dance, but only with a single song. To elaborate that, I've been to weddings where the money dance goes through 2 or 3 songs to make sure more people can join in. But if we're doing it, I think 1 song is more than enough.

As for what song, I think it'd be fun to use "That's What Friends Are For," which reminds me not just of Bar & Bat Mitzvahs I attended, but even more importantly The OC's Chrismukkah Bar Mitzvah Spectacular. I think it's a great fit since it's an easy song to dance to, plus in my opinion, the whole point of the money dance is to be able to dance with your friends that are there to celebrate with you.

Are you familiar with money dances? Would you ever consider having one (or did you have one) at your wedding?


  1. We did not have a money dance at our wedding but I've seen it done at other weddings. Depending on the number of guests, you might need 2 songs just to make sure everyone who wants to can participate. A good DJ will be able to tell if the second song is needed or not.

  2. I guess here it's just not considered offensive b/c it's a tradition. I had one. We planned to & then at the wedding almost decided not to but i'm glad we did it! B/c it gave us a good amount of money to help w/ honeymoon expenses. I don't remember how much though.

    But you're not FORCING people to do it. I have been to lots of weddings & I don't know if i've ever participated. Either we didn't have cash on us or i didn't know the groom & didn't want to dance w/ him. Haha. And that's totally okay. It's just for those who want a chance to dance w/ the bride or w/ the groom. It's fun!

    Although Brad's friend's dad danced w/ me & i didn't know him... that was awkward. HA! But it only lasted a few minutes, b/c people keep cutting in.

    Lastly, i would say, just have your DJ feel it out on how many songs. We didn't tell them how many - the music just went until people stopped coming! It wasn't awkward & I would say it was probably 1 or maybe 2 songs. I don't remember.

    Great post!

  3. I HATE how many people get their panties in a bunch about "etiquette" at weddings. Seriously. Gah. That's a different topic though...

    We didn't do a money dance, but I've heard of them! Same thing with putting money in a jar to get the bride and groom to kiss - I've been to a few weddings that did that! I think it sounds like a fun tradition :)

  4. We've always had the money dance at weddings around here! Most people just give a dollar or so and I think it's more fun! I've never heard of anyone getting upset over it, but I could see that if you have guests from out of town that aren't used to it like you have. I would just make it optional. If they pay they dance, if they don't, they dance anyway!

  5. We had one and if I remember correctly it lasted over 2 songs. I held a crocheted drawstring purse from my grandmother so I didn't have people trying to pin money to my dress. And one of my bridesmaid's handed the pins to the women to pin money to my husband coat. it was really a great way to say hello to people.

    I went to one southern wedding that mixed in a northern /polish? tradition of having to do a shot after you finished your dance.

  6. As you know, I'm from Louisiana and I"m from a very strong Cajun background. I wasn't going to do the money dance but then I pretty much was asked by my extended family (as in wedding guests) to have the money dance and so we did it- many of them will do that instead of give actual gifts (as they do gifts at the bridal shower and then bring money for the money dance!)

    so we did the money dance and wound up paying for our honeymoon with it. We straight up walked away with enough money to do that. So, while it is a "faux pas" in some parts of the country, in certain parts of Louisiana it is expected!

    I think ours went over 2-3 songs? The DJ knew how to time it out. :)

  7. We had a money dance. I dont think anyone really cares. You can give as little or as much as your want to give to dance and everyone knows that a newly married couple can use the extra cash! The only thing different was we had the best man and maid of honor collect the money.

  8. I have never seen a money dance at a wedding but I've heard of them!

    I don't think that would have been something I would have done but I'm also not from Louisiana. If it was a cultural thing or a family tradition, I don't think it would be a big deal.