Two Wheels Become One: We Holla For a Dolla

By far, my most controversial Weddingbee post was about whether or not to do a dollar dance. I personally don’t get why it’s that controversial. I get that some people are insulted by the bride and groom “asking for money,” but the way I see it, it’s like paying a penny or a nickel to make a wish in a fountain: a dollar in today’s economy is just really not that much. You can’t even get a Redbox rental for a dollar anymore.

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

According to smart people, the value of a dollar decreases by 50% every 24 years or so, and according to Martha Stewart, the dollar dance has existed since at least 1912, which means the value of each dollar I received was approximately six cents of what it was originally.

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

Plus, you really don’t have to participate if you don’t want to. I don’t think I’ve ever participated in someone else’s dollar dance, because I’m awkward.

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

What I liked about the dollar dance was the systematized dancing with our guests. Sure, I was probably going to dance with my dad and brother, and Mr. Unicycle’s dad and several close friends, but I liked that I could spend some time with random uncles and second cousins without it being weird (that sentence was weird though, wasn’t it?). The dollar was just the way to break the ice and make it more of an event—like the bouquet toss or the cake cutting, for instance. In the end, our desire to dance with our guests trumped our fear of tackiness.

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

I was tempted to ask the DJ to only play money-related music during the dollar dance, such as “If I Had a Million Dollars,” “Money,” and “Mo Money Mo Problems,” but I decided that tempo/lyrics were more important than puns when it came to slow dancing with people you wouldn’t normally dance with. For instance, I’m really glad they didn’t play Rihanna’s “S&M” while I was dancing with my FIL’s friend.

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

We did end up making quite a bit of money, but I think some of guests were overly generous. We used the money to finance a snorkeling excursion on our honeymoon, and we got to spend some time with guests who we may not otherwise have seen much, so it was a win-win.

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Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography

So tell me, what do you think about the dollar dance? Would you do it at your wedding? Am I an incredibly tacky, entitled bridezilla? Don’t hold back.

BLOGGER

Mrs. Unicycle

Location:
Chicago, IL
Wedding Date:
June 2012
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  1. Member
    BookishBelle 1629 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:42 am

    I don’t think it’s tacky, it’s kinda cute, I’ve just never ever seen it done and had never heard if it pre-Bee, it must be regional :)

  2. Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:47 am

    I think this is SO CUTE! If something is ‘normal’ – how is it tacky? I’ve never understood that.

    It would be weird for me to do something like this, because I’ve never ever heard of it before, but then cash bars are totally normal for me so hey – whatever works for the bride and groom I guess!

    It’s so nice that you got to spend time dancing with people you wouldn’t normally have done. And one of the reasons why it ISN’T tacky if it’s ‘the norm’ x

  3. Member
    jaina8851 107 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:56 am

    I kinda wish this was a thing where I am from. I had never heard of it until I started reading Weddingbee, so I didn’t even consider including it at my own wedding because I figured it would just confuse my guests. I was a bad bride, I *definitely* didn’t see all my guests on my day, so this would have been really fun.

    P.S. I got married back in July and pretty much one of the only reasons I still check in on Weddingbee is to read your posts… consistently hilarious and well written.

  4. Member
    unicycle 476 posts, Helper bee @ 8:08 am

    It’s definitely regional, though I never heard of it either until I was about 16. Granted, I didn’t go to many weddings back then either. My brother and cousin both did one, so I figured that was good enough :)

    @jaina8851: thank you so much for still reading!!!

  5. Member
    msbeautygeek 214 posts, Helper bee @ 8:13 am

    i love the idea and i plan to do the dance as well. it was done for my sweet 16 as well and i didn’t hear any complaints. it’s a nice way to dance with your guest.

  6. Member
    monh13 154 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:25 am

    It’s actually a Mexican tradition as well. I’m Mexican but my FI is Jewish, so he had never heard of it. I’m a bit worried that his side of the family will think it’s tacky, but I think you’re right, it’s a great way to spend time with some people you wouldn’t get to dance with otherwise. We’re doing it and if they think I’m tacky, then so be it!

  7. Member
    Essa 124 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:27 am

    I feel like the dollar dance is the norm around here. I haven’t been to too many weddings in my life, but most of them had dollar dances and I’ve never heard anything negative about them. We are planning on doing it at our wedding, not because we are greedy and want more from our guests, but because we want a chance to dance with them that we might not get otherwise.

  8. Member
    bracelet 1419 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:48 am

    The dollar dance is not part of the Southern culture I’m used to – and also not a part of Mr. B’s family’s conservative Christian Mid-Western culture. So we luckily avoided the headaches surrounding this tradition. I personally don’t have anything against it.

  9. Member
    hyena 2537 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:50 am

    Dollar dances are pretty normal around here too, but like you I’ve never actually participated in them!

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    dcgirl655, Guest @ 8:59 am

    I’m from Pittsburgh, and it’s totally normal there. My FI’s family is from NYC, and I doubt they’ve even heard of it. Your pics are great, and I think it is a really good way to have some one-on-one time with everyone. I like it.

  11. Member
    MrsF13 185 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:17 am

    The dollar dance is the norm at weddings I’ve been to, so we had one as well! It was a great way to spend a little extra time with people and our guests were very generous. We used the money on our honeymoon and it was awesome!

  12. Member
    mswallaby 2061 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:54 am

    Um love the title of this post! I don’t think it’s tacky (but then again… I have the taste of a 65-year-old cat lady :D ) ) and anything that will get people on the dance floor is a great idea. I’ve never seen a dollar dance, though!

  13. Member
    mspalmtree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:22 am

    LOOOOVE the dollar dance. I didn’t realize it was controversial until I started reading the ‘Bee. I honestly always thought we’d have one, until I realized that with 200+ people, it’d be the bulk of our reception and that’s not what we want. Had we had even a slightly smaller wedding, though, we would’ve had one. I’m glad you and the Mr. did – made for fun pictures, at the very least. :)

  14. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 10:30 am

    I don’t think it’s tacky at all, and almost every wedding I’ve been to has had one. We didn’t do one only because I didn’t want to take the time out of our reception for it.

  15. Member
    ladymegbeth 227 posts, Helper bee @ 11:30 am

    I don’t think it’s tacky, but I worry about how many of my *guests* might think it’s tacky. In the end what the couple getting married thinks is all that matters, right? It’s YOUR day. If they don’t like a Dollar Dance or a Cash Bar, they don’t have to drink and/or dance. *shrug* They can go host their own wedding….lol.

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    nuifer200, Guest @ 12:09 pm

    I don’t think its tacky, but like Miss Palm Tree, I am having a big wedding and it would take a really long time. At many of the weddings I have been too that are pretty big, it kind of kills the dancing part!

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    Alex, Guest @ 12:38 pm

    The first time I had ever saw a dollar dance, I thought it a bit tacky, but didn’t really know the couple that well. Now I see it all the time and like the idea. A few of my best friends have got married and had them. It gave us a chance to take a moment, just us, and talk. My mom danced with my best guy friend at his wedding during the dollar dance. When the dj brought up this subject to us for my wedding, she said she didn’t like the idea and thought it was tacky. Then I brought up how she felt dancing with my guy friend and giving him money. She changed her mind after seeing that it was a small chance to share a special moment with the bride or groom. If guests find it tacky, they don’t have to participate, if they enjoy it, bring on the money! :)

  18. Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:03 pm

    Here it’s not a dollar dance, it’s a money dance and it can go very well if you have generous guests, however I once attended a wedding where nobody wanted to stand up and do it because the coupled asked for money gifts (totally normal here) and because of the “price” of mexican pesos’ bills, the money dance can be very expensive.

  19. Member
    mjspyt03 11 posts, Newbee @ 1:39 pm

    Tacky is a strong word, but personally I’m skipping the dollar dance. Even though here in Iowa the dollar dance is the norm, I’m not from here and don’t understand the custom. I feel like after all the other activities in which guests shower the bride and groom with gifts and praise, a dollar dance is just one too many. If guests have extra cash, I’d rather they enjoy another drink at the bar and have a good time.

    Most of my family will be coming from out of state, so just to be there, they’ll have spent money on gas/plane tickets, hotel rooms, travel expenses, vacation days for time off work, bridal shower gifts, wedding gifts, etc. The bridal party may spend all that plus the cost of a bachelorette party, bridesmaid dresses, hair salon updos, makeup, jewelry, shoes… I feel like having a dollar dance would be like taking the last dollar out of their pocketbooks. When my guests arrive, I want to show them how grateful I am that they came and show them the best time possible.

    On the other hand, I think a dollar dance is a great way to get one-on-one time with each of your guests. I really want to make sure I give my guests that sort of attention at my wedding. But, why does it have to include money? I totally get what you’re saying about it not being very much, and you’re right, it’s not. But, what about guests who might not carry cash? I hardly ever carry cash on me and had to sit out of the dollar dance at the first few weddings I attended in Iowa.

    I’ve thought about using a modified version of the dollar dance at our wedding by taking out the money factor. Maybe set out a ‘ticket’ of some sort for a ‘free dance with the bride or groom’? We are incorporating baseball into our wedding (it’s how we met and we’re big fans), so it would go well with our theme.

  20. Member
    Ms_Maple 115 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:03 pm

    It’s funny you posted this. We just spent last weekend discussing the pros and cons of a dollar dance. We ended up coming down on the opposite side of the fence as you mainly because all of our guests need to travel to our location and lodging isn’t cheap there. We felt bad doing the dollar dance on top of that. If we were getting married at a different location we would totally have done it.

  21. Member
    michelle_deanna 17 posts, Newbee @ 3:37 pm

    I love the money dance! It is a Mexican Tradition to do at a wedding and every member of my family that has gotten married has done the money dance. My fiance is white so he had never heard of it, but he is on board with it. It is also a great way to spend time with guests!

  22. Member
    This Time Round 10219 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 7:32 pm

    The Dollar Dance is totally a cultural thing… which has in turn made it more acceptable in some regions more than others.

    It isn’t my cup of tea, because it doesn’t fly in my culture…

    But I’ve been to Ethnic Weddings where it has happened and I was totally down with it

    WHERE I do have an issue, is if it isn’t cultural… and someone decides to do it just because it “sounds like a good way to make a few bucks”… THAT IS Gift Grabby & tacky IMO

    PS… Another gal who is enjoying reading your Recaps.

  23. Guest Icon Guest
    Alex's Koukla, Guest @ 1:08 am

    I think the dollar/money dances and all its varients are cultural. They may seem regional because of how people from different countries/cultures tended to settle in the same area. That being said, we are doing the money dance (Greek backround) but instead of paying to dance with the bride individually, money is thrown at the couple while dancing, particularly during Greek dances, no matter the number of people on the dance floor.

  24. Member
    lisaelanna 528 posts, Busy bee @ 7:10 am

    I’ve always felt a little let down when I’ve been to weddings that didn’t do dollar dances. I’ll gladly give a dollar for some quality (yet quick) time with the bride or groom!!

  25. Member
    MexiPino 5412 posts, Bee Keeper @ 4:45 pm

    Eh. It’s tradition, so I don’t see how it’s tacky. I also don’t see how it’s any tackier than my husband putting his head up my skirt to take off a garter in front of everyone, or a bunch of single women clawing at each other to get a bouquet and everyone’s down for that!

    I’m actually really surprised you did it, though, since it puts a lot of attention on the bride. Or at least, I think so. I’m still debating it not because I think it’s tacky but because I don’t want to HAVE TO dance with everyone who lines up. I love my family but slow dancing with my drunk slightly creepy uncle or with FFIL’s coworker’s husband is not super exciting to me.

  26. Member
    jenilynevette 7719 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 10:10 am

    It’s a “must have” in our family. And i’ll be doing it at my wedding. I think it really depends on where you are from. I don’t find them tacky at all. I think it COULD come off a little money grabby if the couple had an engagement shower, a couple bridal showers, and THEN a dollar dance.

  27. Member
    paulabrochu 37 posts, Newbee @ 6:36 am

    The dollar dance was always one of the funnest parts of the wedding in the culture I was raised in. It created a lot of interaction and people made it funny and fun. I liked it better than “passing the shoe” which was always tough anyway, because so many brides wear sandals.

    Now that I am older and in a different culture than I was raised in, I don’t think we will do it, unless we have the money go to the A-T project to raise research money for a rare and deadly childhood disease that my niece and nephew have. We are asking for donations in lieu of a gift.

  28. Guest Icon Guest
    Persian Weddings, Guest @ 2:01 pm

    This is a completely normal and FUN practice in Persian Weddings. Its called being “Shabashed” meaning showered with money. The intention was always to give extra money to the bride and groom. My husband and I had probably over $1,000 in bags (the little kids collect the money on the floor for the bride and groom and put it into a beautiful satin bag) at the end of the night. From the MOMENT we walked into our wedding reception we were “Shabashed” with money all night. I am American so this whole Persian Wedding thing was incredibly exciting to me. This is probably the American Version. I would say, make it fun its a very ancient practice that people in the Middle East have done beautifully for thousands of years!

    visit me at http://www.weddingpersian.com to learn all about the Persian Wedding if that fancy’s you! XOXO Happy planning everyone!

  29. Guest Icon Guest
    Sunshineandrainbows, Guest @ 8:10 am

    Where I come from the dollar dance is the norm. It’s more of a money dance than dollar dance. Reason being, in our tradition you don’t really buy the bride and groom gifts. It’s not very common, so your gift to them is money through of the money dance.

  30. Member
    phillybride61513 1512 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:53 pm

    2 quick logistical questions…

    Where did your Dollar Dance and Bouquet/Garter toss fall in the timeline of the night? We were thinking of doing the Dollar Dance first to get people up and moving.
    Also, where did your MOH/BM put all that cash!?

    A dolla makes me holla, honey boo boo…

  31. Guest Icon Guest
    Persian Weddings, Guest @ 4:49 pm

    Hey Philly bride ,

    Ours was part of Persian wedding customs do per tradition when the bride and groom are introduced for first time at reception they come out and money is thrown all over them by. Guests. Make satin bags and give them to the kids— flower girls , ring bearers and have them collect the money on the floor. The photos of the kids scooping up all that cash are beyond adorable. If you have any questions or anything feel free to contact me at weddingpersian.com

    Happy planning!!!

  32. Member
    unicycle 476 posts, Helper bee @ 8:06 pm

    @phillybride61513: We had the reception from 7-midnight (starting with dinner), with the dollar dance at 9:00 and the bouquet and garter tosses at 9:30. I think we kept the money in the locked “bridal suite” that was in the hallway outside the reception room. I can’t remember though!

  33. Member
    phillybride61513 1512 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:46 am

    @Mrs. Unicycle: Thanks! That helps!

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