Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Dollar Dance - FI's family tradition, but not mine...

I guess sometimes the culture differences between me and my FI are apparent... I grew up in a big city on the west coast, and he grew up in a small town in the midwest. Usually there aren't culture differences that are an issue, but this one seems to be. I had absolutely NEVER heard of a dollar dance until I moved to the midwest, and I went to a wedding for my ex's friends who had one. I kinda went along with it but I had no idea why on earth we were doing it, it seemed weird. I just figured it was some sort of fluke and promptly forgot all about it.

Then the other night, I just happened to mention it to FI, and he said "well, of COURSE we're having a dollar dance! Everyone in my family has always had one of those, it's tradition!" He also made it seem like if we DIDN'T have a dollar dance, then it would be seen as very very weird and totally wrong to do, because that's just what is done around here. My family isn't from here though, they're all from either the west coast or east coast. I have no idea how they would react to this (if they've seen them before, if they'll find them tacky, etc.) FI is seeming inflexible on this issue, he wants a dollar dance and insists that it'd be wrong not to have one. So what do I do about this very sticky, potentially tacky issue?

Re: Dollar Dance - FI's family tradition, but not mine...

  • I hate the idea of a dollar dance. I never even heard of it until I signed onto the Knot. I would definitely not have one myself- by choice. Since your Fiance says it's a family tradition though, and he feels really adamant about it, I would do it. You can always warn your family members ahead of time. Just tell him he owes you, big time.

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  • That's when you pay a dollar to dance with the bride or groom right??

    That's happened at a few weddings at my family...Its always fun..good way to get to know new family memebers lol

    also the weddings in my family the money collected from the dancings usually go toward keeping the reception going a bit longer or they put it towards doing something fun on their honeymoon.

    Its usually great fun..cept at my last cousins wedding...I don't like his bride very much...she not a very nice woman  which made the wedding kinda awkward for me 'cause you could tell she really didn't care for alot of us..
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  • I'm with ya... dollar dances are weird and a little tacky to me. But I wouldn't be offended as a guest - I don't find it that awful. It really depends on the tradition of different families and cultures... since he is so adament, I would go along with it and just explain to your family what it is and that it is part of FI's tradition.
  • edited August 2010
    Well, I am from the midwest and they are popular and typical during weddings. I will tell you that we had one and didn't get any side eyes or hear any talk afterwards from family and friends. My friend that got married last year had one as well. It is common and acceptable in our social circle.

    Maybe you can compromise and just have a few songs lined up to tell your dj so that your H gets his dollar dance but it doesn't go all night either. If any of your family or friends mentions it, just explain to them that it is typical and accepted in the family and social circles where your H grew up. Hopefully they understand.
  • Have your DJ explain before it starts that this is a longstanding tradition in your FI's family.

    The other thing you could do is hand out monopoly money so that it's clear you aren't trying to do this as a fundraiser, and those who aren't used to it are welcome to participate without paying anything.  His family members can still give you actual money if they choose to.
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  • Let your FI do the dollar dance while you freshen up in the ladies room or the bridal suite.  That way he gets to do the dance that he thinks is important, and you don't have to. 
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
  • Honestly Dollar Dances with twists are becoming more popular.  What the Dollar Dance Twist is you and your groom will make a bet before it starts such as I get more than you I get breakfast in bed for a week or I get more than you I get a massage anytime I want for 5 minutes during our honeymoon.  You could do that.  You could also compromise as someone else previously mentioned.  Like I know out east no one does unity candles.  Your groom gets his Dollar Dance you get your important tradition. 

    My fiance was totally okay with serving my favorite norwegian food at our reception even tho he has yet to try eating it so long as he gets to have a certain song played at the reception. 

    Weddings are a time for combining family traditions.  Why not start with a dance?
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_dollar-dance-fis-family-tradition-but-not-mine?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:0d983d6a-a0bb-4fb1-8e4c-724ef56fa294Post:fb4e2f2b-61a9-4e55-9728-d7cb5314a68e">Re: Dollar Dance - FI's family tradition, but not mine...</a>:
    [QUOTE]Honestly Dollar Dances with twists are becoming more popular.  What the Dollar Dance Twist is you and your groom will make a bet before it starts such as I get more than you I get breakfast in bed for a week or I get more than you I get a massage anytime I want for 5 minutes during our honeymoon.  You could do that.  You could also compromise as someone else previously mentioned.  L<strong>ike I know out east no one does unity candles. </strong> Your groom gets his Dollar Dance you get your important tradition.  My fiance was totally okay with serving my favorite norwegian food at our reception even tho he has yet to try eating it so long as he gets to have a certain song played at the reception.  Weddings are a time for combining family traditions.  Why not start with a dance?
    Posted by SeptemberFall2011[/QUOTE]

    I'm a church organist in a church in NJ.  That's pretty east.  =)  And most weddings I play at  have a unity candle.  I don't know where you got your information from, but it's just not true.
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
  • tldhtldh member
    2500 Comments
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_dollar-dance-fis-family-tradition-but-not-mine?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:36Discussion:0d983d6a-a0bb-4fb1-8e4c-724ef56fa294Post:fb4e2f2b-61a9-4e55-9728-d7cb5314a68e">Re: Dollar Dance - FI's family tradition, but not mine...</a>:
    [QUOTE]Honestly Dollar Dances with twists are becoming more popular.  What the Dollar Dance Twist is you and your groom will make a bet before it starts such as I get more than you I get breakfast in bed for a week or I get more than you I get a massage anytime I want for 5 minutes during our honeymoon.  You could do that.  You could also compromise as someone else previously mentioned.  Like I know out east no one does unity candles.  Your groom gets his Dollar Dance you get your important tradition.  My fiance was totally okay with serving my favorite norwegian food at our reception even tho he has yet to try eating it so long as he gets to have a certain song played at the reception.  Weddings are a time for combining family traditions.  Why not start with a dance?
    Posted by SeptemberFall2011[/QUOTE]

    How many east coast weddings have you been to that you can say nobody here does unity candles?  I grew up in the south and midwest and can honestly say I'd never even heard of a dollar dance before TK, but I'm not going to say they don't exist there.

    OP, good luck, that's all I can say.  I rank dollar dances right up there with the chicken dance - which I have seen at midwest weddings.
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  • Wish dance.  Instead of asking people to pay money to dance with you, provide little slips of paper and ask them to write you a piece of advice or well-wishes in exchange for the dance.  If FI's family chooses to slip some cash in the bag as well, they can certainly choose to, but your family won't feel awkward if they don't.  That was our plan before we cut dancing altogether.
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  • I'm from the midwest. I can't tell you how much I hate them. My family NEVER has them and I hope they never do. Tacky doesn't come close to describing them.
  • Is this one of the three things your FI considers to be his absolute most important, must-haves for what is his wedding too?
  • I am from the south.. and its tradition to do dollar dances here too.   I think alot of it is because you are so busy trying to socialize with everyone that this is the opportunity to have a 1 on 1 with family and friends.  I have never heard of anyone calling it offensive or tacky.  At least not where I come from. 
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  • But do you have to collect money in order to spend one on one time?  No. Do a wish dance or anything else but collecting money for someone to dance with you.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_dollar-dance-fis-family-tradition-but-not-mine?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:0d983d6a-a0bb-4fb1-8e4c-724ef56fa294Post:3b77bf2b-b768-404c-af04-ad8a0e0befd5">Re: Dollar Dance - FI's family tradition, but not mine...</a>:
    [QUOTE]I am from the south.. and its tradition to do dollar dances here too.   I think alot of it is because you are so busy trying to socialize with everyone that this is the opportunity to have a 1 on 1 with family and friends.  I have never heard of anyone calling it offensive or tacky.  At least not where I come from. 
    Posted by jessienjeremy[/QUOTE]

    Okay, but why does money have to exchange hands?  Why can't the dj announce that "for the next five minutes (or however long), we're going to clear the dance floor and allow guests a brief dance with the bride or groom?"

    That accompllishes the "face time" with the couple and no money exchanges hands.  That I could live with. 
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
  • I don't think the OP was asking everyone's opinion on dollar dances in general, I think she was asking how to handle this situation with her fiance.

    I think since you will also be involved in the dollar dance, it would be good to approach it that way.  If the idea of a dollar dance makes you uncomfortable, tell your fiance that.  He loves you, and hopefully he will see that your comfort and happiness on your wedding day is more important than this tradition.

    Good luck!

  • I guess you just need to explain to him that his backwoods family traditions aren't as important as your sophisticated family's delicate sensibilities, and therefore there won't be a dollar dance. Done and done.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_dollar-dance-fis-family-tradition-but-not-mine?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:36Discussion:0d983d6a-a0bb-4fb1-8e4c-724ef56fa294Post:ca28e643-125b-439a-9c1f-33751c4df27b">Dollar Dance - FI's family tradition, but not mine...</a>:
    [QUOTE]I guess sometimes the culture differences between me and my FI are apparent... I grew up in a big city on the west coast, and he grew up in a small town in the midwest. Usually there aren't culture differences that are an issue, but this one seems to be. I had absolutely NEVER heard of a dollar dance until I moved to the midwest, and I went to a wedding for my ex's friends who had one. I kinda went along with it but I had no idea why on earth we were doing it, it seemed weird. I just figured it was some sort of fluke and promptly forgot all about it. Then the other night, I just happened to mention it to FI, and he said "well, of COURSE we're having a dollar dance! Everyone in my family has always had one of those, it's tradition!" He also made it seem like if we DIDN'T have a dollar dance, then it would be seen as very very weird and totally wrong to do, because that's just what is done around here. My family isn't from here though, they're all from either the west coast or east coast. I have no idea how they would react to this (if they've seen them before, if they'll find them tacky, etc.) FI is seeming inflexible on this issue, he wants a dollar dance and insists that it'd be wrong not to have one. So what do I do about this very sticky, potentially tacky issue?
    Posted by fireytiger[/QUOTE]
  • Just go ahead and do it, but tell him he owes you. Tell him something else in the wedding is totally up to you. That way both of you will be happy.
  • wow zitiqueen, way to be unnecessarily rude and nasty... I didn't say MY traditions are more important than his, or that i'm more "sophisticated" than him or anything. Those are YOUR words. What I said was that we both grew up in totally different areas of the country and our families have different values and traditions. Holy crap, imagine that, there are people in the world who aren't all the same, and have different traditions and values! What I'm trying to do here is find the best way to bring the differences between his family's traditions and my family's traditions together, without confusing the crap out of people who have never heard of this tradition and might find it tacky or in poor taste. I mean, look at so many people on this board alone who think dollar dances are super tacky, but to others who are familiar with it (like my FI), they feel it's a social norm and are totally okay with it. So what I needed was advice, not snarky answers.

    As for everyone else, thanks for the advice. It did actually give me a couple ideas that I might run by the FI, to see if he likes it. It wasn't one of his must-haves for the wedding (we picked three big must-haves each at the beginning, and a dollar dance was not amongst them). But, i'm not going to just outright say "nope, sorry, not doing it. This is MY day blah blah blah etc" because it's not just MY day, it's OUR day, and I want us both to be happy with it.
  • My family has never seen one. FI's family does them occassionally. We're not doing one. We went to FI's cousin's wedding last year and he didn't do it either, which convinced FI it was okay not to do it. Frankly, my family would be horrified.
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  • The money dance, dollar dance, or apron dance is an event at some wedding receptions in various cultures. During a money dance, male guests pay to dance briefly with the bride, and sometimes female guests pay to dance with the groom. The custom originated in Poland in the early 1900s in immigrant neighborhoods.
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  • I grew up doing this "dollar dance" although we just called it a bridal dance because it was just the bride that danced.  The tradition is from eastern europe and it goes lsomething ike this (I may not have all the details correct). 

    It's a time for the bride to dance one turn with anyone that wants to see her off into her marriage.  All the guests form a large circle around the bride. The MOH holds the money bag and the guest stuffs $$ into the 'money bag', gets a turn or two with the bride and is shuffled off to the other side of the circle and either gets a piece of wedding cake or a shot of liquor, etc.  Near the end, she dances with her mother, then her father.  Everyone is supposed to crowd around the bride and her father and the groom is supposed to bust through everyone and "steal" his bride away and they leave to go on their honeymoon.  The money bag was to be a a financial start for the new couple.  This tradition was most likely started before people started giving gifts.  I grew up in sw Pennsylvania and it's VERY big with the slovaks (what I am), polish, italian and greeks (I think) etc.  All of my family always used a wedding polka for this. My FI had never heard of it either, but he is totally willing to do it because he knows it is a tradition in my family.   

    I hope this sheds a little light as to why the "dollar, money, bridal" dance is in existance.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_dance

    Oh and I've NEVER been to a wedding that didn't have a Unity candle -in PA, NY, VA, TN and SC.

  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_dollar-dance-fis-family-tradition-but-not-mine?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:0d983d6a-a0bb-4fb1-8e4c-724ef56fa294Post:3b77bf2b-b768-404c-af04-ad8a0e0befd5">Re: Dollar Dance - FI's family tradition, but not mine...</a>:
    [QUOTE]I<strong> am from the south.. and its tradition to do dollar dances here too. </strong>  I think alot of it is because you are so busy trying to socialize with everyone that this is the opportunity to have a 1 on 1 with family and friends.  I have never heard of anyone calling it offensive or tacky.  At least not where I come from. 
    Posted by jessienjeremy[/QUOTE]

    <div>It may be tradition in <em>your </em>family, but these are absolutely not common in the south in general.  I've been to and worked at hundreds of weddings in the south, and have seen a total of one dollar dance.  The guests were appalled.</div><div>
    </div><div>OP, if your family is not familiar with this custom, you can be pretty sure that asking for money is going to come off as gift grabby and will be offensive.  You should explain to your FI that doing this would be really embarrass you in front of your family, and that you are not comfortable asking guests for gifts at your wedding, but if he wants to compromise and do something without money, you're open to it.  </div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_dollar-dance-fis-family-tradition-but-not-mine?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:36Discussion:0d983d6a-a0bb-4fb1-8e4c-724ef56fa294Post:23cb2aec-d7ef-424a-b221-311a54fa8514">Re: Dollar Dance - FI's family tradition, but not mine...</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Dollar Dance - FI's family tradition, but not mine... :<strong> It may be tradition in your family, but these are absolutely not common in the south in general.</strong>  I've been to and worked at hundreds of weddings in the south, and have seen a total of one dollar dance.  The guests were appalled. OP, if your family is not familiar with this custom, you can be pretty sure that asking for money is going to come off as gift grabby and will be offensive.  You should explain to your FI that doing this would be really embarrass you in front of your family, and that you are not comfortable asking guests for gifts at your wedding, but if he wants to compromise and do something without money, you're open to it.  
    Posted by MyNameIsNot[/QUOTE]

    Ditto for the midwest.  I've NEVER seen one, and I'm from a town settled by a large percentage of Polish immigrants.  I'd never even heard of them until a friend of mine asked if we were having one.  And while I understand both the 'it's tacky' view and the 'it's tradition' view, I don't think we should be lumping them as regional customs when they really aren't.
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  • [QUOTE]I guess you just need to explain to him that his backwoods family traditions aren't as important as your sophisticated family's delicate sensibilities, and therefore there won't be a dollar dance. Done and done.
    Posted by zitiqueen[/QUOTE]
    That wasn't necessary.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_dollar-dance-fis-family-tradition-but-not-mine?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:0d983d6a-a0bb-4fb1-8e4c-724ef56fa294Post:6ef6ccee-6b25-463f-ad8b-0f167fccfb31">Re: Dollar Dance - FI's family tradition, but not mine...</a>:
    [QUOTE]The money dance , dollar dance , or apron dance is an event at some wedding receptions in various cultures. During a money dance, male guests pay to dance briefly with the bride, and sometimes female guests pay to dance with the groom. The custom originated in Poland in the early 1900s in immigrant neighborhoods.
    Posted by RoxysMama[/QUOTE]
    Okay, and?
    Why did you link the words?
  • People won't be as motified as you think, especially if like a pp suggested the DJ explains that this is a tradition for the groom's family.  I grew up in the Midwest and thought it was fine the first time I saw it at a New Orleans wedding.  If you have your MoH or other assistant holding a drawstring bag instead of having people pinning the dollars to the bride's dress it won't be tacky.  IMHO I'd give on this one and hold a trump card for your fiance to give to you on something else :-)
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  • My sister had one and i hated it. She had one b/c her friends did it and got money for their honeymoon. They keep telling me to do b/c i'll get so much money, but i think it was tacky and not for me.

    My mom was SO against it and embarassed as it was not a tradition in our family nor did any of our immediate family participate, mostly his family and friends did.

    This is not something I would see as a tradition in the south.
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