There are various cultures in which “The Money Dance” is a traditional part of the wedding reception. In such cultures, the guests are prepared with money and straight pins and they know what to do.
The concept of “The Money Dance” is that the male guests pay for the privilege of dancing with the bride. It dates back to years ago when the Catholic Bishops told (gave permission) to the Bride, (only) on her wedding day, to dance with a male other than her husband. By extension, the female guests pay for the privilege of dancing with the groom. The custom originated in Poland and is still celebrated at many ethnic weddings today. The money is to be used for the bride and groom’s honeymoon.
The dance takes place at some time after the first dance. Either the MC or the DJ announces the “event.” Customarily, the best man begins dancing with the bride, pinning money onto her gown, or putting it into his satin bag which she carries especially for the location. In a newer version of this custom, the dance includes bridesmaids and other ladies who dance with the groom and pin money on his lapel. Each of the guests who dance with the bride or groom, respectively, takes only a few moments before another guest cuts in.
At Ukrainian weddings, the father of the bride usually begins, pinning money on her dress. He is followed by the best man and groomsmen, and, finally, by the remainder of the male guests. At Yugoslavian wedding, instead of pinning the money on the bride’s gown, the male guests give the money to the best man for safe keeping. At Hungarian and Portuguese weddings, the bride takes off her shoes and puts them in the middle of the dance floor. Then the shoes are passed around from guests to guest, and each deposits a contribution.
It is especially important with an unusual custom such as “The Money Dance,” to make certain that the concept is acceptable and accepted by the majority of guests, who come to the wedding prepared. Wedding customs and traditions with which we are not familiar are strange to us, while “our own,” add to the joy and festivities.