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Ahhhh the money dance. I have always know it to be a dance that the male guests dance with the bride and the female guests dance with the groom. Traditionally a dollar was pinned to the bride by every partner, but in more recent times, I have seen the best man collect the dollars…so no pins. I come from an area of strong Italian decent and these are the weddings where I would see the dollar dance. Also, New York weddings seem to strongly favor the dance.
After witnessing more weddings as I go along; I don’t think the money dance is reserved for Italian descent, the Spanish, Greek and Polish seem to use this tradition as well! The dance does offer the bride and groom a chance to have a personal visit with all of their guests. So, instead of roaming around visiting your guests whilst they are eating, you can turn to the money dance. The best man and maid of honor will limit the time of the individual dances to a couple spins around the floor so that you, the bridal couple, have and opportunity to dance and visit with everyone. If the money dance feels awkward or tacky to you, how about the money collected goes to your favorite charity? Win, win, you get to visit all the guests and the money goes to a good cause. Or, if you are on a strict budget, then embrace the dance and keep the money for your honeymoon! …it is just a buck after all!
It turns out that the money dance seems to have originated in Poland in the early 1900’s. So, as customs and traditions go, it is a relatively new tradition. Many cultures employ the dance as it turns out and in the United States, there are areas where the dance is very popular, as well as areas that it is unheard of. Basically, in all the cultures, it is just a way to give and extra dollar to the bride and groom which represents a wish of good luck and prosperity, and, of course offers an opportunity for a personal visit.
I am going to go ahead and show you what is on wikepedia since there is such variety, and I would not want you to miss out on all of the potential origins! Here it is:
The money dance may have originated in Poland around the beginning of the 20th century. The dance takes place some time after the First dance, often once guests have had a chance to have a few drinks. The best man or MC or the disc jockey announces the event. Customarily, the best man begins dancing with the bride, pinning money onto her wedding gown or putting it into a purse, which she carries especially for the purpose, or into the pockets of an apron she dons over her gown especially for this dance. In a more contemporary version of this custom, the dance includes bridesmaids and other ladies who dance .
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. Another variation is where the bride’s veil is removed and given to the maid of honor and an apron is placed on the bride. Money is then placed into her apron during the dance.
At Yugoslavian weddings, 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.
Relatives take turns dancing up to the bride and groom and pinning money on their clothes, which allows the couple to spend a few moments with each of their guests. After the money dance, the groom is ridiculed by his friends, tossed in the air while being covered with the veil, and given an apron and broom.
In America, practice of a money dance varies by geographic region and ethnic background of the families involved. It typically involves guests giving small sums of cash to the bride or pinning cash to her gown or veil. Even cultures that accept this may balk at paying the groom for his time and attention, so alternatives have developed, such as “paying” the groom with play money or a stick ofchewing gum. Some consider this a way for the bride and groom to have face time with their guests. Many, including traditional North American etiquette experts, consider the practice incorrect.
This has led to some couples calling it the honeymoon dance instead of a dollar dance or money dance. Some couples have even called it the dime dance and have put dimes under each person’s plate or in a small bowl on each table so that guests won’t feel obligated to ‘pay’ for a short dance with the bride or groom, while still giving them the opportunity to spend 30–60 seconds chatting and dancing with them.
At some Filipino weddings, the money dance is usually announced; males line up in front of the bride, pinning money on her dress or veil, then dance with her. Same with the male, only females line up instead. Money is pinned or taped onto the new married couple’s garments, representing the wish that good fortune is “rained” upon them, while also helping the couple financially as they begin their life together.
Why don’t the bride and groom see each other before the wedding ceremony?
A hundred years ago or so, the bride and groom would put on their best clothing and walk together to the church or town meeting center to ‘make it official’.
And, years before that, when arranged marriages were the norm, the betrothed were never permitted to have a glance at one another. Marriage was business, and it meant acquiring land, property and other goods through joining two people. No father wanted to muck up a perfectly good business deal by having the groom see the potential bride and not like what he sees, thus backing out of the deal. That bride needed to be a 10 on the attractiveness scale for a dad to take such a chance of letting the groom see her before the ceremony. In some cultures, dowry’s were involved, ah the dowry, no father wants his son to lose that, so, again, no visual for the bride and groom. In other words, it was considered “bad Luck” for the groom to see the bride because the groom, back in the day, would leave the “visual unpleasing” bride at the alter, indeed bad luck for her.
In the last couple of years, there has been a trend for people to marry because they love one another, and also, they are usually very attracted to each other! Win, win!
In the U.S., arranged marriages are not very common nowadays, however, many brides still don’t allow their groom to see them before the wedding. Many brides believe it gives them a sense of excitement and longing, making their wedding day more memorable. And then many brides enjoy hanging out with their betrothed for a spot of time before their ceremony, allowing them to calm nervousness and share intimate moments together before the ceremony.
So, have you thought it through? Will you see each other before the wedding?
From a photographers standpoint, we will do whatever you wish; it is your day, but some of the best “first glance” photo’s are birthed out of the calm meeting of bride and groom before the spotlight of the ceremony. Again, I would like to restate, it is your day, so we will do whatever you would like with respect to seeing each other before the ceremony or not. With that said, Dave and I have had discussions about the difference that we see when a couple sees each other pre-ceremony versus when they do not. I personally think that is gives us a chance to capture the “first look” photos but something more; it gives the bride and groom a tender visit with each other. A time to calm each others nerves, a very intensely romantic time. The average couple will feel nervous before they walk down the aisle, let’s face it, it is not every day that you do this! Personally, I think it would be very romantic and very cool to see a tradition form, where the couple spends some time together before the ceremony, reaffirming their love, calming, soothing and celebrating their bond together before they make their grand entrance! After all, we are no longer talking about a business deal that might fail because of aesthetics…we are talking about the latest tradition of marrying for love. Below are some pics of a “First Look” from a recent wedding.
What are your thoughts?
Ted and Lynlee’s wedding was our second wedding at the Denver Clocktower. The Clocktower is by far one of the most unique venues that we have worked in! To top it off (no pun intended. ha ha) we were allowed up into the belfry to get some shots at sunset.
Their wedding was so heartfelt, that we couldn’t help but tear up a few times, especially when Lynlee’s son and daughter read their speeches. I must say… unbelievable! Not a dry eye in the house (including Peggy and I, and the caterers). It was so nice spending the day with such amazing people!
This has turned out to be the season of details at our weddings. Ted and Lynlee hired Lux Dezign to do all of their coordinating. Lux killed it! The attention to detail, and the overall flow of the night was second to none!
Check out some of the images from the day, and I’m sure you will agree that it was a pretty unique wedding. As always, please feel free to leave comments….
Dave & Peggy
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Lynnlee’s day started out at the swanky Scarlet Salon.