Planning a Dollar Dance

author , posted in Music
In certain parts of the country, wedding Dollar Dances are very popular. For those who are not familiar with a Dollar Dance, it's a wedding tradition that is customary in many cultures. The male guests line up to dance with the bride, while the female guests line up to dance with the groom. The guests “pay... read more

In certain parts of the country, wedding Dollar Dances are very popular. For those who are not familiar with a Dollar Dance, it’s a wedding tradition that is customary in many cultures. The male guests line up to dance with the bride, while the female guests line up to dance with the groom. The guests “pay” the newlyweds for the dance by pinning dollar bills onto their clothes.

While you may want to incorporate the Dollar Dance as a cultural tradition or the idea of earning a bit towards the honeymoon is appealing, there are a few logistics to consider when planning your event.

It is important to consider your guests. Your family members who are used to the tradition may not mind joining in at all. However, if you have many guests who are unfamiliar with the tradition, it may be off-putting to be asked to pull our their wallets. If you know that you have a group of guests who are not familiar with the tradition, it may be helpful to tell them about it ahead of time and fill them in on this customary tradition so they’ll have a better understanding of it on your wedding day.

Time is another big consideration. A Dollar Dance can easily take up 30-45 minutes. Remember, at the typical wedding reception, you’ll have just 2-4 hours of dance time, so investing 30-45 minutes of it with a Dollar Dance is a big commitment. See my tips below to help plan the time accordingly to create the ideal “maximum dancing” atmosphere that many brides desire.

I frequently have to play one full song after announcing the Dollar Dance (even to a crowd of 150+ people) before the first guest makes their way to the dance floor with some cash. Often the bride and groom are left standing by themselves while they wait for guests to line up. Planning ahead (see below) can help to avoid this and speed things along.

If you decide to have a Dollar Dance at your wedding, follow these quick tips to ensure a smooth experience:

  • Make sure the DJ explains how the Dollar Dance works and what it is as there are often people present who are unfamiliar with the tradition.
  • Designate a bridesmaid, mom, or MC to coordinate the dance from the floor. This person will give each guest a tap on the shoulder after they’ve danced with you for 30 seconds, otherwise guests get to chatting and, before you know it, one whole song has passed while 20 people are waiting in line to dance with you. The “coordinator” can also collect the money for you in a card box or decorative sack if you don’t want it pinned to your clothing.
  • Agree in advance with your DJ to limit the dance to a certain number of songs, even if you still have guests waiting when the end time arrives. Basic principle of sales: scarcity motivates! Having your DJ announce, “This is the last song of the Dollar Dance” or “30 seconds left to dance with the bride or groom” creates a little urgency to motivate any would-be Dollar Dancers. Plus, you can control the length of time you’re willing to invest in this activity. It may be worth 15 minutes of your reception time to you but not 45.
  • Pre-arrange for 2-3 people to come dance with you right away. Dad? Grandma? Best man? This helps the ball get rolling faster, keeping the mood up.
  • If you like the idea of doing a Dollar Dance so you can have an opportunity to say hi to everyone, let your guests know the money will be donated to charity or have the guests “pay” by writing you a piece of marriage advice and sticking it in a card box.

{TOP IMAGE: Lin and Jirsa Photography}

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