Super Tacky or Super Smart?

August 2, 2010 · 61 comments

If you didn’t know, this is my last week as a bachelor. Sunday I marry Girl Ninja and I’m pretty freakin’ excited for it. She has been in Seattle for the last two weeks making all the final arrangements before the big day. I, however, have stayed in San Diego so I could play video games and walk around my condo naked work hard and earn a little more coin.

Girl Ninja and I have spent the last few weeks tying up all the loose ends. I made the slideshow, she made the programs. I figured out Rehearsal stuff, she figured out wedding stuff. All the big things are done and we only have a few small decisions left to make.

One of those decisions is should we have a dollar dance?

If you aren’t familiar with the dollar dance, it’s a chance for guests to dance with the Bride and Groom while also contributing a few bucks for them to spend on the honeymoon. The dollar dance, although pretty common, can be a source of controversy. Is it tacky to ask guests to put a couple bucks in a hat for a few seconds on the dance floor? Or is it assumed the people that participate did so because they wanted to make our special day even better? Talk about some potential drama.

I’m sure you can guess my response…. SHOW ME THE MONEY! I’ll bump and grind dance with some women I may not know that well for a couple hundred extra in spending money. Many of our friends have also had dollar dances and they averaged between $300-$700 after the dollar dance. Heck, maybe I’ll have five or six dollar dances throughout the night. Kidding…kind of.

Fortunately, Girl Ninja is down with the dollar dance so it will be part of our ninja-riffic wedding. Some of our guests may think it’s tacky and we are okay with that. Just wait until they see our wedding cake display…

So at your wedding did you (or will you) have a dollar dance? Is it common in your circle of friends? Anyone that thinks it’s super tacky?

p.s. Just think, those of you that are sick of all this wedding chat, only have to put up with it for another week!

{ 61 comments }

1 Beth M

Super tacky! It’s as bad as a 40 yr old man being excited to get a birthday card from his grandma because she always puts a $10 in it. You’re an adult and are a pretty successful at being one… you don’t need a dollar dance :P

2 Larry

Totally tacky. But I heae Chelsea Clinton had a thousand-dollar dance, so there is precedent.

3 Kams

There wasn’t a dollar dance at our wedding, but not because of any hard core beliefs against it.. it’s just not really done at our family weddings (I’ve never heard of a dollar dance until now) :) No worries.. it’s your wedding.. do what ever the heck you want.. people can participate or not.. It’s not like you’re charging cover at the door. :P

4 Allen

I was at a friend’s wedding a few months ago and saw one for the first time. I really didn’t think much of it – heck, she had a line that never ended! Some people went up multiple times.

5 Allen

I was at a friend’s wedding a few months ago and saw one for the first time. I really didn’t think much of it – heck, she had a line that never ended! Some people went up multiple times. I felt a little bad for the groom though because hardly anyone went up to him.

6 Brian

It’s not that common on the East Coast, but since I got married on the West Coast and my wife is from CA we had it at our wedding. I didn’t mind it.

7 eemusings

What the hell? I’v never heard of this?

Personally, I think it’s tacky, no offence meant. Perhaps if it was done tongue in cheek, but that’s hard to pull off.

8 Ashley

A little tacky BUT the good thing is people don’t have to participate.

9 Melissa

Extremely tacky. Ranks about as high as the ultra tacky stag parties, IMO.

10 Sandy L

We didn’t do any of the traditional dancing stuff. My husband hates to dance so we just skipped it altogether. So, we really didn’t care about what people thought.

One of my many college jobs was banquet waitressing and I worked about 200 weddings. If I can make a broad and general statement, then I’d say that the weddings that did tacky stuff (Like the dollar dance) seemed to have a much funner crowd than the people who wanted the prim and proper formal affair. The dollar dances I witnessed always looked fun. Go for it.

So, let your hair down, get that dead armadillo groom’s cake and have a blast.

11 SWR

I’ve seen it done once and it was at a wedding where I thought the entire event was tack-tastic. Although if you have a crowd that really gets into it, I bet it could be a lot of fun – and will get lots of people on the dance floor!

12 Small Town Runner

We did have a dollar dance, but we didn’t make much cash because we had a swing band at our wedding, which meant all the dancing was swing dancing, and some people felt intimidated. But I felt like it was a way for hubby and me to dance with lots more people than we ordinarily would have. It’s just once dance, and if people don’t like it they don’t have to participate. And it can be a lot of fun.

13 Red

Lord! I saw the picture of that wedding cake display before I read the post and was thinking, “Please! Tell me that is NOT part of the wedding!” By comparison, a dollar dance sounds ok! ;)

I haven’t been to any weddings since I was too old to be a flower girl, but we didn’t have a dollar dance at our wedding – frankly, because I had never heard of it! But since you brought it up, we had a hard time letting our guests know we just wanted cash as gifts. We didn’t send it out in the invite or anything, but when people asked, we let them know. It was pretty awkward.

Also, one of D’s relatives offered to make us a “money tree.” I was pretty horrified. I didn’t want everyone’s gifts out on display so my maid of honor’s dad built us a box in the shape of a house where people could put their cards/cash. The idea was, “Look! You’re helping us save for a house! ;)

14 Donnie

Dude, are you also the guys from Dinosaur Comics? Apparently he is getting married this weekend, also.

On topic: We did have a dollar dance, and I thought it was not worth it. Totally annoying and tacky.

15 Amanda

If you want tacky, instead of clinking glasses to get the couple to kiss at the wedding I was at last weekend the guests had to come up and put money in a basket infront of the couple. $5 was a peck on the cheek and the price went up from there.

16 Michelle

It is de rigeur in my culture to have this dance – my sis did not, as she felt it a money grab. What was more tacky is the gossiping relatives who were putting down the bride (my sis) at her reception for ‘being too good for our traditions’ and ‘pretending to be above’ her culture. If it’s normal in your circle/culture it is NOT TACKY. If you’ve never heard of it, then you might feel differently. In one Indian wedding I went to, guests were expected to give gold jewelry to the bride and by the end of the night, she was more outfitted than Mr. T’s entire 80s era collection…might appear tacky to some outsiders, but was valuable part of the cultural ceremony.

And I agree – it’s generally a fun time at the reception and bring on your boogie shoes.

17 psycharah

Sorry to say Ninja, but I vote tacky on this one. Would you invite people to any other party and then ask them to pay to dance? I doubt it. I’ve only seen this happen at a couple of weddings I’ve been to, so I assume most of my circle share my opinion. I figure if people want to give you money, they will do so in the form of their gift, not by acting like dudes at a strip club! But hey, if you and GN are up for it, who the heck am I to say anything?

18 Ann

Way tacky. If people want to give you money they can include it in the gift. I hate going to weddings where you have to give even more money or look cheap for not standing in the line for a 30 second dance with the bride/groom.

19 Brent

ive never attended a wedding without a dollar dance so i say DO IT!

20 Makky's Mom

Come on guys – if this is presented appropriately – as a way of helping the happy couple enjoy some extra spending money on their honeymoon, what’s the big deal. I don’t think it’s tacky at all. The people who love and care for the wedding couple will be happy to be able to contribute to their honeymoon bliss. How else could you hand over a few bucks to the newly married couple and say “enjoy a drink on me” without it looking like charity. Honestly, I think it’s a cute idea (had never heard of it before) and a great way to engage the invited guests in a special dance with the special couple. It’s only ONE DANCE during the whole evening, right? 5 minutes… the rest of the dancing is free. Ninja – enjoy your dollar dance!!! And I hope you make enough to enjoy a great dinner out and buy yourselves something super special on that honeymoon to remind you of all the people who love you both!

21 FinancialCat

totally tacky! Your guests have already spent money on your showers and wedding and their outfits and getting there, etc. You shouldn’t now be asking for MORE money. The only exception is if this is a part of your culture but it doesn’t sound like it is. This sounds like a pure money grab. Don’t do it.

22 FinancialCat

totally tacky! Your guests have already spent money on your showers and wedding and their outfits and getting there, etc. You shouldn’t now be asking for MORE money. The only exception is if this is a part of your culture but it doesn’t sound like it is. This sounds like a pure money grab. Don’t do it.

23 FinancialCat

I forgot to say…I have never actually seen it done at a wedding. For my wedding, we made people pay us to kiss (instead of the glass clinking) however, we donated all the money to cancer research.

24 tom

First… Congrats!!!

Second… Do whatever you guys want. We did a dollar dance because it’s fun! You get to dance with a lot of people, talk to them one-on-one, and make a little coin. What’s the downside again?

I don’t think it’s tacky at all. So I say, get’em boy!

25 Jessica

We had a dollar dance. I guess it is just way more commone here where I live, everyone knows that there will be a dollar dance and they know what to expect. EVERYONE has one. I like it because you get to actually talk with the people that came to your wedding, because trust me you are soooo busy the rest of the time you might not have had time to talk to all those people, and really thank them for coming to your wedding. And second it is a nice way to make a little money! So no it’s NOT tacky at all, have fun!

26 PerkStreet Jen

For me: dislike. For you: whatever you like, m’dear. You know your family and friends best. You and Girl Ninja might have paused if you’d thought your guests would be offended by it, but your willingness to do it makes me think they won’t be. And if they are, well they can take that time to admire that lovely cake display again. No matter how many dollar bills get stuffed into your pants, it doesn’t make you any less married and in love.

I’m with Tom. Go get ‘em, and leave ‘em wanting more.

27 Evan

We didn’t do it, and I don’t think it is a huge deal. In the Greek tradition you actually throw money at bride and groom, or anyone else that is dancing within a circle. That money goes to the band though lol

28 SP

It is slightly tacky, but it really depends. Where I’m from almost everyone does it. There is no question. So, only slightly tacky. But i think if I saw it and had never seen it before… I’d think super tacky.

We didn’t do one, because we had our dance in my husbands home town, where it isn’t as common.

29 TRavis

PFer’s are so uptight. It’s your wedding, own it. Plus its a way for your guests to participate in the wedding. I’ve been to so many weddings where the guests are merely spectators. Show up give the gift, have a shrimp and a piece of cake, then leave. If you do it. It will be one of the most memorable and fun parts of your reception. If someone thinks it’s tacky or poor taste they can sit on their hands and not participate.

30 J$

Dude! I’m going to be in Seattle all week and weekend for a wedding myself. I think I’m going to have to crash this ;) But don’t worry, I have plenty of $1 bills to dish out. Might even bring a $5′er too if you’re lucky.

Oh, and congrats!

31 Jane

Totally tacky!! You seem obsessed with money (which is fine, this IS a personal finance blog aferall), but be obsessed with your OWN money. Some cultures do the money dance as a tradition, but it doesn’t seem like this is the case for you and GN. It just seems like you’re trying to make money off of your guests. Weddings are supposed to be a celebration of your new life together. If people wan to bestow a gift, then fine. But honestly, even that is optional. It’s not like you two are hurting for $$. Did I mention it’s totally tacky??

32 Steph/seenonflickr

I personally find it pretty tacky – it sounds like it would be hard to present it as anything other than a money-grab. And as has been noted above, people have already paid for travel, clothes, gifts, etc. to be there.

But it’s your day and it’s up to you. If people don’t want to participate in the dollar dance but still want to dance with you or the bride, I hope they are “allowed”.

33 HighClassLowIncome

I agree with Makky’s Mom and TRavis. Maybe it’s a cultural thing but I’ve seen this at a lot of weddings I’ve been to and I don’t really see it as tacky. I haven’t been to many weddings but I did see this at the most recent one I’ve been to (in 07). Wedding guests seem to be enjoying themselves too much to care or think it’s tacky, and guests probably don’t care too much about losing $5 or $10 to have a fun short dance with the bride or groom. In my experience people are generous, and knowing weddings AREN’T cheap are willing to partake in the fun of it. Who cares, if you and Girl Ninja are okay with it I say do it!!

34 Ella

My initial thought was – super tacky. But then I’ve never heard of something like this before. And if it is a cultural thing, I say go for it.

35 Jessie

I’ve never heard of it before – it sounds kinda odd. I’d say go for it if you have friends coming who have had the dollar dance at their weddings….

I think I’d rather have a loonie bar…

36 Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

My step-dad was hoping I’d have one since it’s a tradition in his family (he’s hispanic and apparently it’s huge…), but my husband drew his line right there. He thinks it’s tacky and didn’t want to dance anyway. I’m fine with dancing with friends or when I’m tipsy, but not in front of both of our judgemental extended families. So, no dancing at our reception. We mingled and joked with everybody and had music set up so people could dance if they wanted to.

I don’t think it’s tacky if everyone gets into it…it sounds fun to me. :-)

37 Samantha

bumping and grinding–lol

You know, it is a little tacky, but I think people like it. I didn’t want to have one but husband did and our DJ suggested doing a thing he called the “honeymoon dance” that is basically a dollar dance that happens right after dessert when all the older people generally leave. That way they all have one last opportunity to dance with you and say goodbye.

We ended up not doing it because the dance floor was rockin’ and we didn’t want to ruin the fun. But my husband still had a lot of people come up to him and slip him cash anyway–to the tune of about $500 bucks without even doing the dance.

38 Katelyn

Haha, tacky! Gross. And I’m West Coast, too. That said, I’ll echo one of the above comments – sometimes tacky is FUN, with the right crowd.

39 Jenna

I think it depends on what your family usually does. My family does it and its a bunch of fun. However, I know other families who think it’s a little tacky.

40 Savings

TACKY!!! Every time I’m at a wedding where people do it, I seriously die a little inside. And I judge them.

41 PunchDebt

Hahaha. Judge on :)

42 Jennifer

I’ve seen the dollar dance done a couple of times and it’s only seemed tacky to me once. That time was my cousin’s wedding, and while I love her to pieces, I totally don’t understand this – she didn’t have any dancing at her wedding, yet had a dollar dance. What the?!

So, in my humble opinion, avoid doing it like that and you’re in the clear. :)

43 sarah

Extra spending money for the honeymoon? You guys are having a $50K wedding right…I would feel fine about a dollar dance for a young couple who aren’t yet working, but you guys are adults with real jobs, real assets, and real financial responsibilities. Y’all choose to spend the amount you did on the wedding and honeymoon. I would be so offended if one of my friends played the “extra spending money” card on me after spending that amount.

Now if it was a JoP wedding like my cousins, I wold have no problem giving lots of cash for their honeymoon. So I think it depends on the situation.

On the other hand, you may have wealthier friends and family than me, who may not be as offended.

44 Rogue Marvel

We didn’t at our wedding, my husband was opposed since he felt it was a cultural thing and not of either of our cultures (tho researching, it does look like it is in some Hispanic cultures, but we never did it in my family that I can remember). I actually hadn’t even considered the idea till some of the DJs we interviewed talked about it (and how we must do, which pissed my husband off). I really can’t say I’ve seen it at a lot of the weddings I’ve been at, but considering how some people mentioned its a good way to have face time with guest that would have been nice since we did’t talk to many of our older guests, they mostly sat watching the young kids tear up the dance floor.

45 Mel

WOW! I’m shocked by all the critics. I think the dollar dance is a sweet tradition. The older folks love it. The little kids love it. It gives the bride and groom a chance to talk to guests one on one and thank them for sharing their special day. Guests like to contribute to a “fun” thing for your wedding, not just a toaster. We did it for our wedding and people still talk about how much fun they had. It’s not about the money, but it was nice to have a little extra cash to splurge with on the honeymoon.

46 Jane

then don’t call it a dollar dance…

47 BRB

I’m going to have to go with, it’s your wedding do what you want because this is your one shot to do it, line.

48 paranoidasteroid

It’s not my thing personally, but I’ve been to plenty of weddings where there was a dollar dance. As long as it’s not an hour of “Nobody can dance without paying!” it’s not a big deal one way or the other.

Be prepared to bump & grind with some dudes, though. Chad opted for the groom at our friend’s wedding – and stuck the bill into our friend’s waistband! (He is very secure with his sexuality.)

49 Airam

The comments on this are too funny!
First off, it’s your wedding. You know your guest/family/friends and how thier going to respond to this. If you want to have a dollar dance, have a dollar dance.

Secondly – I don’t think this is tacky at all, but that’s probably because I’m used to it, we just don’t call it a dollar dance. Besides on a personal level, I think a loonie bar is a LOT tackier than a dollar dance and people have those all the time. It’s all a matter of personal preferance but at the end of the day, it’s your day. Enjoy it.

50 Angela

tacky. But, if you believe your family will enjoy it–do it.

51 me in millions

I think that’s a regional/cultural thing. It is def not something that is a part of my culture (Jewish) and I’ve really never seen it done at any of the (east coast) weddings that I’ve attended. My feeling is that my friends would think it was tacky… won’t be at my wedding. But if it makes you and GN happy, go for it!

52 Caitlin

The dollar dance is such a cultural tradition! I don’t think it’s tacky, but I grew up around weddings that ALWAYS had a dollar dance. It’s just a gesture of goodwill towards the newly wed couple and it’s some mad money for the honeymoon. That’s how it was always explained to me anyways!

53 Trina

Not tacky at all. It is a great way to get people on the dance floor who might otherwise sit at their table all night. Also a nice way to get a little one on one time with the bride or groom. It’s fun and people are not going to break the bank handing over a $1 or $10 for a quick dance. I also can’t believe there are so many against it…I have seen it at the majority of the weddings I have attended.
Trina

54 Monica

OMG, my dad wore that exact blue tux in your comic at his wedding!!! Hahaha!

55 Heidi

Personally, I say do what you wanna do.

I am personally baffled by the couple of comments that said a dollar dance was tacky but then mentioned weddings where the bride and groom had people pay them to kiss. At least with a dollar dance, the person paying actually gets something out of the deal because they at least get to spend time with the bride and/or groom to chat, give well wishes, etc. Asking people to pay for you to kiss your new spouse makes it seem like you wouldn’t do it otherwise, which is just odd.

56 Beating Broke

We had a dollar dance at our wedding. Didn’t really think about whether it was tacky or not. More importantly, it’s a good excuse to get a few semi private moments with some of your relatives (and new relatives) and friends that you might not get otherwise. And, frankly, it’s a dollar. More of a token payment than a real extortion sort of thing.

57 Den

Why not err on the side of “not-tacky” don’t do it… just have a “dance with ninja and wife ninja”…a chance for everyone to dance with you both, but no money changes hands….you could get creative and ask people to give you their best piece of marriage advice while dancing with you?

Have fun whatever you do!!!

58 youngandthrifty

I’ve never seen a dollar dance, that sounds interesting!

I know you both haven’t moved in together, but I suppose that if you DID before you got married and had all the toasters that you really would ever need, a lot of people give gift cards or money instead of wedding presents.

That would be good to pay off the wedding too =)

59 Bonnie

I’d never heard of a dollar dance until I moved to the Midwest from the South. I do think it’s tacky, but…my mom said her and my dad’s wedding was kind of like Goodfellas with the Italians she didn’t know handing them money, so… :)

60 M

When we were planning our wedding, my husband and I didn’t really want to have a money dance, even though it’s common around here and a cultural tradition. I think our DJ (someone not of our culture) ended up convincing us to do it when we were going over the reception timeline with him. In hindsight, I’m glad we did it. For some of our guests, it was the only time we got to mingle with them. The reception goes by so fast, and when you have 175 guests, it’s hard to spend a lot of time with each person! Plus the footage of the money dance on our wedding video is one of the best memories we have of the wedding! My grandpa dancing with and twirling my husband? Check! Me dancing with friends’ babies? Check! Friend’s drunk husband twirling and dipping my husband? Check!

And of course, it’s nice to have cash gifts! We used some of the cash to put a deposit on our first apartment together. We actually paid the landlord in cash. That was a first for her. LOL

61 Fig

i just want to say I HATE the word tacky. Seriously. WTF? Something “tacky” to some people is traditional or fun to other people. If you wanna do it, do it! It will probably be really fun!

I’ve never been to a wedding where it’s been done. I really wish I had though, because it sounds fun and I’d like to do it!

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