dollar dances are a common wedding activity that allow the bride and groom to get extra cash to help pay for their honeymoon or other expenses. Guests essentially pay the bride and groom for a dance, which isn't ideal for all couples or guests. There are other ways the couple can receive cash from guests without doing the dollar dance, though some guests might find any events that include collecting cash from guests to be tacky or poor etiquette. Alternatively, the couple can dance with their guests without the monetary exchange.
Assemble a money tree, wishing well or card box for guests to offer cash without the dance, if it's traditional in your region or family for guests to give cash or if you want to give guests the opportunity to give cash without the dance. A money tree can be a wire tree or branches assembled in a decorative way. Add clips, rubberbands or pins for guests to attach bills to the tree. Put a couple dollars on the tree before the reception so guests will know what it's for. Alternatively, set up a card box or wishing well where guests can drop off cards or randomly leave cash for the couple without feeling obligated or making guests who don't wish to contribute feel awkward. Supply pens, note paper and envelopes with a poem or sign that instructs guests to leave their wishes or thoughts for the couple.
Have the DJ play an upbeat song and emcee a dollar dash where the bride and groom must dash around the room as quickly as they can to see who can raise the most money. Add to the competition by giving out hugs for a dollar and kisses for five, if you want to give the guests more incentive. The game can result in the bride and groom counting their money to see who raised more, or the DJ can lighten the mood by telling the groom he might as well just hand it over because she gets all the money now anyway.
Hype It Up
Have the maid of honor and best man hype up the crowd and collect cash rather than having the bride and groom running all over to collect money. The couple should be on the floor dancing together while the DJ, maid of honor and best man work together to keep the guests involved. See who can collect more—the maid of honor for the bride or the best man for the groom. This is similar to the wedding dash, but gets others involved and keeps all eyes on the happy couple.
Make a game out of it, matching the specifics to your wedding theme, if possible. For example, a wild west theme could include the groomsmen coming in looking like bandits with bandannas covering their faces and "kidnapping" the bride. The DJ can don a hat and sheriff's badge to deliver the ransom note to the groom. To get his bride back, he might have to sing a song, do the chicken dance or perform other silly tasks to get the guests laughing. In addition, the final demand will be for a certain amount of cash. Make the dollar amount low so guests don't feel awkward, though most will likely contribute so the groom can get his bride back.
Auction off one dance with the bride and groom to the highest bidder to raise money for the couple without the dollar dance dragging on forever. The DJ or best man can play auctioneer. The bride and groom should still dance with other guests and perhaps award the runners up with half a dance.
Have guests surround the couple on the dance floor and toss money in the center. Someone, such as the DJ, parents or someone from the wedding party, should hand the bride and groom a broom and dust pan to collect the money and read a passage about marriage taking team work, respect and love. Write your own passage to make it personal.
Dancing Without the Dollars
Place a small wishing card or dance tickets at each place setting to keep the one-on-one time dancing with guests without the monetary attachment. Alternatively, guests can drop their place cards in a basket so the bride and groom can remember who they danced with and mention it when sending out thank you cards.
Get everyone dancing by having the bride and groom start the dance. After a few moments, the DJ can announce that guests are welcome—and encouraged—to cut-in. The partner who is relieved should seek out another guest to dance with until most of the guests are on the dance floor.
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Janece Bass is a freelance writer specializing in weddings, family, health, parenting, relationships, dating, decorating, travel, music and sports. She has been writing for more than 15 years and has numerous published pieces on various websites and blogs. Bass has also ghostwritten various fiction-based novels.