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The author of this article, Phil Seyer, offers wedding music and dance services in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as Sacramento and Reno

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Wedding Dances
The Money Dance
(Dollar Dance)

By Phil Seyer
Dance Teacher, DJ, & Musician

In many families a "money dance" -- sometimes called a "dollar dance" is traditional at wedding dance receptions.

In this dance, guests make an offering for the opportunity to dance with the bride or groom. This gesture is a way of wishing good fortune upon the newly married couple as well as helping them out financially. In the picture below (taken at a recent wedding reception where I was the DJ) you can see how even children can have fun participating in the money dance.

wedding DJ, Dollar Dance
Courtesy of

The photo shows a young girl enjoying a money dance with the groom. Notice that the money is pinned to a sash worn by the groom. You can also see the bride dancing in the upper right corner of the photo. The money donated to the bride and groom can be really significant. $700 to $1500 or $2000 is not uncommon. This can help the bride and groom get their marriage off to a good start financially. That's part of the idea of the money dance. The other idea is that the money dance offers guests a chance to spend some time with the bride or groom.

Starting the Money Dance. It is helpful if the money dance is scheduled to start at a specific time, but a certain degree of flexibility is required since various events may take less or more time than originally planned. When the bride and groom are ready for the money dance, they may send a messenger to the DJ informing him or her of this.

The DJ can then fade down the background music and announce the money dance -- explaining the symbolism behind it, and introducing the attendants.

After introducing the dance generally, the DJ may say, "And now the First Money Dance!" and start playing the tunes especially selected by the bride and groom for this purpose. It may also help to put up a banner or sign explaining what the money dance is all about. You can order customized banners for your wedding here.

The money dance attendants may help by organizing the line-up of guests and signaling when it is time to change partners. They might also help by pinning the money on the bride and groom before each dance. Children as well as adults of all ages can enjoy the money dance. Once the money dance starts, it is best to let it continue until everyone who wants to has had a chance to participate. When the dwindles down to zero, the bride and groom may finish the last song by dancing together. The DJ will then often open the dance floor to everyone.

It is best to have the money dance immediately after any other special dances, earlier on in the party before open dancing -- and before your guests leave!. By the way it is best if toasts and cake cutting, bouquet and garter tosses take place before the special dances. It's not effective to interrupt open dancing to go to cake cutting and return to open dancing. This causes a loss of momentum. It is best if one event flows smoothly and quickly into the next.

Do you agree? Post your comments on Doctor Phil's Wedding Wiki

Money Dance Pictures

It is a good idea to let your photographer know about the money dance. This is a great opportunity to get some really memorable photos of your guests enjoying the party as they dance with you.

To get a better idea of how everyone can participate in the the money dance, you may want to see some pictures of a wedding that I recently DJed. In these pictures notice that the bride is wearing a traditional red, Chinese wedding dress.

Money Dance Wedding Pictures
(courtesy of )

Wedding Music or Dance Questions?

If you have any questions about this article or about my wedding services (especially live music, DJ service, dance lessons), I would be happy to talk to you. You may call me toll free at 866-401-3535 or send me your wedding questions by email. NOTE: I won't try to sell you anything. I'm here to help you with any issues surround your wedding.

Warmest regards,

Phil Seyer
"Doctor Phil" -- Dance Lesson DJ and Musician