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Dollar Dance Alternatives

Reader Question

Our families really don’t dance. We are taking waltz lessons so that we can have our first dance but other than that there wont be any real dancing! We need some alternative ideas for the dollar dance! Any ideas would be MUCH appreciated! Thanks!

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Dollars,

I’m sorry. There are no polite alternatives to the ‘Dollar Dance’. This is now viewed as tacky even by those whose families had once thought of it as ‘traditional’.

I just attended a wedding where the couple was to have a ‘Dollar Dance’. When it was announced, most of the guests disappeared. It was embarrassing for the couple.

There really is no need for dancing if your family doesn’t dance. If you want to dance a waltz for your first dance and then open the floor for the remainder of your guests, that is fine. It is your choice.

Best wishes,

Reader Response

I had a snazzy idea about a dollar dance. It’s true, some people do think it’s tacky, and one of my fears is to have people suddenly disappear when it is announced. I was thinking that during the reception, the best man and maid of honor can announce over the loudspeaker something like, “The bride and groom appreciate everyone for being here. They have so many close friends and loved ones and wanted to share this special day with you all, so in order to not leave anyone out, they opted to not have a honeymoon. We are now raffling off various prizes, so please buy tickets so we can send them somewhere romantic.” or, something along those lines, I’m sure you can put it better than I can.

Have immediate family donate prizes, or go spend an extra $200 on various prizes. I’m sure you’ll get way more in that back from the raffle anyway. And people love to get cool prizes. Especially if it’s only $1. Who knows, they might buy a few.

Donna, Wedding Queen

Miss Melanie:

With all due respect…is this a wedding or a carnival? I assume, since you’re asking for etiquette help, that you care about what your guests’ think so please, leave this whole carnival act out of the wedding and just have a wedding. If people give you some cash gifts, then awesome, you’ll go on your trip. If not, then maybe you’ll save what you DO get and go when you can afford to do so.

Sorry, but you asked. [unsure]

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Alternatives,

Please don’t. This is not fair to the guests and will put everyone in a difficult situation of being on the spot to pay up. Plus, your comment about that “the couple didn’t want to leave anyone out so they opted not to have a honeymoon” is like telling everyone that they are responsible for the couple not having a honeymoon. The guests may also think that couple could have had a small affair and had the honeymoon.

The guests have already bought a wedding gift; some could have bought shower gifts also. There are other costs involved with attending someone’s wedding such as travel and lodging. All of this cost is to honor the couple. The couple should not be holding raffles, or expecting their guest to pay for their honeymoon in addition to everything else the guests have paid for. It is disrespectful to the guests.

If you are worried about guests disappearing, you may want to consider that they just may leave when this is announced. This may embarrass everyone.

Please reconsider.

Reader Response

Firstly, I am sightly offended that you would call my wedding a “Carnival” But I guess you know more about weddings than I do. I like my idea and plan on doing it because it is the honest to God truth and people can respect that. Personally, I think it all depends on the relationship between you and your guests. I guess you are assuming that this is a formal wedding, where everyone is dressed to be so “Classy” and is over 40 years of age. But for myself, this is not the case. My guests are very relaxed and not so critical about everything. We are by no means planning the boring standard wedding. We want our guests to enjoy themselves, as well as the many children attending. Buffet style, kacky pants and hawaiian t-shirts is what we have in mind. Not everyone has a large budget, and we are planning our whole wedding on about 5 grand. Which means, a nice slipdress as a wedding “gown” or maybe even one of those $99.00 “Davids Bridal” thingies. Who wants a plastic bottle full of bubbles at their table? or even a decorated “cake” cookie? I mean, candy on the table, dessert and wedding cake, who wants another sweet thing? I plan on having lotto tickets (nicely placed, of course) (I think people are much more interested in that) plus it will occupy their time. Honestly, nobody remembers your centerpieces or sometimes even what your “colors” were. They care about enjoying themselves, food, drinks, etc. That’s all they will remember; is what a good (or bad) time they had at your wedding. So if I know (through personal experience) that my guests will have a good time winning things and being entertained at my “carnival” I am going to go for it. Because it pleases me and my guests and there’s nothing wrong with having a good time. I am sure there are many more ladies (or men) out there (my AGE, 25) under my circumstances who would appreciate my ideas. My wedding will be no uniform, ordinary, boring wedding. Thank You.

Donna, Wedding Queen

Good manners and care for your guest’s feelings are appropriate for every style of event whether it is held in a fine restaurant or a family member’s backyard; whether it is a $500 a plate function or a pot luck supper.

I’m sorry you are offended by my response but it is never appropriate to invite guests to an event and have the possibility of making them uncomfortable. We would be doing you a disservice if we didn’t warn you (and other bride’s reading this post), that you could possibly embarrass or offend a guest if you choose this method of collecting gifts.

Of course, they are your friends and family and you can, and should, do as you see fit.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Well done, Wedding Queen.

Plus, you are still missing the point, Missmelanie. You want to have an entertaining event for your friends–great idea. But, you are not having a raffle for your guest’s entertainment. You are having a raffle as a way to get cash for your honeymoon–bottom line. Everyone will note this. Honestly, your guest may view this as tacky, even your 24/25 year olds.

It would be our failure not to point this out.

By the way, I had a wonderful wedding, all paid by my husband and I, for less than that amount. Everyone danced and had fun. We waited an entire year for our honeymoon, which we paid for ourselves. At some time or another, we have to take responsibility for ourselves and pay our own way.