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The money dance, dollar dance, or apron dance is an event at some wedding receptions in various cultures. During a money dance, male guests pay to dance briefly with the bride, and sometimes female guests pay to dance with the groom. The custom originated in Poland in the early 1900s in immigrant neighborhoods.
Sometimes guests are told that the money will be used for the bride and groom's honeymoon or to give them a little extra cash with which to set up housekeeping.
The money dance may have originated in Poland around the beginning of the 20th century. The dance takes place some time after the First dance, often once guests have had a chance to have a few drinks. The best man or MC or the disc jockey announces the event. Customarily, the best man begins dancing with the bride, pinning money onto her wedding gown or putting it into a purse, which she carries especially for the purpose, or into the pockets of an apron she dons over her gown especially for this dance. In a more contemporary version of this custom, the dance includes bridesmaids and other ladies who dance.
At Ukrainian weddings, the father of the bride usually begins pinning money on her dress. He is followed by the best man and groomsmen, and, finally, by the remainder of the male guests. Another variation is where the bride's veil is removed and given to the maid of honor and an apron is placed on the bride. Money is then placed into her apron during the dance.
At Yugoslavian weddings, instead of pinning the money on the bride's gown, the male guests give the money to the best man for safe keeping.
At Hungarian and Portuguese weddings, the bride takes off her dress and puts it in the middle of the dance floor. Then her underwear is passed around from guests to guest and each deposits a contribution.
During the first dance, and the general opening of the dance floor, relatives and well wishers will take turns approaching the bride and groom, (and sometimes their mothers) and spray them with small denominations of bills and notes as they dance. The practice has become widespread across the country, but is most common among the Yoruba and Igbo, both in Nigeria and within their immigrant communities around the world. In addition to spraying, a newly married couple may also be covered in leis and other decorations made of dollar bills, pound sterling or naira notes.
Relatives take turns dancing up to the bride and groom and pinning money on their clothes, which allows the couple to spend a few moments with each of their guests. After the money dance, the groom is ridiculed by his friends, tossed in the air while being covered with the veil, and given an apron and broom.
In America, practice of a money dance varies by geographic region and ethnic background of the families involved. It typically involves guests giving small sums of cash to the bride or pinning cash to her gown or veil. Sometimes the money is placed in an apron held by the maid of honor or a female relative and the best man gives shots of whiskey to participants before the dance.
Even cultures that accept this may balk at paying the groom for his time and attention, so alternatives have developed, such as "paying" the groom with play money or a stick of chewing gum. Some consider this a way for the bride and groom to have face time with their guests and to wish them luck. Some couples place a small bowl on each table for guests to leave cash or checks so that guests won't feel obligated to 'pay' for a short dance with the bride or groom, while still giving them the opportunity to spend 30–60 seconds chatting and dancing with them as the newlywed couple visits each table. Others say that the money will be for their firstborn child so the money is not for the couple.
Many, including traditional North American etiquette experts, consider the practice of asking for money from invited guests via the "Money Dance", as incorrect.
At some Filipino weddings, the money dance is usually announced; males line up in front of the bride, pinning money on her dress or veil, then dance with her. Same with the male, only females line up instead. Money is pinned or taped onto the new married couple's garments, representing the wish that good fortune is "rained" upon them, while also helping the couple financially as they begin their life together.