When You Cannot (and will not) Give The Very Best

by admin on May 10, 2012

   So, you’ve been solicited for donations to fund someone’s hobby or encountered the outstretched hand begging for you to give them money to have the dream wedding of a lifetime.  Or your teenaged nephew is a serious gimme pig with no sense of gratitude whatsoever.   Or you’ve just received a birthday or wedding invitation which dictates that the only acceptable gift is money.   You are caught in a dilemma in that you can’t stand the idea of being a co-dependent to someone else’s greed and facilitating their continued greediness.

Perhaps the solution is create your own money via the web site Festisite.com.  One can choose from dozens of currencies from around the world, upload your own image and print it (set print image size to  2.61 inches wide by 6.14 inches long for US currency size).  Cut it out and there you have it.

One practical use of this web site would be for bridal couples to create their own “fun money” with their photo on it which guests can then use for a dollar dance instead of real money.   Ask guests to write a little blessing or note on the back .

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary May 10, 2012 at 7:12 am

I love the idea of using this for dollar dances. I know in some regions, the pressure is there to do a dollar dance. This would be a wonderful solution.

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MoniCAN May 10, 2012 at 7:25 am

Love the idea of fun money for the dreaded dollar dance! Though I’ve never seen a dollar dance in person (thank goodness) I’d probably sneak out of the reception in horror if expected to shell out my own cash. Several posters have defended dollar dances as a longstanding tradition that guests in their region/family expect and enjoy. They claim it’s not about the money. Well then! Here is the answer to that! All the fun, none of the guests shelling out the cash! And a nice wedding keepsake to boot.

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--Lia May 10, 2012 at 7:48 am

If I remember correctly from something I heard long ago, fun money of the sort used in monopoly games or at amusement parks is supposed to be a different size from the real thing. I think the federal government didn’t want people even approaching the possibility of something looking like counterfeiting. That’s even if you put a picture of Mickey Mouse on the bill instead of Jefferson. Which makes me sound like the party pooper on what I actually think is a pretty cool idea.

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Meghan May 10, 2012 at 7:57 am

I agree! Using this for a dollar dance would be a great twist on an otherwise uncomfortable (for most) tradition. :)

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josie May 10, 2012 at 8:16 am

Or how about just “gifting” them with foreign currancy? I’ve be given leftover vacation currancy as a souveneir…time to clean out the small stash!

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Tru May 10, 2012 at 8:24 am

This website should shed some light on the legality of printing money. If you do as the Admin suggests and leave one side blank so that wishes and blessings can be written on the back, then you should be fine. http://www.secretservice.gov/money_illustrations.shtml

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Jay May 10, 2012 at 8:42 am

Thought this was illegal, at least for US currency.

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Wink-N-Smile May 10, 2012 at 8:51 am

If I went to a wedding where the dollar dance was done with this fun money, instead of real money, I’d be tempted to put a few real bills in, just because I like the people (or I wouldn’t bother to go to their wedding), and I like that they did the fun money, instead of real.

I’m like that. Beg me for money, and I won’t give it. But give me a smile, and I’m happy to pay out.

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J'smama May 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

I wish I would have used this for my wedding. We did not have a dollar dance, because I didn’t feel comfortable with the whole idea of it.

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Enna May 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

I would’t print it off as the same size as real money. But it is a good idea for gimme pigs.

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Angel May 10, 2012 at 9:20 am

That site is great! There are all different countries’ currencies on it too. I think it would be a great teaching tool for a lesson about the currencies of other countries–what they look like and what their dollars are called. Great idea for that stupid dollar dance thing too. Love it!

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LovleAnjel May 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

Using fun money for the dollar dance is such a cute idea!

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Andrea May 10, 2012 at 10:05 am

@Angel:
I wouldn’t use it for teaching about the currencies, it’s outdated. Where’s the Euro? Instead, they still have Deutsche Mark and other European currencies on it…

That said, I like the idea of using such fake bills for parties. :-)

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inNM May 10, 2012 at 11:57 am

I agree, it’s a good idea, but how do you issue the fun money so that one person doesn’t hoard most of it (and therefore hoard most of the blessings/dance time with the bride or groom)? Would you issue it with the invitation, or leave a basket at the entrance or leave one with each place setting, next to a pen?

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Calli Arcale May 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

I LOVE the dollar dance idea! I didn’t do a dollar dance (it’s not generally done in my family anyway) but the idea of having people write blessings on the funny money is brilliant and would make it such a touching and lovely thing.

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Stacey Frith-Smith May 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Planning an event whose chief goal is to net profit in the form of gifts and cash is so antithetical to the basic idea of good hospitality that it begs the question- where did it all go so wrong? Weddings, showers, graduations, birthdays and occasions of all kinds are supposed to center on the important relationships and events in our lives. These offer a chance to connect with people who matter to us in a different venue, but the manner should be the same. If you come to my place for dinner, I’m not hoping you’ll bring a couple of extra steaks so we really profit by your presence. If you come for brunch, I’m not trimming the invitation with extra notes about what wines I like and what hostess gifts are acceptable for you to bring. If you come for a birthday, well…we usually just do cake, or maybe dinner. So how is it that anyone thinks that the rest of the world has the time, the money or the desire to cater to the “gimme’s”? It’s like planning and executing a caper, of sorts. Sorry for the rant today. Just slap on my “stick in the mud” label and call it good.

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Ang63 May 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm

A pity they don’t have Euro’s, but only some of the old currencies they replaced .

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Chocobo May 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Er, I think I’d rather just see the “dollar dance” disappear altogether.

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Ashley May 10, 2012 at 12:34 pm

To be fair, there are cultures out there where the dollar dance is totally acceptable and actually EXPECTED at weddings, and it’s this whole big grand thing with deeply rooted traditions, not just someone from the bridal party panhandling so the guests get 30 seconds with the bride…

That being said, I’ve always kinda wanted to stuff fake money somewhere that greedy people were expecting real money. I’d be nervous of printing it the same size as real money though, I thought that was illegal?

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Jo May 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm

It’s not actually about your region of the United States, though I’ve seen more and more yankees try to blame the “tacky dollar dance” on Southerners. Funny, I’ve lived below the Mason-Dixon my entire life and I’ve NEVER been to a wedding with this dance (and neither have any of the dozens of friends and family members I’ve asked.) My Polish ex-roommate, however, who is first generation American and travels back to Poland to attend many weddings, has told me that the dollar dance is a very strong Polish tradition and takes place at every wedding in her circle of Polish family members and friends. To further support this impression, the opening scene of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” (sorry, there is no underline function) is a dollar dance at a Polish wedding. Therefore, I believe it is more about ethnic and cultural tradition than region.

I think it’s a bit hilarious everyone up there seems to think that everyone down here lives in trailers, marries their cousins and runs around being uneducated denizens of bad etiquetteville.

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Shoegal May 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm

The dollar dance is a tradition in my family – all of my brothers and sisters had it when they married. I didn’t. I didn’t want solicit money from my family and friends but this would have made it fun. I would have actually considered it. If anything – everyone could have gotten a slice of wedding cake and shot for the money.

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nk May 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

@ Jo – The wedding in “The Jungle” is Lithuanian, not Polish. So maybe the dollar dance is just a European tradition that some Americans put to gimme-pig use.

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Mary May 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I grew up in Southeastern Wisconsin and had never heard of the dollar dance (and most of family was from West Coast) . Hubby grew up in Central Minnesota where it happens at every wedding. Our wedding was in Wisconsin and I refused to do the dance (hubby agreed since no one in my family had heard of it). But we did have male friends of his trying to slow dance with him and shove money in his pocket since we did not have the dollar dance.

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Another Alice May 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Jo,

That’s really strange to me, as I grew up in the Northeast and EVERY wedding I’ve been to has a dollar dance, and none of my southern friends have heard of it! Personally, I think it’s cute. I also have noticed that no one looks at the amount put into the bag – and it’s hard to figure out even if you were tacky enough to want to, as some traditions dictate that you tie the bill into a knot.

I don’t know. I sort of see it as a really nice, deeply ingrained tradition that has the purpose of wanting the bride and groom to have a good start in life. If you don’t feel a dollar dance is appropriate (which, it isn’t if it isn’t in your family/region’s traditions – that’s when it turns into a money grab), I wouldn’t bother doing one with fake money. That, to me, is even more strange than upholding the tradition as practiced. You might as well just put a bunch of nice stationary next to a box, or at each place setting, for guests to write well wishes. Or, at the very least, the dollar dance money could go to a charity of the bride and groom’s choosing.

I just think anything “fake” or watered down is tackier than the original tradition, even if the original tradition is about giving money to people. Most cultures have some sort of wedding/gift/money tradition, and if we call all of them tacky, then we won’t be left with many things to do at a wedding. At the end of the day, it’s the same as gifts: Participate if you feel it necessary, and if not, don’t.

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David May 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm

@Shoegal;
I am hoping you meant a slice of wedding cake and a shot.

I have never been to a wedding with a dollar dance. While I wish the bride and groom well, I don’t subject the world to my dancing.

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Harry May 11, 2012 at 12:17 am

Be very careful here. I know it’s meant as a joke, but in some countries it’s called counterfeiting.

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whatever May 11, 2012 at 1:24 am

@nk: definitely not european in general, i live in central europe and have never even heard of it. maybe eastern european though.

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Chocobo May 11, 2012 at 9:16 am

Wow, Jo, that was incredibly insulting.

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kingsrings May 11, 2012 at 11:38 am

The concept of people nowadays not expecting something in return when they throw or host an event is sadly dying more and more. The thought nowadays seems to be that if I do something where you gain, you need to do something for me where I gain as well. Either the mindset is “I spent all this $$$ on this event, you can at least give me some $$$ in return”, or “I want to throw such-and-such shindig, but I can’t afford to provide everything needed for it, so I need help from my guests”. Lately I’ve been invited to or caught word of potluck birthday parties, funeral receptions where the guests are asked to provide a dish, etc.

Hence I don’t see this concept going well. The majority of people having dollar dances are doing it purely for financial gain, even if they don’t outright state it. But it’s still a cute and clever idea, I like the idea of the couple getting these little sayings and good wishes to remember everyone by.

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tracy May 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I think this could be very useful for dropping into the kettle of annoying, persistent charities I do not support. I could write a nice note on the back (yes, I mean nice) explaining why I chose not to give them actual money.

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Gilraen May 12, 2012 at 4:08 am

I would like to add that the money for a wedding is part of a cultural etiquette and as such is not greedy.
In my country asking for money at a wedding is standard. I have never been to a wedding in my country where anything else was requested. We don’t ask for specific gifts (registry). We accept what people want to give us of they want to gift and prefer money as it is easy. Many that get married want to put it toward something to commemorate their wedding.
When I first heard about a registry when I lived abroad I was offended and found the idea greedy. I did not like the fact that the bride and groom basically told me what they felt I should give them. As if my choice and feelings in the matter did not count. I still find it an odd thing.
However I had to learn that there are different ways to look at things and different cultural settings/expectations and therefore different etiquette.

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Lizzy May 12, 2012 at 9:51 am

The “money dance” is a big tradition in my husband’s family. Before we got married, I had never heard of it, and was quite put off on the idea. Dancing for money? How strange, uncomfortable and TACKY!!!! I didn’t want to do it, wasn’t planning on doing it, was adamant against doing it, but after several of his family members asking the DJ when the dollar dance would be, I finally relented. My MIL, bless her heart, knew how uncomfortable I was with the whole idea and dragged her son (the groom) out on the floor with her so I wouldn’t be out there alone. I have no idea who gave what in terms of money, or even how much money we collected, but in the 19 years since the event I have come to understand that for my husband’s family, the dance isn’t about the money and never was. The “dollar” is an excuse which allows members of the new family to get close enough to the bride to physically embrace her and welcome her into the family. The “dance” is the point, the money’s just a means to that end. There’s nothing wrong with the tradition per se, like many things in life it’s the motives behind the actions that really matter. FWIW, we’re both from Michigan so not southern here either. But if it is in your family to do this, and you’re not comfortable with it, I think it would be OK to place ‘blessing bucks’ for the dollar dance out with your place settings and party favors. It seems like a good compromise to me, since if it really IS your tradition, the money isn’t what matters.

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admin May 16, 2012 at 7:54 am

What does it say about the couple if relatives feel that the only way to have closeness and a few moments with the bride is to pay for it? And let’s not forget that nearly all dollar dances are with the bride only. Are grooms not equally welcome into the family? It used to be that the newlyweds had an obligation to dance with their guests. The groom would seek out the female relatives to ask for a dance and the bride would put her make guests’ names on her dance card. We’ve now reduced that lovely tradition of gracious courtesy to one’s guests with a tawdry exchange of money as the admittance fee.

And if money were not the issue, then play money would have been substituted with nary a thought.

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Enna May 13, 2012 at 10:17 am

@ Tracy, why not just ask to be removed from their mailing list? You will still be spending money on ink and paper. If the letters you are getting are random “to the occupier” letters to try to get new donnors and are not actually addressed to you personally just put them to be recycled. If the letters are addressed to you personally point out to the charity that they are wasting postage and ink and paper writing to you.

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Mabel May 13, 2012 at 10:54 am

This is a cute idea for….what? I wouldn’t have a dollar dance to begin with. Tacky, tacky, tacky. I have more than enough spine to refuse to do it! :)

I guess it would be fun for gag gifts, or party favors of some kind. Put the birthday person’s face on it and have people at the party write on it.

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anonymous May 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I’m of Polish heritage and have neither seen a dollar dance at a wedding nor heard of it in the Polish side of my family’s very Polish community (as in, more than half the town is Polish).

I’m also from the Northeast and have never been to any wedding with such a dance, nor heard of it until I started planning my own wedding and my grandmother suggested it. When I said “no”, she backed off.

Nobody I know in the Northeast or of Polish heritage has one. Including myself.

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Gracie C. May 14, 2012 at 9:24 am

I’m in the Northeast, and I’ve been to exactly one wedding with a dollar dance – it was 25 years ago. The bride was 17 and pregnant, the groom 18. They truly had nothing. I assume that’s why people wanted ways to give them more money – as I recall it wasn’t their idea, but I was pretty young myself, so I could be remembering wrong. I think it’s a tradition in certain cirlces in certain places. Many of the people I know have never heard of it, others have been to several weddings with one, and then like I said, I’ve been to the one, a long time ago. So, I really think it’s not specific to one place or time, or culture.

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Emmy May 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Everytime I hear of dollar dances, I can’t help but thinking of paying for lap dances in a gentleman’s club. And personally I’d perfer strippers not be what people are thinking of on my hypothetical wedding day.

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