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This incident of gimme gimme happened 20 years ago, but none
of us involved have ever forgotten. I had a high school friend, we’ll call
Julie. Julie and I had had a falling out shortly after high school (when
she told me I needed to resume a relationship with a man who had threatened to
beat me because I was hurting his feelings. Okeydokey.) Fast forward a few
years. Her family moved out of state and none of her former friends have heard
from her until they get a phone call announcing her engagement. Everyone is
surprised to hear that the wedding will be back in our town since no one in her
family has ever returned for a visit nor made any phone calls to anyone. But
okay. She asks a few of her former high school friends to be her bridesmaids.
All are perplexed and agree. The designated MOH asks, naturally, about
purchasing gowns since the bride is a continent away. “Just wear your old prom
gown. Who cares?” Okeydokey again.
The designated MOH keeps calling her up and asking if she
needs any help. “No, don’t worry about. It’s not a big deal, just a
wedding.” Finally, the MOH asks about flowers at which point, the bride
says, “Call up the cheapest florist in town and spend no more than $100.”
“But what kind of flowers do you want?” The MOH wants to know.
“Oh….Daisies. They’re cheap, right?”
As it transpired, the parents of the bride had given the lucky
couple had given them a budget and told them anything they did not spend
they could keep. So the B&G were determined to make it as cheap as possible
to keep as much money as possible. Everything was done as cheaply as
possible, including booking the reception site – which was in an old union
hall famous for its keggers as well as the inescapable and redolent odor
combination of beer and body odor. The bride and groom spent the entire
wedding in a ‘sort of haze’ everyone reported and seemed uninterested in
anything other than the gifts. No one got a thank you note. No one was terribly
surprised by that oversight given the lackadaisical manner of the entire affair.
A few months later the MOB reports to the MOH that to her
shock, the entire wedding was a staged event concocted by the bride and groom
solely to get gifts/cash for the bride and groom to use to pay for their cocaine
Yes, the entire wedding was a ruse to get money to pay for
A friend left me a voicemail once with the following
suggestion: "Hi! I just took a look at my wedding registry and it looks
like one of my favorite items, a punch bowl shaped like a rabbit, is almost out
of stock! It's your job to call around to people and tell them I really
really like it and to hurry up and buy it before it disappears forever! Ok,
love ya! Bye!" Ew! How could anyone ever ask me to be so rude on their
behalf? I cast you out, gimme-demon!
I married into an Polish-American family several years ago. I
grew up down South and Southerners are vaguely aware of that rudest of wedding
faux-pas, The Money Dance, but treat it more as an urban legend. The only
time growing up that I ever saw it in action was when a cousin married a girl
from Boston, and her family caused a ruckus at the reception until the groom's
parents (who were hosting the reception), gave in and let it occur. I remember
that only her side of the family participated while everyone else watched
We were to be married in the South and as I was paying for my
reception, I wanted it to be as Southern-Style as possible. I immediately
informed my fiancé that under no occurrence would two things happen at the
reception: the Chicken dance polka nor the Money dance. (Any other polka but one
that requires people to point their backsides at the audience and shake it
madly.) My mother-in-law to be had a fit over the dropping of the
Money dance! (Fiancé agreed with me and has never cared for it himself.)
She kept whining about tradition and how it was an integral part of being
Polish. Unable to sway me, she decided to tell me the history of the Money
Dance from the Polish Culture, hoping that would change my mind. (As
a background, my Fiancé grew up close to his Great Grandparents who were both
born and raised in Poland, helping them out in their Polish restaurant, and
speaking Polish. Therefore, when my mother-in-law indicated this was the
background of 'how it was in the old country,' I feel confident that is probably
the folklore behind it in Poland, or at least the region from which they
So, onto the history of the Money Dance, Polish style:
At a wedding reception, the grandmother of the bride would find an old silver
serving tray, preferably one that was very worn down from much use and cleaning.
She would hold it in the folds of her apron. Men would come up with large
coins and HURL them down at the tray. THIS (my MIL would say with a BIG
SMILE) was symbolic of the men (that is plural - group effort here folks)
breaking the Bride's Hymen and ending her Virginity!!!! With time, between the
weight of the coins piling up, and the force of them being hurled, the tray
would SNAP. It was said that the size of the pile of the coins was a
testament to the groom's er... Equipment (larger the pile, more to work with I
guess), and the longer it took to snap the tray, the more virtuous the Bride
was, and harder she would fight off her husband in fear of the unknown on their
wedding night. (I.e. if bride is a hussy, she would give in right away,
therefore if she was a hussy, the tray would snap right away.) By the men
collectively breaking it first, they were symbolically getting the 'painful
and unpleasant' part of the wedding night out of the way so the groom and
bride could enjoy themselves. Once emigrated to the US, the coins became
silver dollars, and in the depression, there was no way to spare a good silver
tray for breaking, so it morphed into the money grab we now all know as the
There my mother in law stood, eyes bright, smile from ear to
ear, knowing full well I couldn't turn down her request for so NOBLE a
tradition. She still can't understand why I found it ever MORE offensive at that
point. So, ladies, think of this if you don't see anything wrong
with a Money Dance: -While you are dancing, people are symbolically betting on
whether you are a slut or frigid -Men you may not know are symbolically trying
to force themselves on you to end your Maidenhood -People are symbolically
trying to find out the size of your husband's private parts
My friend's fiancé' had a wedding and wedding reception, in
her home state. They had a shower here in his home state. ONE year later, we get
in invitation to a 'Wedding Reception' complete with her wearing her dress and
all her family, food, dancing. Gifts expected. Sorry, I'm not attending a
blatant bid for more gifts, ONE year later, and a baby on the way too boot.
A very old friend got engaged to a man from a third world
country. I wanted to be nice and excepting, so I sent an engagement gift,
even writing a note to him in his native language since he didn't speak English.
I was very proud of myself for the whole thing, because I thought the
heart-shaped waffle iron was beyond perfect as well. I got a thank-you
note for my "housewarming present" and was confused. I had to
hear through the grapevine that the engagement was called off. Apparently,
she thought the gift was as cool as I thought it was and she kept it.
Years have gone by and she's engaged again and I'm invited to the wedding.
How do I get over my feelings of resentment over the first gift? Shall I
buy her the same thing to send a message? I don't want to get her anything
since I kind of already did. Perhaps some lovely boxes of waffle mix?
Drop the whole thing? What's a girl to do?
My fiancé and I were invited to the wedding of a dear friend
of mine from university. They registered for contributions towards their
honeymoon in the form of specific experiences. We “purchased” a few and
transferred the money (total $180) to their joint bank account. The wedding went
well and the happy couple departed on their three week honeymoon. On their
return we got an email saying they hadn’t been able to find time in their
schedule to do any of the things we’d “paid” for. So they just pocketed
the cash. And after over two years we have yet to receive thank you note. They
do amazingly find time to send us invitations to events that require presents
(baby showers, birthdays etc). Needless to say we don’t attend.
I'm nominating myself for the Gimme, Gimme, Gimme category.
Odd, I know... My husband and I live no where near our respective
families so the wedding planning was done over the phone. Nothing was
right for my mother, she disagreed with EVERY decision I had made (keep in
mind, we were paying for this ourselves and hadn't asked for a dime from
After a month of going back and forth, I had it.
Maybe some people could've lasted longer. We decided we were going to
Vegas & if anyone wanted to go, they were more than welcome. Mom
threw a fit about this!! She would never go to Vegas as it was tacky.
I knew that I would never hear the end of it so we decided to go to Hawaii
instead - hoping that would be too far for anyone to fly... She went
anyway - at least I talked her out of staying for our entire honeymoon, she
just stayed the weekend.
But the part that turned my stomach was that she HAD to have
invitations so all her friends & family members would know I'm getting
married. I didn't want to send them because I always thought the
"hey we're getting married on an island & I don't expect you to come,
but send me a gift anyway" invitations were extremely bad taste.
husband & I both make enough money and have more than enough stuff in our
house so gifts weren't necessary... So we sent them out anyway inviting
them to a "reception" at our home after we got back. Of
course, everyone said they couldn't attend because who wants a 4 hour flight
to a reception? They all sent checks anyway (to which thank you cards
were sent out quickly), but I'm still embarrassed about caving in and sending
Page Last Updated October 11, 2008