Polish Wedding

Listening to: Silversun Pickups, “Panic Switch”

Every region, I suppose, must have different wedding traditions. I’ve only been to one wedding outside of Pennsylvania (my half-brother’s wedding in Florida), so I can’t be 100% sure about this, but it seems like a natural side effect of that whole “melting pot” thing.

I never saw the Polish version of the money dance (also known as the dollar dance) until I went to a western PA wedding. Since I moved to this area permanently, I’ve been to many weddings, and almost all of them have featured this crazy, awesome, exhausting version.

The money dance is traditionally some combination of giving money to the couple,* dancing with the bride or groom, and getting a shot of liquor. At my wedding, we did it just like that–money, a dance, and a shot. It was a great chance to get face-time with our guests, and it raised a few bucks. And then it was over.

My brother-in-law and I get feisty during the money dance.

My mom and one of my best friends do the shot portion of the tradition.

The Polish version includes all this (except dancing with the groom–he has a special mission that will be explained momentarily), but after you’ve had a quick dance with the bride to this song, you join the previous dancers in forming a circle around the bride. You dance/run as others dance, and the circle gets bigger or other circles are formed around the inner circle. It gets pretty crazy, as you have to disconnect or raise your arms occasionally to let people in, and the circles get nuts or turn into the outline of an amorphous blob because some guy had one too many drinks and keeps pulling the circle this way and that.

So you’re running/dancing in a circle for a good while, sometimes shouting “Hey! Hey! Hey!” And then the real fun begins.

Once everyone has danced with the bride and joined the circle, the groom comes along. And his mission is to get past everyone to get to his bride.

Generally, it’s considered good form to make this as hard as possible for him. It’s also fun.

It’s also a tad dangerous, but whatever.

The wedding I attended on Saturday, at which TH was best man, had the best money dance I’ve ever seen. We were crushing together around the bride, screaming at the groom, telling him to go OVER the crowd, calling for backup in emptier spots. The groom was pushing people, fighting his way past people stacked five deep. He kept circling and diving, looking for a weak spot.

I’m proud to say we probably kept him out for a good 45 seconds.

I’m also proud to say that my wrist was killing me for the remainder of the night.

It’s one of the most fun, most unique wedding traditions I’m aware of, and I’m always a little sad that I didn’t know about it before my own wedding.

Any interesting wedding traditions where you come from, or that you’ve seen in other regions?

*Apparently, some people think it’s tacky, but I’ve never had a problem dropping a dollar into a bag for the couple. I mean, come on–it’s a dollar. And if you’re like a lot of the people at our wedding (and now us), you tie that dollar up into a nice tight knot before you toss it into the bag.

One thought on “Polish Wedding

  1. I spent a couple years as a videographer for a mobile DJ service in Michigan. Most of the events we did were weddings, so I feel like I've seen just about every kind of thing a wedding can throw out there. (Which is probably why when I eventually got married, we did a civil service and no reception.) I've always liked the dollar dances. The key thing is cute, too. If you've never seen it, the DJ announces since the groom is now unavailable, all the women in the hall need to return their keys to his apartment. The DJ hands out keys ahead of time to about 50 women (including at least one really old gal for extra laughs).

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