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The Joyous Rhythm of Love: Exploring the Filipino Money Dance Tradition

The Joyous Rhythm of Love: Exploring the Filipino Money Dance Tradition

money bills on the floor while bride and groom's first dance

Picture this: a lively celebration filled with laughter, music, and joy, where you and your new spouse take center stage to dance their hearts out. But wait, there’s a twist! The dance floor becomes a canvas of merriment as guests pin money onto your attires, sharing in your happiness and helping you embark on your new journey. This is the Filipino money dance, a unique and vibrant wedding tradition that brings an extra touch of excitement to the festivities.

bride and groom slow dancing on their wedding

Embracing Tradition with a Modern Flair

Weddings are a beautiful amalgamation of traditions and personal touches, and the Filipino money dance is no exception. Rooted in Philippine culture, this tradition has a history that dates back generations.

Also known as the apron dance, the money dance is a celebratory ritual at weddings in the Philippines that blends ancient customs with modern joy. It’s not just about collecting money; it’s a symbolic gesture of support, well-wishing, and prosperity for the newlyweds as they begin their married life.

Traditionally, the dance involves guests pinning paper bills onto the couple’s attire as they dance. The music swells, the crowd gathers, and the dance floor transforms into a whirlwind of energy and celebration. While the heart of the tradition remains the same, modern times have seen variations that reflect the couple’s personalities and preferences.

Why Is It Practiced?

But why, you might ask, do Filipinos engage in this delightful dance of paper and pins? Well, the reasons run deep. It’s not just about the monetary value; it’s about the symbolism and the sense of community it fosters. In a country where family and community hold immense importance, the money dance becomes a tangible way for Filipino wedding guests to contribute to the couple’s future.

Traditionally, the money collected helps kick-start the couple’s married life, be it for building a home, starting a family, or even setting out on an adventurous honeymoon. Beyond the financial aspect, it’s a display of unity—a way for everyone to stand with the newlyweds as they step into this new chapter of their lives.

First wedding dance of newlyweds at indoor wedding

Getting into the Rhythm

So, how does one perform the Filipino money dance? While there isn’t a rigid rulebook, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you master this lively Filipino wedding tradition:

Step 1: Set the Stage

First things first, plan your wedding program flow to accommodate the money dance and coordinate with your wedding DJ or live band to select a fun and upbeat song that will get everyone grooving. This song will serve as the backdrop for your money dance, so pick something that reflects your style and sets a lively tone for the event.

Step 2: Dance Like No One’s Watching

Once the song starts playing and you take the dance floor, let loose and have fun! The spotlight is on you, and this is your moment to shine. Dance with your partner and showcase your love and happiness, while also encouraging your guests to join in and make the dance floor come alive.

Step 3: The Money Pinning

As the dance progresses, your enthusiastic guests will want to contribute to your future happiness. Assign a couple of trusted individuals, like your parents or close friends, to help manage the money-pinning process. They can hand out pins and ensure that the money is properly attached to your attire.

Step 4: Show Gratitude

Every pinned bill carries not just a monetary value but also the warmth and blessings of your loved ones. As guests pin the money, take a moment to express your gratitude with smiles, waves, and even quick conversations. It’s a chance to connect with your guests individually amid the festive chaos.

Step 5: Seal the Moment

When the song comes to an end, gather the pinned money and share a heartfelt moment with your partner. This is the beginning of your journey together, and the money dance symbolizes the support you have from your friends and family.

A musician in blue jeans and a jacket plays an acoustic guitar at a wedding

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wedding dress

Things to Prepare and Consider Before the Money Dance

As you gear up for the lively and heartwarming Filipino Money Dance, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that everything goes smoothly:

  1. Attire: Choose your wedding attire with the money dance in mind. While the tradition involves pinning money to your outfit, make sure it’s sturdy enough to hold the bills without causing any damage. Consider attaching a ribbon or small pouch to your attire to provide a secure and designated area for pinning money. You can also change into simpler clothing to avoid ruining your wedding dress and suit.
  2. Wedding Venue: Find a wedding venue that can accommodate all your guests and still have enough room for a dance floor. The dance floor is an essential part of your money dance because this is where you and your new spouse will be receiving the money. You can find several affordable wedding venues that meet this requirement; all you need is a little bit of patience and time.
  3. Pins and Accessories: Don’t forget to provide enough pins for your guests to use during the dance. Some couples choose decorative pins that match the wedding theme, adding an elegant touch to the tradition. Make sure your helpers have an ample supply of pins and are ready to assist guests in pinning the money.
  4. DJ or Live Band: Finding a DJ or live band to play music at your wedding reception is important for the money dance. After all, without music, you won’t have anything to dance to. However, you should consider the cost of a live band or DJ. Make sure your choice fits your budget to avoid running into problems.
  5. Song Selection: Once you hire a live band or DJ, you can talk with them regarding your song choice. The choice of song plays a crucial role in setting the tone for the dance. Pick a song that resonates with you and your partner while also encouraging lively participation. The right music will enhance the atmosphere and make the dance even more enjoyable for everyone involved.
  6. Money Collection: Designate a container or special bag for collecting the pinned money. Ensure it’s easily accessible so that your helpers can gather the money efficiently once the dance concludes. This container can also double as a memorable keepsake from your special day.
  7. Communicating the Tradition: While many guests may be familiar with the Filipino money dance, some might not know the specifics. Consider including a brief explanation of the tradition in your wedding program or on a signage near the dance floor. This way, everyone can fully appreciate and engage in the joyful gesture.

Just Married box for money on wedding

Modern Ideas for the Filipino Money Dance

As traditions evolve, the Filipino money dance has embraced modern creativity while staying true to its essence:

  • Charitable Twist: Consider donating a portion of the money collected to a charity close to your hearts. This adds a meaningful dimension to the dance, spreading love beyond the wedding venue.
  • Digital Delight: In the age of technology, you can offer digital payment options for guests who might not have cash on hand. Scan-to-pay codes or online wallets can bring the Money Dance into the digital era.
  • Themed Dances: Infuse your personalities into the dance by selecting a song that speaks to your relationship or a theme that resonates with your wedding’s atmosphere.
  • Treasure Chest Keepsake: Instead of collecting money in a simple bag, opt for a decorative box or chest. This not only adds to the visual appeal but also becomes a cherished keepsake from your special day.

A closeup of the palms of wedding guests while they applauding

Let Your Guests Share Their Blessings With Your on Your Wedding Day

Weddings are a time of joy, unity, and tradition, and the Filipino money dance encapsulates all of these beautifully. This lively tradition blends the past and present, infusing an element of fun and connection into the celebration.

As you take the dance floor with your partner, surrounded by the laughter and cheers of your loved ones, remember that the pinned bills carry not just monetary value but a wealth of happiness and blessings for the journey ahead. So, dance with all your heart, and let your money dance be a joyful start to your happily ever after. With the right preparation and a touch of personalization, this cherished tradition will undoubtedly become a highlight of your wedding day—a testament to the love and support that surrounds you.

Janeree Coria
Author: Janeree Coria

Janeree Coria is a digital content writer and a full-time fur parent to Bindi (a mini dachshund) and Gunther (a guinea pig). Aside from playing with her pets, she enjoys napping, watching ASMR videos, and snacking.

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