Countdown to a Wedding – Traditions

As I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t going to be a completely traditional wedding. Mostly because there will be two women serving as groomsmen. My cousin and I have matching dresses and all that, but we’ll stand out. That’s fine. The second part is that my brother and his fiancée are getting married on her parent’s 38th anniversary and they’ll be renewing their wedding vows. This is especially important to my soon-to-be sister-in-law.

As I might’ve also mentioned, this wedding will be the first “real” wedding in over 20 years when my sister was married. Since thing, two of my cousins have married, but they had small intimate ceremonies. This is a wedding of about 300 people at a church. I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot in a Catholic church and my family is no better.

After the ceremony though, it proves to be more traditional. Well, for Cajuns that is. See, we have this lovely little thing called a money dance. I’m not sure if it’s something done anywhere else, but people I’ve talked to don’t know about so I’m guessing it’s just a Louisiana thing. However, my mother and nephew didn’t even know what the money dance was so I had to explain it to them.

Think of it as a sort of bride and groom lapdance…with clothes…and it’s to help the couple on their honeymoon. When the money dance is called, everyone reaches into their wallets/purses and starts pulling out fives, tens, twenties, and sometimes more. The ladies line up to dance with the groom, while the men line up to dance with the bride. You take your cash, grab a pin and wait. When it’s your turn, you pin your money to the clothing of the groom (or the veil of the bride) and you get to dance with them for about thirty seconds until it’s the next person’s turn.

I’ve heard some people pass the hat, but to me, the money dance is the best part of the entire wedding reception. Oh sure, it’s fun to watch the groom take the bride’s garter off (the bride has sworn she isn’t going to sit on my nephew’s knee because she’ll crush it, but he’s a big, strong boy, he can handle it). It’s also fun to watch the single ladies nearly kill each other for the bouquet. But the money dance beats all. It’s also a very lucrative way for the couple to make a good chunk of cash to help them get started in their new life together.

Now there are even more strange wedding traditions that abound down here, but luckily I’ve never seen them. There’s the charivari (sha-ree-va-rée). When the bride or groom has been married before or widowed, the family will gather around their house in the middle of the night banging pots and pans until they’re invited inside for food and drink. My mom always told me of a tradition where the bride was kidnapped away from the groom on the wedding night and hidden while the groom had to go and find her.

Then, there’s the tradition I sincerely hope NOT to see at this wedding. In some communities, if the bride or groom has an unmarried older sibling they’ll be given a broom or a mop to dance barefoot with as a way to poke fun at them for still being single. I’ve threatened my brother, his fiancée, and my mother with dire consequences if this happens.

So that’s the wedding traditions in our little part of the world. Do you have some unique to your community?

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