Flash Back Friday- Redesigning the Dollar Dance

by - Friday, May 20, 2016



I think this may have been one of the best ideas we had for our wedding. though I am not sure we would pick the exact same charities now (oh, Livestrong- that turned out badly). I think the Dollar Dance can have a tacky cloud over it, but it can also be an opportunity to see so many of your guests one on one, even if only for a moment, honor someone who can't be there, and you can raise a little bit of money for something you really care about! We didn't have that many brilliant ideas on the way, but I thought this one was worth stealing. 


One of the little plans we have for the wedding that i am most proud of, that I have never heard of before, and that I think people might want to borrow is our Dollar dance.

The dollar dance is apparently a tradition that only exists in certain geographies and cultural traditions. I guess when people come at it from the outside it comes off as greedy, but frankly, I love it! It is another one of those moments, in fact better than the receiving line, that if you want to have another moment with the bride and groom, you get some one on one face time with them. I always like doing it at weddings, and I think it is a fun way to break up the dancing.

Even though we love the tradition, we thought there was a way we could improve it. We had heard of weddings where, in lieu of favors, the bride and groom spent their favor budget on a charity. I am not that bride. In fact, I think I have conjured about a half dozen little goodies for people to take with them. I love love love giving presents, and it just wasn't happening. At the same time, we liked the idea of using that moment to contribute to a cause larger than just our marriage and happiness. 

So, we thought, why not use the dollar dance as a chance to earn money for charities that mean a lot to us? If someone dances with the Boy, they will be contributing to the Livestrong Foundation. If somebody dances with me, they will be contributing to the Ronald Shiley Scholarship for Camp Coffman. We even bought bracelets to give people who dance with us! We are super excited about this moment in our wedding, and the charities both mean a lot to us and are in honor of people we love.


from livestrong.com

We debated about the Boy's charity for a while, but we eventually chose the Livestrong Foundation, in honor of both our grandmothers we lost to cancer, my Grammy who beat breast cancer a few years ago, and my Aunt Ann who is kicking ovarian cancer's butt right now! Cancer has had a huge effect on our lives, and much more so in the lives of our mothers, and are strangely a part of both our families' culture. Right now, we are really beginning to understand the incredible toll chemotherapy can take on a family, but even more so, we have seen (through my Aunt's relentless positivity, grace, and gratitude) the tremendous effect that support, even from strangers, can have for someone going through it. We wanted to choose a charity that helped with prevention, education, and support for those fighting and in remission.

There are obviously a lot of cancer charities, but we chose Livestrong because it contributes to many different platforms, including the National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship with the CDC, which serves many groups of survivors and people in remission, such as  Native Americans, African Americans, adolescent cancer victims, and programs for better insurance coverage. They also focus energy toward political programs, including the landmark 2009 LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit, which brought together more than 500 world leaders, corporations, non-governmental organizations and advocates who are all working to reduce the burden of cancer in their own communities. Also, LIVESTRONG and the American Cancer Society released the joint report, Global Economic Cost of Cancer, which shows that cancer has the most devastating economic impact of any cause of death in the world, costing the global economy nearly a trillion dollars a year. It is because of this global and political focus, as well as the commitment to helping survivors and their families, that made us so excited about this foundation.


I will be dancing for the Ronald Shiley Scholarship for Camp Coffman. Nick's Granny and Grandpa Shiley were a big part of growing up for him; Nick says he liked playing with his Grandpa in the basement because he would let them play with his woodworking and recording stuff. When we started dating back in 2003, Grandpa was always super warm to me and I really looked forward to spending time with he and Granny.

Grandpa Shiley was very committed to a number of community groups such as Venango Video (where he worked with some of my family- small world!). He also was very involved in the Boy Scouts of America and served as a cub master, scout master, developed and presented Leadership Development Training, led the troop to the National Jamboree in Coeur d’Alene ID in 1969 and completed Wood Badge Training. He also received the Silver Beaver Award and the Vigil Level, the highest rank in the Order of the Arrow, from the Boy Scouts of America. Nick, his brother Carlo, and some of their cousins all really enjoyed Boy Scouts when they were kids. After struggling with Alzheimers for six years, Grandpa Shiley passed away in 2011, and Nick's family set up this scholarship to help boy scouts to attend Camp Coffman, which is owned by the Oil City YMCA.

I feel happy that we are setting aside a moment to honor and remember people who mean so much to both of us and our families. I think this will be good.

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