Do Not Play Wedding Songs: You Didn’t Know Were Inappropriate

Updated November 14, 2023 | Author: Matthew Campbell

Not every song is appropriate for a wedding ceremony and reception.

You don’t want to play “your song” from another relationship, a song that talks about cheating or a breakup, or songs that contain explicit lyrics.

Discover songs to NOT play on your big day!

songs not to play at weddings

As an experienced wedding DJ, I’ve assembled a list of wedding songs to skip. Songs are selected by the meaning of the song, song length, and more.

First, I must address an article by The Knot that says to avoid many traditional party songs. Many of the songs are songs that brides do request around the country. Do not feel like you can’t play “Celebration” or “YMCA” or the like. It is your wedding and if they pack the dance floor and excite you and your friends, then they are must plays instead of do not plays.

New Songs Not to Play at Weddings

  1. “Wish You The Best” by Lewis Capaldi
  2. “Blindsided (Yeah, Sure, Okay)” by Kelsea Ballerin
  3. “I Should Have Married You” Old Dominion
  4. “Jaded” by Miley Cyrus
  5. “Lost” by Linkin Park
  6. “Drinkaby” by Cole Swindell
  7. “wait in the truck” by HARDY & Lainey Wilson
  8. “How Does It Feel” by Chlöe & Chris Brown
  9. “traitor” by Olivia Rodrigo
  10. “ABCDEFU” by Gayle
 

Songs to Add to Your DO NOT PLAY List

Discover songs to avoid at your wedding as a guide. Even though many of the songs to avoid are popular, our experience says it’s not worth it.

Talk to your wedding planner and DJ and, as always, use your best judgment.

All My Ex’s Live In Texas – George Strait

A wedding couple will not want to think about past lovers on their wedding day – particularly any ex-lover!

Back To You – Selena Gomez

The song is about a couple breaking up and then stating that you would take them back as you will never get over them.

Be Alright – Dean Lewis

The song is about a friend and a lover telling you that your love relationship is over because they are now together but you will be OK.

Better – Parachute

This is a song about hoping your ex-lover finds someone to treat them better than you did.

Better Man – Little Big Town

A song about a woman who had to leave her man because he didn’t treat her right but misses him.

Blindsided (Yeah, Sure, Okay) – Kelsea Ballerini

A song about the process of breaking up.

Break Up In The End – Cole Swindell

At first listen you think the song is about a couple who would be together even if they break up in the end but in all of the scenarios they break up.

Break Up With Him – Old Dominion

A song about a guy asking a girl to break up with her boyfriend so that she can be with the guy.

Dancing With A Stranger – Sam Smith & Normani

A song about still being in love after a breakup with your lover but you don’t want to be lonely so you dance with a stranger.

D-I-V-O-R-C-E – Tammy Wynette

This is a song about parents telling their children that they are getting divorced.

Don’t Marry Her – The Beautiful South

A song about being with someone who gets caught up in the doldrums of life instead of loving their lover.

drivers license – Olivia Rodrigo

A song about driving by an ex-boyfriend’s house but he is with another girl and you are missing him.

Drunk On A Plane – Dierks Bentley

The song is about a groom enjoying his honeymoon alone after the wedding was called off.

Every Breath You Take – The Police

Even though the song may be intended as meaning for being infatuated with a woman it is commonly referenced as someone stalking another.

Everything About You – Ugly Kid Joe

This is a song about feeling sick around someone because you hate them.

Fake Love – Drake

A song about giving someone phony love just to be close to them get material things and live a high life.

Gold Digger – Kanye West

A song about a girl who wants to marry a man only for his money and not for love.

Gone 2 Long – PRETTYMUCH

A song about breaking up a love relationship and hoping that it will not last long.

Grenade – Bruno Mars

A song about a man in love and willing to do anything for her but she just tosses him to the side.

Guys My Age – Hey Violet

A song about a lady describing guys close to her age not being able to treat her right.

He Went to Jared – HIXTAPE, HARDY & Morgan Wallen

A song about a girl calling off the wedding to a blue-collar boy and instead is marrying a successful white-collar boy.

Hello – Adele

A song of a girl thinking about a past lover and wondering if you were still meant to be together.

Highway To Hell – AC/DC

The song was written as a metaphor for being on the road. However, couples don’t want to think that their new marriage is doomed as the song could insinuate.

I Hate Everything About You – Three Days Grace

A song about loving someone that you are no longer with but hating them at the same time.

i love you – Billie Eilish

A song about a guy who tells his lover that he loves her but she cannot say it in return.

I Should Have Married You – Old Dominion

A song about having regret for not marrying someone.

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2

A song about doing everything to be with the one you love but realizing that they are not who you need.

I Touch Myself – Divinyls

A song about needing anyone as you get pleasure from yourself.

If I Didn’t Love You – Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood

A song about how your heart breaks after breaking up with your lover and going crazy because you still love her.

If You Met Me First – Eric Ethridge

A song about a boy and girl meeting and liking each other but she is already in a committed relationship.

In The End – Linkin Park

A song about trying really hard and losing everything you have and then realizing that life doesn’t really matter.

It Wasn’t Me – Shaggy

A song about a girlfriend who finds her boyfriend cheating on her with the girl next door. Instead, play “Angel”.

Just A Gigolo – David Lee Roth

A song describing a man being a gigolo – a man paid or financially supported by an older woman to be her escort or lover.

Let It Go – James Bay

A song about a couple losing love for each other and that it is time to go their own ways.

Love Hurts – Nazareth

A song about how love causes pain instead of making your life better.

Love Stinks – J. Geils Band

A song about how everyone loves someone but they are always in love with someone else instead of you.

Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division

A song bout a couple growing apart through time and in the end, they will part ways.

Love Yourself – Justin Bieber

A song about moving on after breaking up and that his ex is too much into herself and not caring for others.

Marry Me – Thomas Rhett

A song about a guy who is going to the wedding of his ex-lover wishing it was him she was marrying.

Meant To Be – Ber & Charlie Oriain

A song about a couple just going through the motions of life and thinking that each other would be better off with someone else.

Mother-In-Law – Ernie K-Doe

A song about a mother-in-law who is always interfering in a couple’s relationship and compares the MIL to Satan.

My Best Friend’s Girl – The Cars

A song about loving your ex-girlfriend but now she is with your best friend.

My Humps – Black Eyed Peas

A song about a woman who uses her body to get bling and the finer things.

Naked – James Arthur

A song about a man who is in a place of vulnerability and is giving his all to a lover but she is not doing the same in return.

Never Really Over – Katy Perry

A song about how love relationships that have ended will always be part of who you are.

Nights Like This – Kehlani feat. Ty Dolla $ign

A song about how love relationships that have ended will always be part of who you are.

Out Of Love – Alessia Cara

A song about being in a hopeless relationship and asking the other when they fell out of love with you.

Reason to Drink – Cole Swindell

A song that references that there are many happy people in the world but there are also many who have heartbreak or working too hard and need to have a drink to make them feel better.

She Hates Me – Puddle Of Mudd

A song about a couple that fell in love and then soon realized that it wasn’t meant to be.

Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash

A song about a love story with good and bad and wondering if your lover wants you or not.

Shout Out To My Ex – Little Mix

A song of sorts giving thanks to an ex-lover for making you a better person after the heartbreak.

Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson

A song about being happier after a breakup.

Singles You Up – Jordan Davis

A song from a guy to a girl that lets her know if she were ever to break up with her guy that he would be more than happy to take her out.

Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell

A song that is interpreted to mean that you have a feeling that you have a stalker.

Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley

This is a song about a couple that does not have trust and wonders if the other is cheating.

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

A song about someone who ran to his lover but now he runs away because she no longer wants him.

The End – Doors

The song is about the end of a relationship with someone you care about.

Til It Wasn’t – Chris Ruediger

A song about a couple who fell out of love with each other and that it was good until it wasn’t.

To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before – Julio Iglesias with Willie Nelson

This song is a dedication to all of a guy’s ex-lovers and thanking them for coming into his life.

Treat You Better – Shawn Mendes

The song is about a girl who has a boyfriend but you know that you can treat her better than he is and like she is his queen.

What’s a Man to Do – Usher

A song about the dilemma of a man being in love with two women.

When I Was Your Man – Bruno Mars

A song about loving an ex-lover who is with another man and wishing you would have treated her better.

Who’s Making Love – Blues Brothers

This is a song about men who not only love their lover but also have a mistress.

Why Don’t We Get Drunk – Jimmy Buffett

Depending on your guests, they may find singing about screwing to be inappropriate.

Why Won’t You Love Me – 5 Seconds Of Summer

A song about being in a relationship where you love your partner but they do not love you back.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones

A song about a man who wants a woman but she is with another man.

You Give Love A Bad Name – Bon Jovi

A song about loving someone but they only play games with your heart in return.

You’re So Vain – Carly Simon

A song about a mother who only thinks of herself and only does what makes her happy.

 

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FAQs

Be sure the music selected fits the theme and style of the wedding and reception. Classical background music would not be appropriate for a country-themed reception. If at all possible, we recommend having the widest range of music types possible. This will keep the majority of the guests happy. Music entertainers must be given as much leeway on music selections for the dancing portion of the wedding reception. This is their specialty – to get guests dancing!

  • Do not play music with explicit lyrics. We do not list any songs below in this category as this is self-explanatory. Be sure your music entertainer has the radio version of all songs played at your wedding.
  • Do not play songs that pertain to death or reference suicide. Songs in this category include “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Kix and “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind.
  • Do not play music that is suggestive or offensive. David Lee Roth’s cover of “Just A Gigolo” is great music to take off the bride’s garter or garter placement. However, is this song really appropriate for a wedding? We’re saying no. Other song considerations with inappropriate meanings include “Love Stinks” by J Geils Band, “Mother-In-Law” by Ernie K-Doe, and “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
  • Songs that refer to the stressful wedding planning process. A Song example is “I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)” by Alabama.
  • Please add stalking songs to your do-not playlist. Song examples include the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” and “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell.
  • Songs played that have extended playing time. The average song length is about 3 1/2 minutes. Extended-length songs include “American Pie” by Don McLean and “Paradise By The Dashboard Light “by Meat Loaf.

Creating a “Do Not Play List” for your wedding reception is key — especially if you’re DIYing your wedding. Professional DJs and wedding planners may know these song pitfalls already. However, if there are songs that bring up bad memories, be sure to compile that list as well.

What songs should you avoid personally? Songs to include would be “our song” from a previous marriage or relationship. The last thing you want to do is think about that person or remind your new spouse of an old love. Don’t forget your favorite songs from close relatives who have passed. Unless you intentionally want to honor that person, this will definitely hit home on an already emotional day. If your family is especially religious, you may want to avoid songs that are sexually explicit.

Any songs that you — like a wedding couple — come up with will help your entertainer decide on their playlist. If you do not want hokey choreographed line dance songs, then put them on the list. Explicit instructions are needed for your favorite type of music. With that said, your DJ’s job is to keep the dance floor full of your wedding guests.

Group dance songs are good for single people at your wedding or mismatched couples. (If your aunt can’t dance with her husband, she’ll bug all of the cute guys at the wedding.) We know some people do not like such dances as they consider them goofy and/or well-overplayed at wedding receptions. We get it. Some of the group songs are so lame. Your DJ won’t know this. It’s up to you, as the wedding couple, to let him know.

Popular group dance songs played at many wedding receptions include the “Macarena” by Los Del Rio, the “Chicken Dance,” and the “Hokey Pokey.” If you’d rather not do the electric slide one more time, then add group songs to your do-not playlist. If you’d rather pass, then add them to the songs to avoid the list.

Why trust Matthew Campbell?

DJ, Author, Music Lover

matt

I have always had a love for music and the way it makes you feel. My passion grew for wedding celebrations with years as a wedding DJ. Now, as a wedding music planner, I research popular and unique wedding songs to create personalized playlists for couples and help wedding pros curate crowd-cheering music. Let’s get the party started! – Read More About Me

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vicki donaghan
vicki donaghan
11 months ago

i would do anything for love, but i wont do that by meatloaf,
“if you really loved me then you would do X thing, if you dont then you obviously dont love me” sounds kinda toxic
wherever you will go by the calling, it sounds nice but it seems a bit morbid with the lyrics

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
11 months ago
Reply to  vicki donaghan

Thank you Vicki for the suggestion as it is spot on!

brensgrrl
brensgrrl
1 year ago

Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People should NOT be played. It’s about a school shooting.

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
1 year ago
Reply to  brensgrrl

Thank you for the suggestion. Definitely a song to leave off a wedding playlist.

Anonincanada
Anonincanada
3 years ago

Additional ones to exclude at a wedding are Sam Smith’s ‘Too Good at Goodbyes’ (breakup song), Adele’s ‘Someone like you’ (also a breakup song), ‘Rolling in the Deep’ (inappropriate meaning) and, despite its catchy melody, Krewella’s ‘Live for the Nights’ (explicit lyrics; not sure if a radio version exists).

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonincanada

Thank you. Great suggestions!

Anonincanada
Anonincanada
3 years ago

I’d also inlude Adele’s ‘Hello’ (breakup song) and ‘Send my love (to your new lover’ (inappropriate meaning).

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonincanada

Thank you! Great suggestions.

Anonincanada
Anonincanada
3 years ago

Despite its catchy tune, ‘Run to You’ by Bryan Adams should be a definite do-not-play. It’s about an affair which would seem to fit the bill for exclusion.

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonincanada

Thank you for the suggestion! It is never a good idea to play a song about adultery.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ and ‘Dance (While the music still goes on)’ by ABBA are 2 definite exclusions. They are serious breakup songs.

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Thank you for the suggestions!

Anonincanada
Anonincanada
4 years ago

I’d add Ed Sheeran’s ‘The Shape of you’ to this list. It’s overplayed and the chorus is distinctly creepy, almost to the extent of stalking-like.

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
4 years ago
Reply to  Anonincanada

Thanks for the comment Anonin. However, you are mentioning a very popular song that has a few very good dance remixes too. Maybe others can offer their opinion.

Keath Graham
Keath Graham
4 years ago

“They Call Her Easy” by Harry Chapin. A woman has relations with a man and doesn’t even charge him for it.

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
4 years ago
Reply to  Keath Graham

Thank you Keath for the suggestion. Yes, the Chapin song should definitely not be on any wedding playlist.

Danford Sawyer
Danford Sawyer
4 years ago

‘White Wedding’ – Billy Idol
Any song about addiction or recovery
Any song about the worlds oldest profession
Any song about the worlds second oldest profession
Any song about crime
Any song about incarceration
Any song about con artistry or swindling

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
4 years ago
Reply to  Danford Sawyer

Thanks, Danford for pointing out the additional reasons for songs to skip on your wedding day!

Nix
Nix
4 years ago

Jessie’s Girl… definitely cant play that one

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
4 years ago
Reply to  Nix

Hi Nix. Thanks for the suggestion. Jessie’s Girl does fall into the category of a song that does not have a good song meaning but everyone loves to sing and dance to the song.

Skip Flem
Skip Flem
5 years ago

Positively fourth street; different drum; i’m not lisa;diamonds and rust

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
5 years ago
Reply to  Skip Flem

Thanks Skip for your contributions!

Scott Yeo
Scott Yeo
5 years ago

DO NOT play Toy Soldiers by Martika,IT ISN’T what you think it is about ?

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
5 years ago
Reply to  Scott Yeo

Thanks Scott for the tip.

Samantha Gambrill
Samantha Gambrill
5 years ago

If you leave me now by Chicago, Without You-Nilsson (Covered by Mariah Carey), All By Myself -Eric Carmen (Covered by Celine Dion), Torn Between Two Lovers (can’t remember who sings it). All inappropriate for weddings

Matthew Campbell
Matthew Campbell
5 years ago

Thank you Samantha. Great list of songs that should be added.

Cameron McMenemy
Cameron McMenemy
5 years ago

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Listen To Her Heart
1978, Rock
Inappropriate Meaning

Matthew Campbell
Matthew Campbell
5 years ago

Hi Cameron, you’re right – not a wedding song! Thanks for sharing.

John Murray
John Murray
5 years ago

Here is a song you don’t want played at a wedding:
Breaking up is hard to do by Neil Sedaka

Matthew Campbell
Matthew Campbell
5 years ago
Reply to  John Murray

Thanks John. This song should definitely be on this list.

Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell
5 years ago

Thanks. We will add it to the list!

Tonya piper
Tonya piper
5 years ago

Before he cheats, Carrie underwood

Cameron McMenemy
Cameron McMenemy
6 years ago

Here’s a song to never play at wedding
Who’s Making Love – The Blues Brothers

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
6 years ago

Thanks for the suggestion Cameron!

Joey Snyder
Joey Snyder
7 years ago

Here are some do not play songs for weddings:

You Don’t Love Me Anymore-Weird “Al” Yankovic 1992
Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares-Travis Tritt 1991
Tell Laura I Love Her-Ray Peterson 1960
Running Bear-Johnny Preston 1960

My Wedding Songs
My Wedding Songs
7 years ago
Reply to  Joey Snyder

Thank you Joey. We will add them to the list!

ND FightingIrish
ND FightingIrish
9 years ago

you forgot whats a man to do by usher
its about a guy who can’t bring himself to admit that he has been cheating and is in love with two women