songs not to play at weddings

60 Songs Not To Play At A Wedding

 

 
Weddings are a time for a celebration of love. There are songs to avoid at your reception. Irony aside, no one will get your inside joke. Avoiding songs is smart for a lot of reasons. 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.

Weddings are a time to celebrate the marriage of two people in love with one another. Wedding music sets the mood for the wedding ceremony and wedding reception. Not every song is appropriate for a wedding ceremony and reception.

What Songs Should I Avoid At My Wedding?

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 as 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 a great song for the garter removal or garter placement. However, is this song really appropriate for a wedding? We’re saying no. Other song considerations with inappropriate meaning 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.

songs not to play at weddings

 

Table of Contents:

Songs To Add To Your DO NOT PLAY List

We provide the 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. So, talk to your wedding planner and DJ and, as always, use your best judgment. Your wedding should be remembered for the right reasons, not the faux pas.

This “Songs Not To Play At Weddings” list is curated by Matthew Campbell
Last Updated: March 30, 2021

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SongAmazon Link
5 Seconds Of Summer
Why Won't You Love Me
2018, Pop
Break-up song
AC/DC
Highway To Hell
1979, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Adele
Hello
2015, Pop
inappropriate meaning
Alessia Cara
Out Of Love
2018, Pop
Break-up song
Billie Eilish
i love you
2019, Alternative Rock
Break-up song
Black Eyed Peas
My Humps
2005, Dance
Break-up song
Blues Brothers
Who’s Making Love
1980, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Bon Jovi
You Give Love A Bad Name
1986, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Bruno Mars
Grenade
2010, Pop
inappropriate meaning
Bruno Mars
When I Was Your Man
2002, Pop
inappropriate meaning
Carly Simon
You’re So Vain
1972, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Cars
My Best Friend’s Girl
1978, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Chris Ruediger
Til It Wasn't
2021, Country
Break-up song
Clash
Should I Stay or Should I Go
1982, Punk
inappropriate meaning
Cole Swindell
Break Up In The End
2018, Country
Song Subject
Cole Swindell
Reason to Drink
2018, Country
Song Subject
David Lee Roth
Just A Gigolo
1985, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Dean Lewis
Be Alright
2018, Pop
Break-up song
Dierks Bentley
Drunk On A Plane
2014, Country
inappropriate meaning
Divinyls
I Touch Myself
1990, Pop
Suggestive
Doors
The End
1967, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Drake
Fake Love
2016, Hip Hop
inappropriate meaning
Eagles
Lyin’ Eyes
1975, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Elvis Presley
Suspicious Minds
1968, Pop
inappropriate meaning
Eric Ethridge
If You Met Me First
2018, Country
inappropriate meaning
Ernie K-Doe
Mother-In-Law
1961, R&B
inappropriate meaning
George Strait
All My Ex’s Live In Texas
1987, Country
inappropriate meaning
Hey Violet
Guys My Age
2016, Pop
inappropriate meaning
HIXTAPE, HARDY & Morgan Wallen
He Went to Jared
2019, Country
inappropriate meaning
J. Geils Band
Love Stinks
1980, Rock
inappropriate meaning
James Arthur
Naked
2017, Naked
Break-up Song
James Bay
Let It Go
2014, Alternative Rock
Break-up Song
Jimmy Buffett
Why Don’t We Get Drunk
1973, Country
inappropriate meaning
Jordan Davis
Singles You Up
2018, Country
Song Subject
Joy Division
Love Will Tear Us Apart
1980, Punk
inappropriate meaning
Julio Iglesias with Willie Nelson
To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before
1984, Country Pop
inappropriate meaning
Justin Bieber
Love Yourself
2015, Pop
inappropriate meaning
Kanye West
Gold Digger
2005, Hip Hop
inappropriate meaning
Katy Perry
Never Really Over
2019, Pop
Break-up song
Kehlani feat. Ty Dolla $ign
Nights Like This
2019, R&B
Break-up song
Kelly Clarkson
Since U Been Gone
2004, Pop
Break-up song
Linkin Park
In The End
2001, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Little Big Town
Better Man
2016, Country
inappropriate meaning
Little Mix
Shout Out To My Ex
2016, Pop
inappropriate meaning
Nazareth
Love Hurts
1960, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Old Dominion
Break Up With Him
2015, Country
inappropriate meaning
Parachute
Better
2019, Pop
inappropriate meaning
Police
Every Breath You Take
1983, Rock
About stalking
PRETTYMUCH
Gone 2 Long
2019, Pop
Break-up song
Puddle Of Mudd
She Hates Me
2001, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Rockwell
Somebody’s Watching Me
1984, Funk
About stalking
Rolling Stones
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
1969, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Sam Smith & Normani
Dancing with a Stranger
2019, Dance
Break-up song
Selena Gomez
Back To You
2018, Pop
Break-up song
Shaggy
It Wasn’t Me
2000, Reggae
inappropriate meaning
Shawn Mendes
Treat You Better
2016, Pop
inappropriate meaning
Soft Cell
Tainted Love
1981, New Wave
inappropriate meaning
Tammy Wynette
D-I-V-O-R-C-E
1975, Country
inappropriate meaning
Taylor Swift feat. Ed Sheeran
Everything Has Changed
2012, Red
inappropriate meaning
The Beautiful South
Don't Marry Her
1996, Pop
inappropriate meaning
Thomas Rhett
Marry Me
2017, Country
inappropriate meaning
Three Days Grace
I Hate Everything About You
2003, Rock
inappropriate meaning
U2
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
1987, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Ugly Kid Joe
Everything About You
1992, Rock
inappropriate meaning
Usher
What’s a Man to Do
2008, R&B
inappropriate meaning

 

Create a Do Not Play List for Your Reception

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 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 their playlist. If you do not want hokey group dance songs, then put it 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 with your wedding guests.

 

Similar song lists for further reading:

Should We Include Group Dance Songs At Our Wedding?

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.

Do We Need A Dollar Dance At Our Wedding?

Like most traditions surrounding a wedding, it’s up to the wedding couple. For those not used to the culture behind it, they feel the money/dollar dance is inappropriate. Asking for money in the dollar dance can appear distasteful or greedy — especially since guests are expected to bring presents.

You can switch it up, though. The Knot suggests using flower petals, fake money, or — better yet — well wishes. You can do this with same-sex weddings as well. Like any detail at your wedding reception, talk to your wedding coordinator and professional DJ. Depending upon the theme the song choice could be really fun.

 

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33 responses to “60 Songs Not To Play At Weddings”

  1. Anonincanada says:

    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).

  2. Anonincanada says:

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

  3. Anonincanada says:

    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.

  4. Anonymous says:

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

  5. Anonincanada says:

    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.

    • Matthew Campbell says:

      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.

  6. Keath Graham says:

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

    • Matthew Campbell says:

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

  7. Danford Sawyer says:

    ‘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

  8. Nix says:

    Jessie’s Girl… definitely cant play that one

    • Matthew Campbell says:

      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.

  9. Skip Flem says:

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

  10. Scott Yeo says:

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

  11. Samantha Gambrill says:

    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

  12. Cameron McMenemy says:

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

  13. John Murray says:

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

  14. Matt Campbell says:

    Thanks. We will add it to the list!

  15. Tonya piper says:

    Before he cheats, Carrie underwood

  16. Cameron McMenemy says:

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

  17. Joey Snyder says:

    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

  18. 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

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