photo by Dani Leigh Photography

The ceremony is over and the reception is in full swing. From the venue to the decor to the food, your wedding is a perfect reflection of you and your fiance’s style. An old friend of your grandmother’s comes up to you to tell you what a lovely, classy wedding this is. 

Then, that one cousin requests that the DJ play R. Kelly’s Bump n’ Grind. 


Now, a good DJ will know that song is probably not appropriate for a wedding reception, and will decline to play it. But to avoid the possibility of a song you hate ruining the mood of your big day, couples can put together a wedding “do not play” list to avoid this problem. 

Here are some tips for the types of songs you may want to add to yours, along with some examples of each.

Songs with Explicit Lyrics

A wedding is a family event. Even if it’s an adults-only wedding, there will be elderly family members there. So you may want to avoid some of the more...explicit songs, even if you know they’d get your old college friends dancing. 

Do you really want Great Aunt Ethel to watch every young family member sing along to “I Touch Myself” by the Divinyls?

Other songs you may want to avoid: 

Cheesy Dance Songs

Choreographed dance songs can be a bit controversial at weddings. Some couples love them, and others would rather go skydiving with no parachute rather than participate in a group dance. Ultimately, it’s your wedding and your choice. 

If you do want to play dance songs, you may want to avoid the sillier ones. No one looks good doing the Chicken Dance

Other group dance songs to avoid:

Songs that will kill the mood

A wedding is a happy occasion! And the easiest way to put a damper on the fun is to play a real bummer of a song. Slow songs can be tricky — they seem romantic at first, but when you give the lyrics a listen, they’re anything but. 

There are plenty of slow songs that have positive messages of love. Stick to those, and leave these songs about death, drug abuse, and inappropriate relationships on the Do Not Play list.

Cheating or Breakup Songs

Country music is particularly guilty of pairing upbeat music with bummer lyrics. Songs like Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats and The Dixie Chicks’ Goodbye Earl may sound fun, but they don’t have the kind of lyrics that bring the joy to a wedding dance floor. 

Other songs to avoid: 

Don’t Like It? Ban It!

Ultimately, your wedding “do not play” list will be up to you. So remember, just because a song is popular, that doesn’t mean you need to play it! I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) by Whitney Houston may be our #1 most requested wedding song, but if it bugs you, skip it. 

If you’d like some advice about must-plays or songs to avoid, let us know! We’re always happy to help couples navigate the do’s and don’ts of wedding music.

Published on:

Saturday, May 30, 2020