Considering we’re still in the thick of wedding season, by now you’ve probably heard enough bad toasts, eaten enough steaks (no one gets the fish), and nursed enough hangovers to last until next summer.
You’ve probably also heard enough bands and/or DJs with some questionable playlists. (No one should ever have to explain what “Cake by the Ocean” actually means to Grandma.)
Then again, occasionally the bride and groom pick first dance songs that will make you wonder if they understand what lyrics are, if they actually hate each other, or both.
Whether you’re the one getting betrothed, or simply RSVP’ing to yet another function in a hotel ballroom, these songs should always be on the no-play list at weddings.
- “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. It’s hard to believe this one still gets played at weddings. Sure, maybe, on first listen it sounds like Sting is crooning about how every step you take and every move you make, he’ll be near you. But this song has been on non-stop rotation since 1983, people. It’s a chilling-ass song about a stalker. You must know this by now.
- “If You Wanna Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul. The chorus is literally, “If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife/So for my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you.” This is grounds for divorce before you’ve even cut the cake. If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life… don’t play this at your wedding.
- “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. If you got married in 2013, or even 2014, you sort of kind of had an excuse to play this song at a wedding. After all, it was a massive hit and fun to dance to. But things have changed since then. We figured out this song was problematic AF, to say the least, and that no one should ever be marriage-adjacent to Robin Thicke’s creepy take on women, otherwise you’re might someday have to make an ill-received apology album to your spouse.
- “Ignition Remix” by R. Kelly. This is a tough one, because it’s a legitimately great song. But you know who isn’t a great guy? R. Kelly. Maybe don’t invite him along for your special day.
- “Forever” by Chris Brown. Are wedding parties still doing flash mob dances? If they are, they really shouldn’t be doing it to “Forever” because; A. it’s hella outdated and not in a fun, nostalgic way yet, and B. you should always reject Chris Brown’s comeback.
- “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas. This isn’t your 2009 Bat Mitzvah or the intro for the NBA All-Star Game, this is your wedding, dammit. Also, pretty good rule of thumb not to have songs with the word “retarded” in the lyrics at a gathering with all your friends and loved ones.
- “Daughters” by John Mayer. On one hand, you didn’t pick “Your Body is a Wonderland,” which was smart. On the other, you inexplicably went with “Daughters,” either as a slow jam or the father/daughter dance. This song has a chorus with the line “Girls become lovers who turn into mothers” which is slimier than the shrimp cocktails at Table 12.
- “Closer” by NIN. This is a no-brainer. Unless you are having a Magic Mike XXL-themed wedding, in which case, CARRY ON, and may I please attend because you are my hero.
- “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. In general, it’s good to leave cheesy power ballads off the wedding playlist, but especially ones with the subtext, if we’re floating out in the middle freezing ocean, your ass is not getting on the door with me. RIP.
- “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner. If you don’t know this by your wedding day, you’re both in pretty deep s–t.
- “God Must Have Spent a Little More Time On You” by ‘NSYNC. Listen, you should only be playing BSB at your wedding in the first place. (HOT TAKE.) But if you insist on ‘NSYNC, don’t play their lamest track, which is really about giving someone a God complex.
- “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division. I mean, you’re not wrong, but maybe save this one for the divorce party. (Why don’t people have divorce parties, BTW?)
- “Gold Digger” by Kanye West. Sure, we should all strive to have a love as pure and strong as that of Yeezus and Kim, but getting down to this diss track probably won’t do the trick.
- “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf. Screw you, people have places to be in the morning.
- “Used to Love Her” by Guns N’ Roses. Play at your own risk. Dad’s got a shovel and a 45. He doubts anyone would miss you.