Wedding Reception Music – The Real “Do Not Play” list!

Yesterday, I had a good laugh when The Today Show played a bit of “American Woman” by The Guess Who, as a lead up to a segment on makeovers.

You see, I’ve always had a bit of a pet peeve / fascination with music that’s being used in an inappropriate way. Sometimes it irks me, sometimes it makes me laugh. In the case of American Woman.. it’s not really about a woman, and it’s NOT pro-America. The amount of times I’ve seen it played in the context of being a pro-America patriot song is… well, staggering. Sometimes I have to wonder how many people actually listen to lyrics when choosing songs in that way… much like how “Born in the USA” is also used as pro-America patriotic. You know.. not so much.

A snarky tweet about it ended up snowballing into a discussion on wedding reception music. Anyone planning a wedding has seen many “do not play” song suggestions, usually involving the Chicken Dance. Basically, either annoying music, music that will have annoying consequences (see “Chicken Dance” for both!), or music that the couple just doesn’t like. Well, what about purely inappropriate music? Not necessarily music with colorful language, but songs that have a message that shouldn’t be used at such an event?

I polled my twitter and Facebook friends, and… man, there have been some doozies used! Click though to our compiled list of the Worst Songs to play at a Wedding.

Kat: “That duet that for a “I don’t know why you didn’t call” was played at my wedding, I was SEETHING about it!”

Jenny: “I bartended a wedding and their walking from the aisle music was the benny hill theme…mondo bizarro! Amusing tho!”

Wendy: “There was the one with a music fail and the person officiating thought it was funny to break into “White Wedding”

Tubagirl2: ” Creepy-est song ever? Clay Aiken – Invisible.

Jaime: “My friend’s brother and his wife used Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” for their first dance… which always seemed more like a funeral song to me, even before they started using it for the pitiful animal commercial!”

Tara: “Weirdest song heard at a wedding is an occasional standard. The Chicken Dance. The entire time my brain is like WHAT?! NO! Otherwise probably weirdest one? ‘I Hate Myself For Lovin’ You.’ WTF.”

Kara: “I heard Cheap Trick’s “Tonight It’s You” for a reception 1st dance, once. It’s about a one-night stand. Very touching.”

Ben: “At work, they blasted ‘suicide is painless’ over the loudspeaker in the behavioral health area once…by accident. whoops!”

Kara: “We had our friend the singer get up and do “Hey Joe” at our reception. “Gonna go shoot my old lady down” I’m still alive tho!”

Rachel: “I was recently at a wedding where the bride and her friends danced joyously to Goodbye Earl! WTF??”

Wayne: “Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight played as a slow romantic song.”

Jenni: “My mom questioned our sanity for playing “goodbye Earl” but it’s fun to dance to!”

Vanessa: “I’ve been at more than one that played “If you wanna be happy”. It goes on to say ‘If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife’ and ‘get an ugly girl to marry you!’. Wow.”

Karen: “For the father/daughter dance: “Who’s Your Daddy?” by Toby Keith. Just about fell off my chair on that one.”

Kenya: “A couple of my faves from when I DJ’d weddings some years ago: Requesting “Picture” by Sheryl Crow / Kid Rock or “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men for a “romantic” couple’s dance. A bride specifically requesting for she and her bridesmaids …to dance to “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi while they pointed at the parent’s table.

Scott: “I think Paradise by the Dashboard Light is bad as a wedding song yet I hear it at most receptions.”

Chris: “U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

Amy: “I used to sing at weddings and a bride asked me to sing Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You”. I had to explain to her that the song was originally from “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and was stating that, although they were not going to be together anymore, she would always love him. Plus, there was no way in hell I was going to sing the Whitney version. Whitney shouldn’t sing the Whitney version. Needless to say, I sang “Ave Maria”.”

AJ: “Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, just this past spring. Jaw dropped.”


For my part, I’ve been at a wedding that had “Love the one you’re with” as the wedding party dance… and at another wedding where they played “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, “American Pie”, and… I don’t remember the third one, but it was another tragedy/disaster song, all back to back. So bizarre!

Back home, at the wedding of one friend… the groom’s mother requested “She Ain’t Pretty” by the Northern Pikes. I don’t know if that song is well known down here, but… damn. There was a bit of drama there. Click here to see the video on youtube. Great song and all, but… yeah.

Of all the responses, the most popular was “Every Breath You Take”. Obviously! Says Paul: “Wait. what? Stalker songs aren’t good wedding songs? :-)”

Of course, there is one song that makes pretty much every “Do Not Play” list out there, that I LOVE – The Macarena. I confess. I’d have had 3 or 4 versions of it played at my wedding if my husband would have allowed it.

Wedding or not, what weird / inappropriate uses of songs have you come across? I love hearing about em!

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2 thoughts on “Wedding Reception Music – The Real “Do Not Play” list!

  1. PS: A little while ago, I attended a rally at the Capitol, along with many others who were standing up for marriage equality. The Marriage Equality people were there to provide opposition to a small gathering of “National Organization ‘for’ Marriage” protestors. These people, of course, were trying to claim that gay people having the right to marry would somehow end straight marriage – and the world – as we know it. You know, that straight marriage is pure and good and the example of perfection that can somehow never be attained by same sex couples, right?

    Wanna know what they played for their rally song? “Independence Day” by Martina McBride. You know, about straight marriage between an abusive husband, and the wife that ended up burning the house down around the both of them? Awesome.

    That kind of thing is always good for a giggle.

  2. Wow, those are really bad. At my brother in-law’s wedding they played The Godfather Waltz for the father daughter dance. We didn’t have dancing at my wedding, it just wasn’t my thing. We did have a pianist, but he stuck to classical pieces.

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